Car accidents are an unfortunate part of driving. Fortunately, your car insurance can protect your financial wellbeing in the event of a fender bender. Unfortunately, your insurance rates are bound to increase. How much does insurance go up after a fender bender? That depends on your provider.
What Is the Average Rate Increase After a Fender Bender?
According to Insurance.com, minor fender benders are surcharged the same amount, whether the damage amounts to $200 or $2000. If your premium is $1500 a year, you can expect it to increase to $2062 a year. That price will remain in effect for three to five years, depending on your provider. As Insurance.com points out, if you’re in a minor accident, and the claim amount is less than or the same amount as your deductible, you may want to pay out of pocket instead of filing a claim because the rate increase means you’re paying out of pocket either way.
At-Fault Accidents vs. Not-At-Fault Accidents
WalletHub reports that if you’re responsible for an accident, even a minor fender bender, your insurance rates could increase by at least 50 percent. Even if you’re not at fault, you could still see your insurance rates increase by at least 12 percent, depending on your provider. While some insurance companies won’t raise your rates for a not-at-fault accident, be prepared for a not-at-fault accident to remain on your record for a few years if your provider does raise your rates.
Situations That May Not Trigger a Rate Increase
Forbes notes that not every situation will trigger a rate increase. Your provider typically won’t raise your rates if:
- A fender bender occurs when a moving vehicle hits your legally parked car.
- A fender bender occurs during a hit-and-run.
- A vehicle hits your car’s rear end, and you’re not cited for a moving traffic violation related to the incident.
To prove that you’re not at fault, your insurance company may require you to provide at least one of the following:
- A police report.
- A statement from the other driver’s provider that accepts fault for the accident.
- A written statement from the other driver claiming fault.
- A legal document showing that the other driver reimbursed you for any damage.
When Should You Not File a Car Insurance Claim?
As ValuePenguin points out, you should always let your insurance company know if you’re in a serious accident. However, you don’t need to involve your provider if:
- The damage cost isn’t much more than your deductible. In the event of an accident, you should get an estimate from a body shop before you file a claim on your collision coverage. If the estimate isn’t very high, consider paying out of pocket. Keep in mind that your insurance company probably requires you to file a claim within a certain amount of time after the accident. Be sure to get your estimate within that timeframe if you do end up wanting to file a claim.
- The accident only involves you and one other driver. You might be able to reach an agreement with the other driver not to involve your insurance providers if the accident is minor. Be aware, though, that the other driver could change their mind later on, especially if they start feeling pain or it costs more to fix the fender bender than expected.
- You’ve filed several claims in the past. The more claims you file, the more your insurance rates will increase. If you’re sure that the damages to your car are minor or it’s a one-car accident, consider covering the repairs out of pocket.
Car Insurance Increases by Provider
If you do decide to file a claim after an accident, keep in mind that your insurance rates will increase, although maybe not by as much as your fellow drivers’, depending on your provider. The Simple Dollar gathered quotes from some leading insurance companies to determine how much they charge after an at-fault accident. Here’s what they found:
- Nationwide: $2174 a year (61 percent increase).
- Farmers: $2226 a year (6 percent increase).
- Progressive: $2772 a year (73 percent increase).
- Liberty Mutual: $2358 a year (43 percent increase).
- State Farm: $1617 a year (23 percent increase).
- GEICO: $1997 a year (57 percent increase).
- Allstate: $3017 a year (60 percent increase).
Car Insurance Increases by State
Every state has its own set of laws regulating how an insurance provider can operate, including how much they’re allowed to raise rates on drivers after a fender bender. According to The Simple Dollar, you’ll see a steeper increase if you live in one of the following states:
- California: 63.1 percent increase.
- New Hampshire: 60.3 percent increase.
- Texas: 59.9 percent increase.
- Massachusetts: 57.3 percent increase.
- North Carolina: 57.3 percent increase.
You can take advantage of lower increases if you live in one of these states:
- Maryland: 21.5 percent increase.
- Michigan: 26.1 percent increase.
- Oklahoma: 27.9 percent increase.
- Montana: 30.2 percent increase.
- Kentucky: 30.6 percent increase.
How You Can Lower Your Car Insurance Rates After a Fender Bender
If you’re about to see a rate increase because of a recent accident or you’re already paying a higher premium, Forbes suggests you do the following:
- Inquire about discounts. Insurance companies offer all sorts of discounts that you may qualify for, even after an accident. Many insurance companies appreciate it when their customers take an approved defensive driving course, and they’ll reward completion with a discount. If you use your provider’s autopay feature or pay your premium in full, you might also see significant savings.
- Drive more carefully. One of the best things you can do to repair your driving record and improve your relationship with your insurance company is to avoid any further accidents.
- Find a new provider. Even though a new insurance provider will factor in your recent accident when calculating your rates, they still might be able to offer you a lower price.
Now that you know how a fender bender can affect your insurance rates, you can make better decisions about whether or not to file a claim and whether you should stick with your current provider.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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