Does Your Insurance Rise After an Accident That Is Not Your Fault?
Last Updated on November 16, 2020
Accidents can be expensive. Insurance companies raise insurance premiums after an at-fault accident, but do they also raise premiums after an accident that was not your fault?
In most cases, a no-fault accident will not raise insurance premiums. Your insurance company should not raise rates after a single accident that was not your fault.
However, if you have a history of multiple accidents on your record (regardless of fault), then your insurance company could raise rates – even if the most recent accident was not your fault.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance goes up after an accident that was not your fault.
Table of Contents:
- A Single No-Fault Accident Will Not Raise Insurance Rates
- Multiple Accidents Could Increase Rates Regardless of Fault
- Some States Ban Companies from Raising Rates After a No-Fault Claim
- Do You Lose your Safe Driving Discount After a No-Fault Accident?
- Chargeable Versus Non-Chargeable Accidents
- How to Prove You Were Not At Fault
- How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance After a No-Fault Accident
A Single No-Fault Accident Will Not Raise Insurance Rates
Most insurance companies in the United States do not raise rates after a single no-fault accident – especially if you have an otherwise clean driving record.
In most states, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to cover any damage from the accident. The at-fault driver caused the accident, so the at-fault driver’s insurance company needs to cover all damage resulting from that accident. You might alert your insurance company to the accident, but your claim goes through the other driver’s insurance company – not your own insurance company.
If you live in one of 12 no-fault states, then you make a claim through your own insurance company after an accident regardless of fault. However, your insurance company then seeks compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company through a process called subrogation. You are still considered not at-fault for the accident, and your rates will not rise.
However, there are certain situations where an at-fault accident can raise rates.
Multiple Accidents Could Increase Rates Regardless of Fault
Most insurance companies do not raise rates after a single no-fault accident. However, if you have multiple accidents in a brief period of time (say, 3 to 7 years), then your insurance premiums could rise regardless of fault.
Some insurance companies raise rates after two or more no-fault accidents within a few year period, for example.
Other insurance companies raise rates by 5% to 10% after a no-fault accident if you already have accidents, citations, or speeding tickets on your record.
Some States Ban Companies from Raising Rates After a No-Fault Claim
In some states, insurance companies are not permitted to raise rates after a comprehensive coverage claim or a no-fault accident claim – even if you have multiple no-fault accidents in a short period of time.
California and Oklahoma, for example, have passed laws banning insurance companies from raising rates after a no-fault claim. If your insurer has raised rates after a no-fault claim in California or Oklahoma, then your insurer may be acting in bad faith.
Other states have similar systems in place preventing insurers from raising rates after a no-fault accident.
Do You Lose your Safe Driving Discount After a No-Fault Accident?
Some insurance companies offer safe driving discounts to drivers with a clean record over the past 3 to 7 years.
Some insurers negate this discount after a no-fault accident, while others do not. It depends on the policy of your insurance company.
Some insurance companies use this stipulation to get around state laws. State law may prevent an insurance company from raising rates after a no-fault accident, for example, but state law does not prevent the insurance company from taking away a discount. Your rates increase the same way – but the reason for the increase is different, allowing insurers to avoid penalties.
Ultimately, contact your insurance company or check your documentation to see if a no-fault accident affects your safe driving discount. Insurance companies implement safe driving discounts in different ways.
Chargeable Versus Non-Chargeable Accidents
Many states have laws defining chargeable and non-chargeable accidents.
Insurance companies are allowed to raise premiums after a chargeable accident, but they are not allowed to raise rates after a non-chargeable accident.
Insurance companies can raise rates after a chargeable accident. Most states define a chargeable accident as an accident where you were more than 50% at fault.
Some states also require damage to property (like another person’s vehicle or fence) or bodily injury or death to qualify as a chargeable accident.
Some states set a specific dollar amount. If the accident caused over $1,000 in damage, for example, then it’s considered a chargeable accident and could raise rates. If it caused less than that amount, then it will not impact rates.
Insurers cannot raise rates after a non-chargeable accident. Examples of non-chargeable accidents include:
- Hit and run collisions
- Incidents where the other driver was 50% at fault or greater
- Accidents with less than a certain amount of damages or injuries
Ultimately, states have different rules regarding chargeable and non-chargeable accidents. However, this difference could play an important role in whether or not insurance rates increase after a no-fault accident.
How to Prove You Were Not At Fault
Car accidents can be messy. Some accidents come down to your word versus the other driver’s word.
To prove you were not at fault for the accident, you may need to provide the following to your insurance company:
- A police report explaining who was at fault for the accident
- A legal document showing the other driver reimbursed you for the damage and/or accepted fault
- A statement from the other driver’s insurance company accepting fault for the accident
- A written statement or affidavit from the other driver accepting fault under penalty of perjury
If you can provide the above documentation to your insurance company, and your insurance company accepts it, then your insurance company could switch an at-fault accident to a no-fault accident and cancel a price increase.
How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance After a No-Fault Accident
Many drivers compare car insurance after an accident. Regardless of fault, an accident gives you time to compare rates from different providers.
Some insurance companies treat an accident seriously regardless of fault. Other insurers ignore one or more accidents. They might have accident forgiveness, for example, or they might ignore one or more no-fault accidents.
Other tips for getting cheaper car insurance after a no-fault accident include:
Compare Rates: Request a quote from multiple insurance companies to verify you’re paying low rates in your area.
Bundle Policies: By bundling multiple insurance policies together with the same company, you can save rates across all policies.
Take Advantage of Discounts: All insurance companies offer some types of discounts, including anything from good student discounts to safe driving discounts. By taking advantage of discounts, you can save hundreds per year on car insurance.
Final Word on No-Fault Accidents and Insurance Rates
A no-fault accident is a crash that you did not cause.
Although a no-fault accident will appear on your driving record, it is unlikely to impact your insurance premiums. Most insurers ignore no-fault accidents, and some states prevent insurance companies from raising rates after no-fault accidents.
However, drivers with multiple accidents on their record could see rates rise after another accident – even if it’s a no-fault accident. Some insurers raise rates 2% to 10% after an accident, regardless of fault, if the driver has other incidents within the last 3 to 7 years.
Contact your insurer to verify whether or not rates increase after a no-fault accident. Or, compare rates and find an insurance company that treats no-fault accidents differently.