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How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

After an at-fault accident, policyholders can expect insurance rates to rise by $767 per year — that's an increase of almost 50% from the average rate without an accident ($1,548). Most accidents, tickets and moving violations stay on a driver's record for as long as three to five years. Over a three-year period, that could add up to $2,300 in extra insurance premiums.

Read on to learn more about how to handle car insurance after an accident. Or, check out personalized car insurance quotes to ensure you're not getting overcharged for auto insurance.

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Use our claim calculator to help determine whether you should file a claim after an accident.


Which insurance company is the best after an accident?

Of the major car insurance companies, the cheapest rates after an accident come from USAAGEICO, and State Farm. Both GEICO and USAA advertise "accident forgiveness" options that can minimize the increase of your premiums, though these must be purchased separately as an add-on and must be in place at the time of the accident. Bear in mind that these options may not be available in every state. 

While you can definitely expect higher rates after an auto accident, each insurer will weigh them differently. To illustrate the financial ramifications of a collision, we gathered car insurance rates from some of the most popular auto insurance companies in the U.S. (methodology). See below how much a collision could cost, depending on the insurer you choose. Keep in mind that insurers will typically charge you higher premiums over a three-year period after an at-fault accident.

While you can definitely expect higher rates after an auto accident, each insurer will weigh them differently.

Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $161 $1,927
State Farm $167 $2,005
Nationwide $194 $2,334
GEICO $195 $2,344
Farmers $209 $2,508
Progressive $245 $2,936
Allstate $290 $3,482
Updated: 12/01/22.

Dynamic auto insurance data methodology

Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.

Allstate is typically the most expensive car insurance company after an at-fault accident, while USAA is the cheapest. While the table above outlines the average rates for drivers after an at-fault accident, the table below shows national averages in general (without an at-fault accident in recent history).

Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $106 $1,277
State Farm $117 $1,405
GEICO $142 $1,698
Progressive $147 $1,762
Nationwide $149 $1,787
Farmers $177 $2,129
Allstate $211 $2,536
Liberty Mutual $215 $2,576
Updated: 12/01/22.
total insurance cost of at-fault accident

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Why do car insurance rates go up after an accident?

 

Auto insurance rates commonly increase after an accident for one of a few reasons:

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The fees associated with filing an auto insurance claim

Surcharges triggered by an at-fault accident include the cost of the claim adjuster's time, fees related to the claims representatives, and the cost of parts and labor. These fees usually aren’t accounted for in your monthly premium, and thus increase if you utilize them. It helps to know when to forgo making a claim and settling out-of-pocket, especially if it's a minor accident.

car wreck
The additional risk

Historical data show drivers who have been in a crash are more likely to get into another accident. These drivers present more risk — and potentially more expense — to insurance companies than do clients with clean records. An insurance company accounts for this added risk by increasing the cost of a car insurance policy for a "high-risk driver" involved in a collision.


When do insurance rates go down after an accident?

While the timing may vary based on location and the circumstances surrounding the incident, most insurance companies will drop rates three to five years after the incident (assuming you've kept a clean driving record during that time). If the collision occurs long before your policy renewal date, this penalty period can stretch beyond the typical three-to-five-year window. 

If the penalty period for an accident is set to expire in January but your policy ends in June, the accident will not be removed from your insurance bill until your policy renews — or you specifically ask. If you have an accident on your insurance record, keep track of the date and chargeable time. Your insurance company will not do this for you. This can help you avoid a longer-than-necessary surcharge period.

Three years is a common penalty period following a claim for property damage or collision. Policyholders may be penalized for a longer period of time following certain violations:

  • DUI/DWI
  • Bodily injury claim
  • Reckless driving
  • Multiple — or excessive — violations within a certain time
  • An accident resulting in serious bodily harm or death

After the accident falls off your driving record, consider adding accident forgiveness to your auto insurance policy to avoid a surcharge should you're involved in another accident. Most insurance companies require a driver to be claim- or accident-free for a period of time (typically three to five years) to receive accident forgiveness.

Three years is a common penalty period following a claim for property damage or collision. Policyholders may be penalized for a longer period of time following certain violations, such as DUI.


How to find cheap car insurance after an accident

The amount by which car insurance premiums go up after an accident depends on many variables. The specifics of the accident, your vehicle, you, and most importantly, your insurance company.

While it's definitely not recommended for newer or higher-priced vehicles, foregoing extra coverage options such as comprehensive or collision coverage can dramatically lessen your monthly rates. Liability coverage is often enough to keep you legal, but your own vehicle would have no coverage. 

If you’re being charged a significant amount in additional premiums after an accident, it helps to shop around for a better rate. Every auto insurance company uses its own rating methods to calculate premiums, so you might be able to find cheap car insurance after an accident if you compare rates thoroughly.

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Frequently asked questions

By how much does car insurance go up after an accident? Chevron down icon

An at-fault collision causing more than $2,000 in damage to your vehicle can raise your insurance rates by $767 per year, on average. Because most accidents stay on your record for at least three years, you can expect to pay at least an extra $2,300 in premiums during that time. USAA and State Farm deliver the smallest average premium hikes after an accident, at just $340 and $304 per year, respectively.

When does car insurance go down after an accident? Chevron down icon

At-fault accidents usually stay on your driving record for between three and five years. As such, you can expect your insurance rates to be affected for at least three years. One way to save on auto insurance is to compare rates and look for a new policy.

Is it possible to get cheap car insurance after an accident? Chevron down icon

Yes, you can most certainly get car insurance after an accident. However, it might not be affordable. If the accident was your fault, you can expect that your new car insurance company will charge you more for your policy. However, if you didn’t have car insurance at the time of your accident, your new policy will only apply going forward and will not extend retroactively to your prior accident.

How can I find cheap car insurance after an accident? Chevron down icon

Comparing quotes from multiple car insurance companies is the best way to combat soaring premiums for insurance coverage. Many insurers provide policy discounts for things such as bundling your home and auto policies. You could also consider raising your deductible, as that can lead to lower monthly payments.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Can a person I hit force me to pay more for their damage than the actual cost of the repair?

If the two of you can't come to an agreement on the dollar amount then she is well within her right to file a claim for the damage. If you do decide to pay out of pocket I would highly recommend documenting the transaction somehow; either through a receipt, written check, or photo of the transaction.
Jul 2, 2017 Northridge, CA

My daughter got into an accident with my insurance and now has her own policy, why am I still being charged for it?

It is possible that the accident shows on your record because you were the primary driver on the policy when the accident occurred, or you were the person who initially filed the claim. Either way, it may be possible to dispute the accident since you were not the actual driver involved.
Dec 3, 2017 Naples, Florida

Can I file a claim if the damage happened over a month ago?

As long as you have collision coverage on your policy then the fact that it's been more than a month should not matter. I would recommend contacting your insurance company's claims department to start the process.
Nov 21, 2016 Richmond, CA

My liability only car was hit by a stolen vehicle

Unfortunately, the owner of the vehicle that was stolen isn't liable because the fact they didn't give permission to the driver negates any coverage. The individual who stole the vehicle and caused the damage is responsible.
Jun 18, 2018 Hutchinson, KS

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.