Does an Accident Go on Your Insurance Record If It Is Not Your Fault?
You are in a car accident, but you didn’t cause that accident. The police report is in, you receive no citations, and even the officer states the other driver was at fault. So, will that incident go against you next time you renew your insurance policy?
Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as a “yes” or “no,” and instead it will depend on the circumstances of that incident and whether the other party has insurance to cover the costs of it.
Bottom line, the accident does go on your insurance record, but how it impacts your premium is another story.
The Factors that Can Increase Your Car Insurance Premiums – Even for No-Fault Accidents
So, you were in an accident, but not at fault, and now you have the worry that your insurance premiums are going to skyrocket. In most cases, even though it is on your record, you shouldn’t see a massive increase in your insurance premium for an accident you didn’t cause.
Accidents are a Risk Factor – Regardless of Who Caused It
Regardless of whether you were at fault or not, the accident itself means you are at risk, and risk to an insurer implies someone more likely to file a claim down the road. Therefore, they may increase your insurance premium even though you’re not at fault. Will it be high? No, but that increased risk still warrants an increase regardless.
If this is not your first time in an accident, you could see an increase too. For example, you have six crashes on your record, none of them your fault, but those six mean that you are at high risk for car accidents and liability for the insurance company – so you could see an increase.
Was the Driver Underinsured or Uninsured?
When you don’t cause the crash, but the driver at-fault doesn’t have insurance or enough insurance to pay for the damages, you may have to use your insurance to cover the rest. When you file a claim using those parts of your insurance, you may see an increase in your rates.
You are Partially at Fault
While the car accident report from the officer states you were not at fault, it is up to a claim’s adjuster to determine who is really at fault. Sometimes, the insurance company may find you were partially at fault for the accident and your injuries. For example, you were not wearing a seatbelt, which means you sustained more severe injuries as a result. You didn’t cause the accident, but because you didn’t wear a seatbelt, you are partially at fault for the injuries associated from that lack of wearing the safety device. Therefore, your insurer may increase your rates for engaging in risky driving behaviors and costing them money.
You Live in a No-Fault State
If you live in a state where you must use your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) before you can file a claim with the other company, then you may see an increased premium for your PIP insurance.
Will it Increase My Rate for Sure?
There is no guarantee your rates will increase or decrease, even if you are not-at-fault. The only way to know for sure is to talk to your insurance company. Most insurers will not raise rates when their insured is not the cause of the accident, but there are those instances above that can increase the chances you will see a higher premium.
Bottom Line: If the Insurance Company isn’t Paying Out, You Shouldn’t See an Increase
In most cases, if the insurance company doesn’t have to pay anything, they do not increase the premium for you. There is no guarantee, and there are, as you can see, factors that may increase your premium even when you are not-at-fault. Therefore, it is best to speak with your insurance agent about the potential of an increase, consider your driving record and claims in the past, and then see if you will have an addition or not.
If you have accident forgiveness, then you may be in the clear regardless, and your insurer will not raise your rates for that first incident.
Lastly, some states prohibit insurance companies from increasing premiums when the insured is not at fault. You can check with your state’s insurance board to see what rules apply and whether your insurer can raise your rates for a non-fault accident.