When you’ve been in a car accident, a lot of questions spring to mind.
Is the other person okay? Will my car need a lot of repair work, or is this nothing more than a scratch? Should I see a doctor?
It’s only after the dust settles that you think about your insurance if the matter happens to pop into your mind at all.
Car insurance after an accident is a very important thing to consider. You should never hesitate to call your insurance provider if you have any questions. But in the meantime, we can answer some basic things that may be on your mind.
Car Insurance After an Accident: What Matters
Having enough insurance is important during an accident, but you need to think about what will come after.
An accident doesn’t always have to be a huge event. Something as minor as denting a bumper still qualifies as an accident in the eyes of the law and insurance companies.
There’s no blanket consequence that happens to drivers once they’re in an accident. A lot of factors come into play when you’re dealing with accidents and insurance.
This is going to be one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to insurance changes after an accident.
If you’re found to be at fault, you should expect to see an increase in your insurance premiums.
People that are found to be the cause of an auto accident are seen as bigger liabilities to insurance companies. They’ll need to protect their investment in you and charge you more for their protection.
Being found not at fault, or being involved in a no-fault accident, can dramatically increase your chances of not seeing a significant rate increase. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll avoid an increase altogether.
Even if you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the company may still choose to do a slight rate increase.
Having an accident on your record won’t do much to harm your insurability, but being a repeat offender could give some companies pause.
People with relatively clean driving records don’t have much to worry about. If you’ve run a red light in the past or maybe have a single speeding ticket, you shouldn’t expect to see a major change in your coverage or rate.
Major violations, like a DUI or reckless driving charge, can drastically affect your rate after an accident. People with multiple violations on their record can expect to see an uptick in their cost.
Insurance Changes: Coverage and Rates
Typically, drivers have to be in a very serious accident to have their coverage altered or dropped completely. Insurance companies want to keep your business, and they won’t want to drop you unless there’s a good reason to.
If you caused a lot of property damage, seriously injured someone, and have a terrible driving record, your insurance may choose to drop you. Barring those circumstances, you shouldn’t see a drastic change in coverage.
A change in rates is another matter entirely.
Sometimes you may notice a slight change in your rate, maybe no more than $10-$20 a month. Othertimes in more serious cases, you can see your rates nearly double a triple.
3 Tips For Managing Rate Changes
Maybe your rate increase is small enough that you barely notice the money. Or the rate change could be so significant that staying covered can lead you down the road to financial ruin.
Remember, these rates often aren’t set in stone. Eventually, you can see your rates drop and get to the levels you had before your accident.
If you’re finding yourself in a tough spot after an accident, remember these tips.
1. Increase Your Deductible
If your premium rates do increase, you can combat some of that by choosing to raise your deductible.
The deductible is the amount you’ll pay after you file a claim and your insurance kicks in to handle the rest. You’ll have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident, but it can give you some temporary relief on your monthly payments.
Before you choose to go down that route, take an open and honest look at your finances. If you don’t think you’ll be able to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand in the event of an accident, you may not want to risk it.
2. Adjust Your Policy
If your rates are too high after an accident, look for ways to adjust your current policy so you can save money.
Do you have an older car that already has some wear and tear? Consider dropping your collision coverage, or get rid of your comprehensive coverage. If you’re due for a new vehicle in a few years the extra cost may not be worth it.
Do you use public transit a lot, or do you drive less than 10,000 miles a year? If you don’t drive often, you may be able to get a discount from your insurance since you don’t use your vehicle as much.
If you’ve been with your provider for years and make timely payments, you could qualify for a discount. Don’t hesitate to hop on a call with an agent to see if there are any discounts or benefits you aren’t taking advantage of.
3. Take a Class
They say that knowledge is power, and taking a class or two can could help you save on auto insurance and put the power back into your hands.
Taking a defensive driving course can be helpful if you were in a collision. If you show that your taking steps to be a safer and more effective driver, you could qualify for a discount.
If you have a DUI and DWI charge, an AA or NA class may be required depending on your charges. Regardless of if it’s required or not, going to a class and showing proof of your attendance could help lower your rates.
Get Additional Help
If you’re still concerned about your car insurance after an accident, there’s nothing like looking into quotes from other companies. You may find a better deal with a different provider.
We’re always here to answer your most pressing questions about insurance. Whether you need a new quote or want to know more about insurance in North Carolina, we’re here to help.
Reach out to us today so we can have a conversation about your insurance needs.