At-Fault Accidents and Your Rates: What to Expect
Being in an accident is always going to be a difficult experience, regardless of who’s fault it was. But dealing with the fall-out of an accident can be every bit as challenging too (sometimes even more so). We’ll look at at-fault accidents and car insurance rates, so you have a better idea of what to expect.
What Is an At-Fault Accident?
You might think that an at-fault accident is one in which you’ve been proven to be at fault. But in some cases, an insurance company might deem you to be at fault if the at-fault party cannot be found. For instance, this may occur if your car was vandalized and the police are unable to find the person or persons who did it. While this is frustrating for many drivers, it helps to be aware of these details before you file the claim.
At-Fault Accidents: What Will Happen to My Rates?
First things first: you really should tell your auto insurance company about every collision, even the tiny ones that don’t seem to be noteworthy. In some cases, the driver may come back to sue you months or even years later, claiming that you’re the reason for all their chronic back problems (despite having no evidence of this). Your insurance company will be less likely to work with you though if you failed to tell them about the collision in the first place.
Your car insurance company may not drastically raise your rates though. especially if you have an accident-forgiveness clause. If your carrier offers this, you’ll need to check into the terms of who’s eligible. Some may deny this benefit based on moving violations, such as speeding tickets. You may also have needed to have signed with them for over a certain amount of time. (e.g., a year) In other cases though, your rates may rise substantially, depending on the nature of the accident and the cost to repair.
From shopping around for different policies to taking a safe driver class, you may still have some options directly after the accident occurred. You can even drop certain parts of your coverage or increase your deductible to adjust how much you pay per month. Overall, there’s no need to panic. Your auto insurance was designed to absorb the costs of your accident, so that you can get back on the road.