Car accidents can almost double your premiums. Shop around to minimize your insurance going up and even save hundreds.
According to our research, depending on the type of accident or violation, your car insurance premium can increase anywhere from 4% to 95% on average. Any rate increase should happen at the time of your car insurance policy renewal, making it the critical time to shop around for cheaper quotes. The amount your insurance premium goes up after an accident depends on many factors, including the total damage caused, the type of damage, your policy specifics and more.
To mitigate how much your car insurance goes up after an accident, you need to shop around with other auto insurance companies. Each insurer accounts for accidents differently when calculating your premium, meaning certain insurers may provide more favorable rates. And if your car insurance does go up after an accident, remember the increase is only temporary. Car accidents typically only stay on your record for three to five years.
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Across our research sample, we found that car insurance may increase anywhere from 3% to 94% after an accident or a speeding ticket. On average, not at-fault accidents result in the lowest premium increase, followed by a speeding ticket, then property damage. Bodily injury accidents make your insurance rates go up the most.
|Type of accident or violation||Average percent increase after an accident or speeding ticket|
|One not at-fault accident||3%|
|One speeding ticket||18%|
|One speeding ticket with $3,000 in property damage costs||44%|
|One accident with $3,000 in bodily injury costs||55%|
|Two accidents with $3,000 in bodily injury costs||81%|
|Two accidents with $3,000 in bodily injury costs each||95%|
|Note: Average rate increases are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.1|
Property damage can involve damaging someone’s mailbox, a public lamp or any other property. Bodily injury can involve things such as medical costs and foregone wages due to an accident-related injury. A standard auto insurance policy’s liability coverage includes both of these forms of coverage if you cause an accident.
If you’re at fault in an accident, your rates will likely increase, but the amount will vary based on your specifics, including your coverage, driving history, whether the accident was minor or major, and any other pertinent details. Rate increases typically take place when your policy is up for renewal. There is no set percentage that your insurance rates go up after an at-fault accident, but we found that in specific cases:
Even if you had chosen the cheapest quote you found at the time of your initial auto insurance purchase, another insurance company may offer you a significantly cheaper quote after an accident. If your rates go up, make sure to shop around for insurance quotes. Doing so can keep your insurance rates low and affordable.
We found that one no-fault accident makes your insurance rates go up by 3% annually, on average. Increases in premiums might be due to the fact that in general, filing claims goes on your claims record and can lead to higher premiums with your insurance company.
In some cases, however, your insurance premiums might not go up at all after an accident when you’re not at fault. Some states (like California and Oklahoma) don’t raise premiums after a no-fault accident. And some companies will not increase your premiums if you’ve been a good driver and it is a minor accident.
Across these five states, we see there is an average $75 increase in annual premiums after being found not at-fault in an accident. Remember, even in states like Illinois, where there is a higher-than-average increase in premiums, some insurers do not increase your auto insurance costs after a not at-fault accident. Make sure to gather quotes to ensure you’re getting the best rates.
Any accident you cause resulting in property damage will increase your insurance premiums by 44% on average, according to our research. Accidents that involve property damage typically lead to lower premium increases than those that involve bodily injury.
Being found at fault in two accidents — even if they only involve property damage — will lead to a significant premium increase. We found that two accidents that resulted in property damage each time translates to an 81% increase in premiums on average. This is nearly double the increase in insurance costs than if you only had one accident. Any accidents indicate to your insurer that you are a high risk driver and are more likely to cost the insurance company money, which results in higher premiums for you.
Accidents that involve claims for bodily injury costs are more expensive than those that have property damage only. We found that one accident with bodily injury results in over a 54% price increase on average.
Causing two accidents that result in bodily injury claims leads to the highest insurance premium increases out of all other accidents and violations we tested. Drivers can expect on average for annual premiums to increase by 94%, nearly doubling rates of a comparable driver with no accidents. Although these hikes seem steep, the increase is only temporary. Usually accidents fall off your insurance record after three to five years. And shopping around might prevent significant increases in premiums.
Car accidents aren’t the only incidents that can affect your insurance premiums. We found that on average, one speeding ticket increases your annual auto insurance premium by 17%.
The increase in your premium after a speeding ticket depends on a few factors, including:
Your rate will only increase if your car insurance company knows you got a ticket for speeding (or other violations). Your auto insurer needs to pay to access these records, so the frequency at which they check will vary based on how risky of a driver you are. For a generally good driver, your rates will most likely only increase at the time of renewal. At that point, make sure to shop around for quotes to see if you can get cheaper rates.
You’ve heard and seen that accidents aren’t cheap — we found that in some cases, accidents can increase your premiums more than 94%. So you might be interested in accident forgiveness to avoid that dreaded premium hike. In reality, however, accident forgiveness might not lead to cheaper rates after all if you’re a very safe driver.
Accident forgiveness is an additional coverage offered by many auto insurers. For some insurers, you can purchase it for a fee if you have a clean driving record. These fees vary widely, but are typically around 3% to 5% of your premium. Other insurers offer it for free after a few years of being accident free with the car insurance company. Let’s walk through an example of how much accident forgiveness coverage might cost you:
Let’s say your annual premium for car insurance is $2,000. To add on accident forgiveness coverage, you pay a 3% increase — so in total, you’re now paying $2,060 a year for your car insurance. Each year, you pay an extra $60 to protect your rates against an accident you might never get into. If you’re a very safe driver, accident forgiveness might not be worth it since you might never be at-fault in an accident. But if you want to err on the safe side, you could easily find the marginal annual premium increase worth it.
Your rates can still increase after being in an accident, even with accident forgiveness. You might lose your good driver discount, which can lead to even a 20% hike in annual insurance premiums. In other words, accident forgiveness does not guarantee you won’t see an increase in premiums after an accident. If you want to shop around after an accident, other companies will still consider your accident history and adjust your quotes to be more expensive than before your accident.
Filing an insurance claim typically leads to an increase in auto insurance premiums. So in some cases, you might not want to file a claim in the first place.
When you should not file a claim:
When you should consider filing a claim:
If you already filed a claim but are worried about increasing insurance premiums, you can cancel an insurance claim. To cancel your insurance claim, contact your insurance agent.
An accident claim stays on your insurance record for three to five years. So if you’re hit with higher premiums after an accident, you may face those higher rates for three to five years. With some companies, if you keep a clean driving record during that time, your insurance premiums can decrease over time at each point of renewal. For other companies, your premium will only begin to decrease after the accident is not on your insurance record.
In some states, an accident can only stay on your insurance record for three years. But after those three years, you could be on probation for three more years. Any violations or accidents may lead to steep insurance cost increases.
Within these years, you need to make sure to shop around for insurance. Different insurance companies may offer different rates after you’ve been in an accident.
The first step to finding the lowest rates after an accident is to shop around for quotes. There’s even a chance you can end up with a lower premium than you had before your accident by switching insurers. You can’t predict how much your premiums will increase with your current provider, but you can take some critical steps to keep your rates low, especially if you’re a high risk driver.
Let’s say you caused an accident and your car is totaled, but you still need to keep your car insurance. Let’s walk through how to get cheap car insurance in this case:
If your car is totaled/unusable:
1For all of the rates we gathered, our base driver profile was a 30-year-old single man with a clean driving history. The driver owns a 2014 Honda Accord and selects the minimum liability coverage required auto policy. Annually, the driver drives his vehicle 15,000 miles.
We sampled all ZIP codes in five of the most populated states: California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.
We analyzed six different scenarios:
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