How Much Does Car Insurance Usually Go Up After an Accident?
Car accidents could affect a victim in a number of ways. One of the most concerning issues for a victim of a car accident is whether their insurance rates will rise due to the collision. If this happens, you should be aware of who you could pursue damages and other expenses. If you were involved in a car accident and you are worried about your car insurance rates increasing, you should consult with our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Auto insurance could be confusing. It is impossible to say precisely how your monthly rates will be affected by a car accident. Many factors are taken into consideration, including who was at fault, your driving record, where you live, and the company’s policies. It is crucial to be familiar with the terms and provisions of your policy so you understand what might happen after an accident.
The Reiff Law firm has extensive experience with handling all aspects of a car accident lawsuit, and we are ready to offer you the aggressive legal representation that you deserve. Our firm is here to discuss how a car accident could affect your insurance rates. To schedule a free appointment with one of our lawyers to review your legal rights, call (215) 709-6940.
How Car Insurance Works for Accidents in Pennsylvania
Car insurance laws often vary from state to state, which is why it is important to work with an experienced Lancaster County car accident lawyer that understands the local laws. The majority of states use a fault-based system for auto insurance or a no-fault system for auto insurance. Under a fault-based system, each party to the accident could pursue a personal injury lawsuit, but the insurance company for the at-fault driver will be liable for damages to the victim.
In no-fault auto insurance states, you cannot pursue damages against the other driver unless the accident has reached a certain threshold for damages. As a result, a victim of a car accident would first have to seek reimbursement from their own insurance policy before they could pursue the other driver’s insurance company. Pennsylvania uses a “choice no-fault” system that permits a victim to pay extra on their insurance premium in order to have the ability to pursue the other driver in a court of law.
When Does Car Insurance Increase After an Accident?
It is typically a given that a driver’s car insurance premium will increase after a car accident. However, the amount of the rate increase is dependent upon a number of factors. Identifying the motorist that caused the accident is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining the amount of a premium increase.
Before an insurance company considers raising your car insurance premium after an accident, they will want to know the circumstances of the accident. If the details of your story indicate that the other driver was at fault, your insurance rates should only increase by a minuscule amount.
When informing the insurance company of how the accident occurred, it would help to have evidence to support your claim. For example, if you have photos of your injuries and photos of the road where the accident occurred, this can help your insurance claim adjuster piece together how the crash occurred.
It is also important to note that if you were partly responsible for causing the accident, this might have a large impact on the amount of your car insurance payments. That is why it is important to have evidence that helps prove the other driver’s negligence.
Unfortunately, a car insurance rate increase may not be your only problem after a car accident. If your car insurance policy is not enough to cover the damages that resulted from the accident, you may have to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver that struck you. To learn more about filing a car accident lawsuit against another driver, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney.
If You Were Injured and Not at Fault – Would Your Insurance Go Up?
If you were injured in a car accident and your car insurance rates increased, you have the option of pursuing the other driver for damages. In order to recover damages in a car accident lawsuit, you will have to show how the other driver acted negligently. Specifically, the plaintiff will need to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The plaintiff’s injuries and losses were proximately caused by the defendant’s breach
- The plaintiff’s injuries and losses are compensable in a court of law
Once a plaintiff has proved these elements, they could be awarded compensatory damages. Compensatory damages will encompass the economic losses and noneconomic losses sustained by the plaintiff due to the car accident. For example, an economic loss would be a plaintiff losing wages because their injury prevented them from working.
Compensatory damages could be awarded for a wide variety of damages. Your medical expenses could include an ambulance ride, emergency room care, surgery, diagnostic tests, medication, and hospitalization. If your injury is serious enough to require long-term physical therapy, home healthcare, or modifications to your home, you should be able to recover those costs.
In addition to the expenses associated with your physical injury, you are entitled to compensation for your emotional pain, distress, anxiety, and mental anguish. This includes subjective harm such as loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys and staff will work to gather evidence, including bills, receipts, expert testimony, and other documentation to support your damage claims.
Rate Increase for Young Drivers After an Accident
When you are in an accident, you can anticipate that your insurance rates will increase. However, the increase could be dramatic if your teenager was behind the wheel when the accident occurred. In most situations, teenagers have higher premiums because they present a statistically greater risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. Auto insurance coverage policies differ from insurer to insurer and according to applicable state laws.
If a fault comes into play, you should have an aggressive car accident attorney representing your child. Just because they are inexperienced does not mean they caused the accident or made an unjustifiable error. However, if there were no injuries, it might be advisable to pay for any damage out-of-pocket instead of filing an insurance claim.
How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record?
Just like defaulting on a loan goes on your credit report, an accident goes on your driving record. It does not matter if you were at fault or not. In addition to the accident itself, any citations or tickets that might have been issued will also appear on your record. If anyone is looking at your driving record, including an insurance company, they will see the accident and who was to blame. This is another reason why it is important to have an aggressive car accident attorney working to limit your liability – especially if a ticket was wrongly issued.
Typically, accidents and citations will stay on your driving record for three years. However, for major violations, such as a DUI or a hit and run, you should expect it to stay on your record for ten years.
The above are typically and only meant as a guideline. The actual amount of time an accident or ticket will stay on your driving record varies from state to state.
How to Lower Your Insurance Rates After a Car Accident
Once your insurance rates have increased, the next question is how do you lower them. Fortunately, some insurers offer accident forgiveness programs.
Accident forgiveness happens when your insurer waives the charges incurred after filing an accident claim. Depending on your policy terms, you could be eligible for accident forgiveness whether the accident was your fault or not.
Typically, these types of programs are available to long-term policyholders with good driving records. Under certain policies, newly insured drivers or drivers with poor driving records could add a forgiveness service for an additional monthly fee.
If your insurer does not offer accident forgiveness or you are not eligible, there could be other options. The first thing you should do is speak with your insurance agent to see if there are any discounts or alternatives available. Below are some of the common ways to lower your insurance rates after an accident.
Improve Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score affects your insurance rates in some states. If you increase your credit rating, you could lower your insurance rates. Some ways you could improve your score include staying within a budget, paying off debts, and addressing and discrepancies on your credit report.
Increase Your Deductible
Another way to lower your monthly payment is to increase your deductible. While you might have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses if you have to file another claim, you could lower your monthly payments.
Talk to your agent about any potential discounts, including lower mileage bonuses, military discounts, or lower rates for people who have completed a driver’s safety course.
Modify Your Coverage
If you need to lower your monthly payments, you could change your coverage. Most states require a minimum amount of liability coverage to operate a vehicle. If your current coverage is higher than the minimum, then you could lower your rates by reducing your insurance coverage. Depending on the age of your car, you could also cancel collision coverage.
Look at Different Insurance Companies
Shopping around for a different insurance provider is another way to possibly get a better rate. Different insurers offer different discounts.
Consider a Different Car
Not all vehicles are created equally. Some cars cost more to insure due to their price, make, or model. If you want to lower your payments, you could consider changing your car.
By employing one of the above strategies, you might be able to lower your insurance rates. Remember, after an accident, our experienced car accident attorneys are available to represent your interests.
Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Could Help You Deal With Your Insurance Company
Dealing with a car insurance rate increase and the many other impacts of a car accident could be overwhelming for a victim. The Reiff Law Firm is here to address your concerns and fight for the compensation you need after a car accident. To talk with one of our experienced car accident lawyers, call (215) 709-6940.