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What determines insurance premium increases after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Car Accidents

In New York, many drivers worry about the potential increase in their auto insurance premiums if they get involved in a car accident. An increased rate might make sense if the driver is at fault, but what if the accident was the other person’s fault?

Insurance rate increases following an accident depend on several factors and could increase even if you were not at fault. The following variables determine how your car insurance premiums will change after an accident.

Your driving history

You might have a clean record with no accidents or other violations. If you have accident-forgiveness coverage and just had your first accident, your premiums will not change.

However, if you have had previous traffic violations or a history of car accidents, your premiums will increase more than they would if you had a clean record.

Accident severity

The car accident severity carries the most weight regarding insurance rate increases. You might not see a significant increase if the accident was minor and the damages were small. However, a serious accident that caused significant damage can result in a substantial premium increase.

Your location

Depending on where you live, your insurance rates could have different outcomes. In New York, the average cost for auto insurance with one accident on your record is $1,951. This cost compares to a national average annual premium of $2,117 after one accident.

Some states have made it illegal for insurance companies to raise rates after a car accident in which the individual was not at fault. Other states might allow increases regardless of your driving history or whether you were at fault.

Insurance company policies

Each insurance company has its policies for raising premiums after an accident. Some offer accident forgiveness for your first accident, while others have stricter policies in place and could raise your rates regardless.

If your insurer does raise your rates, you will see the increase right after the accident. Your rates will continue to fall over the next three to five years if you do not have any other accidents or traffic violations.

Determining who was at fault in a car accident could save you from an unnecessary yet significant increase in car insurance rates.