Car Insurance with Multiple Claims

Filing multiple claims can increase premiums and result in a policy cancellation. See our tips on how to handle a second insurance claim.

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Ava Lynch

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Car insurance with two or more claims

Filing multiple car insurance claims can lead to a tricky situation. The primary effect of multiple claims on auto insurance is higher rates. A second — and less likely — possibility is that of policy cancellation or non-renewal.

If you've filed two or more claims within a three-year period, that counts as multiple claims — no matter if they were filed two weeks or two years apart. Having multiple claims within this time period risks landing you in the danger zone of a possible cancellation or non-renewal.

Let's take a look at how to handle multiple auto insurance claims and how to find better insurance quotes if you're looking to save after experiencing a rate hike following a claim.

Key takeaways
  • Policyholders who have filed two or more claims within a three-year period are considered to have multiple claims.
  • On average, an at-fault collision claim raises insurance rates by $64 per month.
  • USAA provides the cheapest average rates for drivers with an at-fault accident.
  • Collision claims often increase your rates more than a comprehensive claim.

Multiple at-fault and not-at-fault accidents

At-fault and not-at-fault scenarios refer to collision and comprehensive claims. A collision claim will be considerably more expensive than a comprehensive claim. A collision claim covers an incident that occurs as a result of the insured driver's actions: for example, colliding with a fixed object or another vehicle.

 
How collision claims affect car insurance rates

On average, an at-fault collision claim raises insurance rates by $64 per month, ($384 per six-month policy period). USAA is the cheapest car insurance company after an at-fault accident.

These rates are averages. Drivers can use these premiums as a starting point in the search for car insurance.

Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
USAA $161 $963
State Farm $167 $1,003
Nationwide $194 $1,167
GEICO $195 $1,172
Farmers $209 $1,254
Progressive $245 $1,468
Allstate $290 $1,741

If you’re looking for more information on getting cheap car insurance with claims on your record, read our expert guides:

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology — auto insurance

The auto insurance rates displayed throughout this page come from The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool, a proprietary insurance premium estimator that uses the most recent rate filings across the United States at the ZIP code level to provide up-to-date rate data. Most insurance companies file car insurance rates one to two times a year. This data comes from Quadrant Information Services, which sources the latest approved rate filings across carriers in each state from S&P Global. Quadrant then uses an internal QA process to validate the information and build reports before the data is programmed into The Zebra’s dynamic rating tool.

Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage at these levels:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
  • $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage

To provide insight to consumers on how specific personal factors (like age, location and coverage level) can affect your premium, this base profile is then adjusted for different factors commonly used by insurance companies. For more information, see our full data methodology.

How comprehensive insurance claims affect car insurance rates

Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover damage that occurs outside of the insured driver's control.

Below are the perils covered by comprehensive coverage:

Comprehensive claims typically don't result in major rate hikes. On average, a comprehensive claim increases auto insurance premiums by $6 per month. Two comprehensive claims raise car insurance premiums by $13 per month. Drivers with two comprehensive claims on their records should consider USAA, State Farm or Nationwide when comparing rates in search of an insurance policy.

Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
USAA $114 $683
Nationwide $123 $738
GEICO $130 $782
State Farm $131 $785
Farmers $157 $942
Progressive $175 $1,048
Allstate $207 $1,244

How to handle policy cancellation or non-renewal

Having multiple claims in your driving history is considered to be a red flag in the eyes of an insurance company. Your current insurer may decide that you carry too much risk and could choose to drop you as a client in the form of cancellation or non-renewal of your auto insurance policy. This is more likely to happen if you have a record of DUI, at-fault car accidents with high bodily injury and property damage costs and other traffic violations.

Cancellation

Every insurance company sets its own benchmark for triggering a cancellation, but it is more likely that you'll face cancellation or non-renewal if you've made three or more claims within a three-year period. Most cancellations occur within the first 60 days of a policy, usually due to non-compliance.

The best course of action after cancellation is to shop around with other companies. Some insurers are more risk-averse, but that doesn't mean others won't provide coverage for you. Consider consulting with a local agent and comparing quotes online, especially with non-standard companies if you're a high-risk driver.

Non-renewal

Your insurance company may choose to simply not renew your policy at the end of the policy period instead of canceling it. They may do this for a variety of reasons, but having one too many claims on your record is one of them.

The good news is that there are plenty of other companies to choose from even with a bad driving record — but you will likely need to look outside of the most well-known auto insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Nationwide, GEICO and Liberty Mutual, and look for high-risk car insurance through non-standard insurance companies. These insurers specialize in insuring clients who may have trouble finding coverage.


How to find car insurance after multiple claims

There's no magic trick to lower premiums after multiple claims. Depending on how egregious your claim history is, you may even have trouble finding car insurance coverage. But there are some steps worth considering to alleviate the impact of the claims on your insurance costs and find the best car insurance companies.

Compare insurance options

Comparing car insurance quotes every six months is a good way to find affordable car insurance. Most accidents and violations will no longer be chargeable after three to five years.

Not every insurance provider prices policies equally after claims. The only way to know for sure you’re being charged the best rates is to see insurance quotes from other companies. If you're having trouble finding coverage because of your driving record, talk to an agent or look for non-standard insurance companies.

Find the right policy in only a few minutes.

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Be smart with future claims

Along with keeping a clean driving record, practicing safe driving by taking a defensive driving course and improving your credit score, using your insurance coverage carefully can also pay off. Filing more than three claims in a three-year period can put you at risk of having your car insurance policy non-renewed or canceled.

If you’re in a situation where you think you need to file a claim, follow our guide.

  • Use our State of Insurance analysis to see how much your particular claim type would raise your rate in your state. Consider this increase over three years as that is how long you will be charged by your insurance company.
  • Get an estimate for the repairs from a mechanic.
  • Compare the rate increase plus your deductible to the out-of-pocket repair costs. If it is cheaper to file a claim, do that. But be extra cautious if you’ve already filed two claims in the past three years.

Use our claims calculator to find out whether you should file a claim.


Customize your coverage

The general rule of thumb in the insurance world is if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you do not need comprehensive or collision coverage as coverage options. This is because the claims payout you would receive is worth less than the value of the premium you are paying. Determine the value of your vehicle(s) by using Kelley Blue Book and NADA online. All of your vehicles do not need to be at the same coverage level.

If you need physical comprehensive and collision coverage but are still looking to lower your insurance premiums, consider raising your deductible. Because your premium and deductible are inversely related, you lower your bill by raising your deductible. Standard deductibles range from $250 to $1000.

Use insurance discounts

Most discounts are quite small but can add up. See if you qualify for the following auto insurance discounts:

Compare insurance rates quickly and easily.

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Frequently asked questions: auto insurance with multiple claims

There is no limit on how many claims you can file. However, most insurance companies will drop you as a client after three claims over a three-year period, no matter what type of claim.

State Farm has a penchant for being more selective with their policyholders, but how many claims it takes to be dropped from coverage depends. Insurers can use their own discretion to decide what it takes for them to non-renew or cancel policies.

In most scenarios, no. The at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for handling and paying out for the claim up to their coverage limits. However, there may be some unique circumstances where this won't always be the case, such as the at-fault driver being underinsured (doesn't carry enough coverage to cover all losses) or if 50/50 fault is determined. In these cases, you'll need to speak to a claims representative at your insurance company.

Having accident forgiveness as part of your auto insurance policy ensures your rates won't increase after an at-fault accident. Generally, you'd need to have been at least a few years accident-free (depending on the company) to qualify for accident forgiveness. It may be not worth it if you have recent accidents on your record, but if you've gone at least a few years without any, it could be a great safeguard against potential incidents.

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 editorial 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.