There are a number of factors that can increase your car insurance rates, and an accident that isn’t your fault unfortunately may be one of them. Most people understand an increased auto insurance premium if they are at fault in an accident, but not when they aren’t the one responsible for the collision.
Some car insurance companies are known to increase premiums after any auto insurance claim, regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not.
Why Your Rates May Go Up
A no-fault accident means that you weren't the person who caused the accident. However, auto insurance providers have different fault assessment methods to determine which driver was at fault and which insurance company will pay for the compensation. Moreover, each state has its own fault assessment rules. Some states are at-fault, while some are no-fault states. It's very important how your state determines fault in a collision because it can impact the type of insurance coverage you need as well as the outcome of the insurance claim in the event of an accident.
In some cases, your insurance company will look at both sides of the accident differently and not penalize you if you’re not at fault, and vice versa, varying on the situation. That will depend on which state you live in, the different insurance laws in each state and your specific insurance provider.
Most of the time, if someone hits you and they’re found at fault, their insurance company will pay for the damages on your vehicle and pay your deductible. If you’re involved in a hit and run or get hit by an at-fault uninsured driver, you’ll have no choice but to file a claim through your own insurance company. Some states may deem this unlawful for your insurance provider to raise your rates if you were hit by an uninsured motorist.
Not-at-fault Insurance Claims
In almost all states, not-at-fault claims are filed against the at-fault vehicle's insurance policy. If you file a claim against the at-fault driver, you’re less likely to see increased rates on your insurance premium. Although you may still face a fee for filing a claim, a not-at-fault claim most likely comes with smaller surcharges than an at-fault claim.
Here’s a look at the average increase in insurance rates for five of the largest car insurance companies after an accident that the policyholder wasn’t at fault for. A study by Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that of the five companies, Progressive had the highest increase on average after a not-at-fault accident.
|Company||Percentage increase after not-at-fault accident|
|Farmers Insurance||11.1% increase|
|State Farm||0% increase|
Note: This research excludes California and Oklahoma where not-at-fault rate increases are prohibited.
Outcomes Vary Depending on Your State
Many states have different insurance laws and regulations that limit car insurance companies from raising your base rate if you’re not at fault in an accident.
In California and Oklahoma, it’s prohibited for insurance companies to raise the rates for a not-at-fault driver.
On the other hand, there are a number of states that have “no-fault” policies, where drivers are required to have personal injury protection (PIP). Some states require drivers to obtain this auto insurance policy to protect themselves in the case of a crash, and no matter who is at fault in the accident, your own PIP policy will cover your medical expenses. Drivers in no-fault states also can’t sue other drivers to get payment or have limited rights to sue.
There are also different rules depending on your state for parked car accidents.
Can I avoid increased auto insurance rates?
In some cases, it may be impossible to avoid increased monthly premiums after a not-at-fault accident.
It may be a smart idea to shop around periodically to look for an auto insurance company that best suits your needs and prices. You can find the best auto insurance policies in your state here.
Clearsurance research found that drivers who shopped for new car insurance and switched saved nearly $400 a year with their new auto insurance company.
How Fault is Determined in a Collision
Finding who is at fault in a car accident is not a simple decision. In many instances, fault percentages will be split, for example, 75 and 25 percent at fault.
A police report can play an important role in determining who is at fault in an accident. The officer's give an analysis and judgment of the collision. It also helps figure out if a traffic violation occurred and specifies who they think was at fault.
One accident may not cause your rates to rise, but if you have been in multiple auto accidents, even if you were not at fault for each, your auto insurer may increase your premiums or not renew your policy. One way to avoid rate increases for an accident is to purchase accident forgiveness, though it will likely make your policy more expensive to have this.
Has your auto insurance company raised your rates? Write a review to let other consumers know or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog.
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