Will a not-at-fault accident affect my car insurance rates?
A lot of people are unpleasantly surprised when they get their first insurance bill after a not-at-fault accident. It goes without saying that your premiums will go up if you cause an accident, but your premiums can also go up when you were the innocent victim of another driver’s negligence.
Believe it or not, a not-at-fault accident can cause your premiums to go up by more than $100 a year. This may not seem fair to the average person, but from the insurance company’s perspective once you’ve been in any crash you are a higher risk. You may never be involved in an accident alone, but the insurance company might not be willing to take that gamble.
Accidents That Won’t Raise Your Insurance Rates
If you were more than 50% at fault in an accident and it caused damage to property, injuries, or fatalities, the wreck will be considered a “chargeable” accident, and this is when your rates will go way up. Although your rates can go up if you weren’t at fault, under the following conditions your rates may not go up:
- You were involved in a hit-and-run accident
- Your accident was caused by an animal in the road
- Your car was parked when someone hit it
- The damage to your vehicle was caused by projectiles
- You were rear-ended and you didn’t get a ticket
- The other driver paid for your damages
- The other driver’s insurance paid for your damages
- The other driver got a ticket and you did not
- You are a first responder and the accident happened while you were on duty
What, exactly, constitutes a chargeable accident will vary in each state. What is or is not chargeable may be determined by the amount of the damages or by a set dollar amount. Your car insurance premiums also won’t go up if your damages were paid by PIP, collision insurance, or liability insurance.
Not-At-Fault Claims and Accident Forgiveness
If you file a not-at-fault claim with your insurance, your auto insurance premiums are less likely to go up. Some companies will raise your premiums anyway. If that happens, you may want to consider finding a new insurance company.
If your premiums are raised, you may be able to get them lowered again through your insurance provider’s accident forgiveness program. Even if you were at-fault in the accident, you can still lower your premiums this way. These programs work by giving you an incentive to drive safely for a set period of time by giving you a discount.
You can usually only use accident forgiveness if it’s your first accident. One thing that’s important to remember about this feature is it is not free. You may want to ask your insurance carrier for more details about the options they offer to lower your premium.
What to Do if You’ve Been in a Not-at-Fault Accident
The first thing you’ll need to take care of if you were in a wreck and you weren’t at fault is contacting the police so they can file a police report and contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file a claim. You may also want to contact an attorney before you speak with any insurance representative.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have rights under the law. This includes the right to file a legal claim against the at-fault party or parties and the right to be compensated for your damages. You can contact this Atlanta personal injury lawyer if you want more information about your rights after a car accident.
Many people don’t realize in some situations you can make a claim with your own insurance company, even if you didn’t cause the accident. Whether or not you’ll be able to make a claim with your insurance will depend on what type of coverage you have.
With collision insurance, you will be able to cover the cost of vehicle repair or replacement, after your deductible is met. If the other driver isn’t insured and you have uninsured motorist coverage, this coverage should also pay for your vehicle damage. With this type of coverage, there is typically no deductible.