What happens to auto insurance after an accident

It's common knowledge that an auto accident directly impacts car insurance costs. However, the amount by which your auto insurance premium increases after a crash depends on myriad details. Let’s break down by how much car insurance goes up after an accident, and assess the best steps to take to cut your costs. 

 

How an accident affects insurance

 


 

How car insurance increases after an at-fault accident

An at-fault accident increased car insurance premiums by about 42% in the US in 2019. Insurance rate growth after an at-fault accident varies considerably, depending on variables like the circumstances of the accident, the insurance company, and the driver's history behind the wheel.

Below are typical car insurance rates after an accident from popular US companies:

 

CompanyAverage Premium After At-Fault Accident
Nationwide$2,174
Farmers$2,226
Progressive$2,772
Liberty Mutual$2,358
State Farm$1,617
GEICO$1,997
Allstate$3,017

 

The most expensive car insurance companies after an at-fault accident are Allstate and Progressive, while State Farm and GEICO provide the lowest post-accident premiums. It's important to remember an accident will impact your premiums for three to five years — so you'll most likely face annual rates of over $2,000 per year for the foreseeable future. The scale and scope of your car insurance rate increase after an accident may vary considerably, depending on how the accident occurred and other factors. 

The above rate breakdown used the following driver profile as a baseline:

  • Location: averaged zip codes across the US
  • Driver information: 30-year-old male driver, single
  • Vehicle: 2012 Honda Accord EX (owned) with full coverage and deductibles at $500
  • Accident: at-fault collision claim with more than $2,000 in damage

 


 

How a no-fault accident affects auto insurance premiums

While it makes sense an at-fault accident would raise your rates, you might be surprised a not-at-fault accident can also increase insurance premiums. Insurance companies operate by anticipating risk and using premiums to mitigate any losses. In the eyes of an insurance company, the more accidents you have had, the more likely another is to occur.

Although not-at-fault accidents raise insurance costs less than do at-fault accidents, most major insurers still raise premiums after a no-fault crash. 

 

CompanyAverage Premium After a Not-At-Fault Accident
GEICO$1,340
Nationwide$1,347
USAA$948
State Farm$1,313
Allstate$1,953
Liberty Mutual$1,673
Farmers$1,576
Progressive$2,030

 

A not-at-fault accident raises insurance costs by an average of $98 per year. USAA and State Farm are on the cheaper side after a not-at-fault accident.

The above rate breakdown used the following driver profile as a baseline:

  • Location: averaged zip codes across the US
  • Driver information: 30-year-old male driver, single
  • Vehicle: 2012 Honda Accord EX (owned) with full coverage and deductibles at $500
  • Accident: no-fault collision claim with more than $2,000 in damage

 


 

How to find cheap car insurance after an accident

 

The keys to finding lower-cost car insurance after an accident are being smart with your claims and choosing your insurance company wisely.

 

Be prudent with your claims

Unless you have accident forgiveness bundled with your policy, a car accident on your insurance record can be expensive. Below are a few considerations to make before filing a claim.

  • Get an estimate for the damage at a local repair shop
  • Consult The Zebra's State of Insurance analysis and look for the average annual rate increase for your state. Assess this rate increase over a three-year timeline.
  • If the value of the rate increase over three years — plus your deductible — is greater than the value of the out-of-pocket fee, pay this.

If you have no choice but to file a claim — if you’re the at-fault party and the other party prefers to go through your insurance company — you'll be stuck footing the cost increase.

 

Shop for auto insurance

Not every company charges the same premium after an auto accident. Any time you’ve been involved in a crash, whether at-fault or not, it's worth reevaluating your insurance relationship. Compare rates below by entering your zip code to see how much you could be saving.

 

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