No one plans for a vehicle crash to happen. But it can happen any time without warning and alter your life. Thankfully, auto insurance takes care of immediate issues such as healthcare expenses, damages, and all future ramifications of all individuals involved in the car crash. But how do auto insurance companies assign fault and how does the entire process affect you?
From mere fender-benders to life-threating accidents, every insurer follows a specific system and formulas to assess fault. Therefore, retaining the services of an experienced car accident lawyer in Kent, WA, can help you negotiate a better settlement offer. Here is how an auto accident can impact your auto insurance.
Sure, a crash will impact your vehicle insurance rates
There’re many good reasons to drive carefully. The reality is that low auto insurance rates majorly depend on your ability to drive safely. According to a study done in 2017 by Quadrant Information Services, the average rate increase for a claim worth $2000 was 44%. Therefore, auto accidents affect both your driving record and bank account.
Rates don’t always increase following a crash
Vehicular accidents have a direct impact on one’s vehicle insurance premiums. A driving record is among the top factors that an insurer will consider when setting your insurance rates. Your past accidents, particularly if they were your fault, are considered a fair indicator that the insurer may have to pay out insurance claims on your policy in the future.
However, this doesn’t mean the rates will increase every time you file a claim. Most insurance companies are reasonable when it comes to what would or wouldn’t merit an increase in premiums. For instance, if you have maintained a clean driving record for many years, you are less likely to get penalized by your insurer in case you get involved in a minor collision. Here are some of the issues that could lead to an increase in your insurance rates.
- You are found to be responsible for the collision.
- You have filed a claim twice or more times with your insurance service provider.
- The cost associated with damages is very high (thousands of dollars).
- You reside in a state with no-fault vehicle insurance regulations. That means your insurance service provider must pay for your damages no regardless of who was responsible for the crash.
- You have other claims with other insurance companies with the past three years.
Note that your premium rates may not increase in case the other driver is found to be fully responsible for the crash or it is your first time to be involved in a crash, and your policy includes crash forgiveness. Besides, if you have a long history of safe driving, you got involved in a minor accident, and you have been with your insurance service provider for many years without filing a claim, your premium rates might not increase.
Keep in mind that you should always inform your insurer about every car accident you get involved in. Even if you don’t plan to file a claim, the other driver might choose to sue for damages. Besides, damages could be worse than you think. Therefore, it is in your best interest to notify your insurer about car accidents, no matter how minor.