In the aftermath of an auto accident, insurance rates are yet another thing to worry about. Refer to our guide for ways to save.
Although the point of maintaining an active car insurance policy is to be able to utilize it when necessary, having claims on your insurance record can be costly. A simple but often-overlooked rule for car insurance is that you should only file a claim if the value of the damage exceeds the premium increase you would suffer as a result of the claim. That said, if you already have a claim on your record, this is a moot point. Let’s assess some car insurance options for a insurance customer user profile with an at-fault accident claim on their record.
Sometimes you just don't have a choice: a claims adjuster is going to get involved after an incident. If you’re the at-fault party in a car accident and the other person does not want to be paid out-of-pocket for the damage, you're out of luck. If this occurs — or if you have a preexisting collision claim on your insurance record — Farmers or Nationwide may be your most affordable options, depending on the cost of damages.
Average Premium by Car Insurance Company with a Car Accident
|Company||No Accidents||Damage less than $1,000||Damage greater than $2,000|
Will my car insurance rates rise after a claim?
The overall difference between an average car insurance premium without a claim versus the premium with claim(s) is nearly $700 per year. Most insurance companies will rate the claim on your insurance record for three years. So that $700 annual average hike may add up to an overall increase of more than $2,000. And that's just the additional cost on top of your existing premium.
One way to mitigate this cost is to shop around for the best rate, starting with companies like Nationwide and Farmers.
While shopping around to find the best car insurance company for you is certainly the best way to save, you’re going to want to seek out cost-cutting solutions. Here are a few rules to shop by:
Unlike property, a vehicle's value depreciates over time. The coverage you once had on your 2004 Honda Civic might no longer be necessary as the car ages. As a general rule of thumb, if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you probably don’t need to carry physical coverage. Physical coverage — comprehensive and collision — is only required if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle. If you own your vehicle outright, the only coverage you’re required to carry is liability insurance.
Average Annual Premium by Coverage Level
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
While the cost of your collision and comprehensive coverage may vary based on your car's make and model, dropping these coverages can reduce your monthly premiums substantially. If your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you’re still looking to save, consider raising your deductibles. By raising your deductibles, you assume a great deal of your insurance company's financial responsibility, leading to lower premiums.
Another benefit of raising your deductibles is the lower financial incentive to file an auto insurance claim, an action that can be costly.
If you don’t know whether it's in your best interest to file a claim, consider these steps:
While you probably won't qualify for every discount if you have an accident on your record, it's worth evaluating your options.
Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.
Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. For coverage level data, optional coverage (that must be rejected in writing) is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.
National property and casualty losses information is from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report.
For vehicle make and model data, analysis referenced the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2016 year-end sales according to Goodcarbadcar.net’s automakers’ data.
Finally, some rate data may vary slightly throughout report based on rounding.