If you’ve been in a car accident recently, then you might be wondering how your car insurance rates will be affected. Most of the time, your full-coverage car insurance will go up by about 46% after you get in an accident - if you are at fault.

However, this amount can depend on several factors, such as the state you live in, whether an injury was involved (either you or someone else), your age, what kind of car you drive, accident history, and more.

Many insurance companies offer incentives for being accident-free, such as safe-driving programs and accident forgiveness. These can help keep your auto insurance rates from going up after an accident, or at least help keep the rate to a minimum.

One of the best ways to save on car insurance is to compare insurance companies, even after you get into an accident. In this guide, we will discuss how much your car insurance costs increase after an accident, and what you can do about it!

How Much Will My Auto Insurance Rates Increase After An Accident?

person counting bills

The amount your auto insurance rates increase after an accident may vary depending on what state you live in. It also depends on who was at fault. If you get into an accident and you were at fault, then your car insurance rates may go up by 46% - an increase of $1,157 on average.

People who live in Michigan are the most likely to see their rates go up the most. In some cases, car insurance rates in Michigan will double after you get into an accident. Car insurance rates are least likely to go up as much if you live in Kansas, where the average increase is only 8%.

Your rates will increase even more if there was property damage of $2,000 or more involved. According to a four-state study, car insurance rates go up by 56% if you have an accident on your driving record that involves property damage of over $2,000. The study also indicated that rates only went up 47% if the accident involved a bodily injury claim. However, that’s still quite an increase!

Keep in mind that if you are NOT at fault for an accident, then your rates probably will not increase. However, this is not always true. Some insurance companies will increase your rate if you are involved in an accident and you are not at fault. After an accident, your state’s laws greatly influence your insurance rate.

This is why it’s always best to compare insurance rate quotes. A driver who was involved in an accident may be treated differently by each insurance company. If you have an accident on your driving record, then you’ll want to go with the insurance company that treats you the best!

Examples of Accidents That Increase Your Car Insurance Rates

car accident

Some insurance companies have standards when it comes to what qualifies as an accident. Most of the time, insurance companies will want to know who was at fault for the accident. Car insurance rates are calculated so that your insurance company knows how much they need to pay if you or your car, the passengers in your car, and others are injured in an accident. They also still want to make money from the services they provide.

Insurance companies know that they will lose money anytime they have to repair or replace your car. This means that they will charge you more money than what a particular accident is worth. For this reason, insurance companies will monitor your driving record to determine how likely you are to become involved in an accident, and they will adjust your premium based on how often you are involved in an accident.

The good news is that most insurance companies know that not all accidents are avoidable. Also, some are more severe than others and you should not be penalized for accidents that are not your fault. Each insurance company will adjust its rates differently. However, in general, insurance companies treat accidents similarly and they will adjust their prices based on the type of accident you have been in. Here are some common examples of accidents that could raise your rates.


     1. Single car accident

A single-car accident refers to an accident that involves just one vehicle. This might occur if you crash your car but don’t hit another vehicle. For example, if you hit a tree or drive off the road, then you are involved in a single-car crash.

Single car accidents don’t usually increase your auto rates too much because your provider does not have to pay for damage to another car. However, single car crashes can still increase your rates because the insurance company may think you are being an irresponsible driver. You may have to pay even more if you were injured in the accident.


     2. Minor multiple car accident

If you were involved in a car crash that was your fault, then it won’t be easy to get out of a car insurance rate increase. Most people are involved in a few minor car accidents in their lifetimes, such as parking lot collisions and fender benders. But even though these accidents may be small, you may still be penalized if you’re at fault.

Your car insurance premiums should not increase too much as long as the accident was not very serious. If the insurance company does not have to pay too much to repair the other car’s damage, then your rates should not go up much. However, if you have been involved in several multiple car accidents, even if they caused minimal damage, then your rates will probably go up.


     3. Major multiple car accident

If you are involved in an accident with someone else that caused major injuries and you are at fault, then your premium will increase drastically. This is because major accidents with another person require the insurance company to pay a lot of money. It also negatively impacts your driving history for several years.

If you do not have another major accident on your driving record within three to five years, then your rates should go back down to normal. However, there is no way to avoid a price hike if you were involved in an accident that caused serious injuries or damage to another person.


     4. Accidents that were caused by a DUI

The type of accident that will affect your premium the most includes one in which you received a DUI. In fact, your rates will increase if you get a DUI even if you were not involved in an accident. If you get involved in a car crash due to a DUI, then your car insurance rates will skyrocket.

This is because driving while under the influence is dangerous to you and everyone else on the road. You may even have a hard time finding a company to give you car insurance if you have numerous car crashes on your record that were due to a DUI.


     5. No-fault accident

A no-fault accident is one in which you are involved in an accident but did not cause it. Insurance companies know that even if you do everything right, you may still become involved in a no-fault accident. Most of the time, your car insurance rates will not increase if you were involved in a no-fault accident.

However, there are several states with no-fault car insurance, meaning that they do not assign fault for accidents and your rates will still go up despite not being at fault. States with no-fault insurance include:

If you live in one of these states, then your insurance rates will still probably go up even if you were not responsible for causing the accident.


     6. Hit and run accident

A hit and run accident occurs when you get in an accident with someone else and they leave the scene. Most of the time, someone else will hit you and then take off.

If this occurs, then you will not be held responsible for the accident and your rates will not go up in most cases. However, you will need to prove that someone else hit you and took off.

Car Insurance Rates After An Accident - By State

The following is a breakdown of how much your car insurance rates may go up after an accident by state. Keep in mind that these rates may vary by year, among other factors. Always consult your auto insurance company for exact rates and details.


Yearly Insurance Rate

Post-Accident Rate

% Difference





New Jersey
















North Carolina








































New Hampshire
















South Carolina
















































New York




West Virginia




































North Dakota




Rhode Island












South Dakota




New Mexico
















What Insurance Companies Offer the Best Auto Rates After An Accident?

In addition to varying by state, your car insurance rates after an accident will depend on what insurance company you have. Some insurers are more forgiving than others. If you have been in an accident and your current insurance company has doubled your rates, then it might be a good idea to shop around. Not all insurance companies will double your rate.

Many car insurance companies offer some type of accident forgiveness. These policies usually mean that your insurance company will ignore or “forgive” your first auto accident and keep your rates the same. You may have to pay more for accident forgiveness or add this feature to your policy. But it’s worth it, especially if you have been in an accident before or you live in a state that is not very forgiving otherwise.

Some companies will automatically add accident forgiveness to your plan after so many years of clean driving, such as five or more years without an accident. State Farm is an example of an auto insurance company that will add on accident forgiveness after nine years of no accidents on your driving record.

State Farm also has the lowest rate increases across five of the largest insurers at just 24% after an accident that led to a bodily injury claim. Geico, Allstate, and Progressive went up at least 50% for full-time auto insurance coverage on average after an accident that caused an injury.

Some insurance companies have different standards when it comes to what constitutes an accident. This can affect how they raise your rates (or don’t) after an accident. For example, State Farm requires a claim to be more than $750 in the form of collision and liability coverage to be considered an accident. Also, the driver needs to be at least 50% at fault for it to be considered an accident. Geico has similar requirements with a $500 coverage limit.

This is important because not all insurers will raise your rates as high if there are special circumstances involving your case. Accidents can happen anytime, and you should not be penalized if the accident was not your fault. In some cases, you may have to prove that the accident was not your fault, but it’s worth it to preserve your low auto insurance rates (if you have them).

Here is a breakdown of the best auto insurance companies if you have been in an accident:


Yearly Rate

Post-Accident Rate

% Increase

State Farm




















How Many Years Does An Auto Accident Stay On My Record?

If you got into an accident years ago, then it shouldn’t affect your current auto insurance rates too much. However, if the accident was recent, then your rates will likely go up immediately. Most of the time, your auto insurance rates will return to normal between three and five years after an accident. This allows enough time for the accident to be cleared from your record. Some companies will want to know that you have taken steps to become a safer driver since the accident, such as taking a safe driving course.

In most cases, your rates will increase by about 60% the next time your policy renews if you have been in a car accident within the past six months. This price hike will gradually decrease over time. The average auto insurance rate increase after an accident is about 47% higher than it was two years before an accident and only about 2.4% higher after four years. By about five years after your accident, your rates should return to normal again.

Auto insurance companies believe that drivers who are responsible for an accident and made a liability claim on their policy are more likely to make another one. This is why auto insurance companies tend to charge more if you have been in an accident. The good news is that the longer ago your accident was, the less likely your insurance rates will be affected.

Exceptions To The Rule: When An Accident Doesn’t Increase Your Insurance Rates

Most of the time, your insurance rates will go up after an accident. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that you should be aware of. For example, most insurance companies will not raise your rates as much if you are not at fault. However, defining what isn’t considered an accident can be complicated. If you were at least 50% at fault for the accident, then you may not have to pay more for car insurance.

However, if you are a new policyholder, then your insurance company may still decide to increase your rates even if you are only half responsible. The problem is that it can be hard for a driver to prove that they were not responsible for an accident.

State Farm states that a driver is not responsible for an accident if the following occurred:

Keep in mind that insurance companies will look at the last three years of your driving record before your policy start date when determining your auto insurance rates. This means that if you were involved in an accident five years ago, it should not affect a new policy. However, this may only be relevant if you have been with an auto company for several years and you are enrolled in an accident forgiveness plan.

How Does a No-Fault Accident Affect Your Insurance?

Most of the time, drivers will see their insurance rates increase by 12% after a no-fault accident. However, this amount depends on the insurance company and state. For example, Oklahoma and California prevent insurance companies from raising care insurance rates if a driver gets into an accident and it was not their fault. As of 2017 - the most recent year that this data was available - State Farm does not raise their auto traits at all if you were in a not-at-fault accident.

Keep in mind that sometimes your insurance company may still have to pay for an accident that you did not cause. If you live in a no-fault state and your insurer has to pay for your medical expenses, they will probably raise your rates no matter who was at fault for the accident. Also, if you are hit by someone who is uninsured, your insurance company might not pay for the damages. This depends on your policy and what type of coverage you have. Your insurance company will take these factors into consideration when calculating your premium after an accident.

How Do I Prevent My Insurance Rates From Going Up After An Accident?

woman holding credit card while at computer

There may be some ways you can prevent your insurance from going up after an accident, even if you are at fault for the accident and cannot get accident forgiveness. This is because your auto insurance rates are calculated based on a wide variety of factors, and there are several things you can do to keep your car insurance premiums from going up.

You may also want to shop around to determine how different insurance companies calculate their premium. Make sure that no two quotes from different providers are the same. It also may help you to alter your policy. A good rule of thumb is to buy as much car insurance as you can afford. However, if there is a no-fault accident on your record and it’s preventing you from finding insurance that you can afford, then consider decreasing the amount of coverage on your policy. You may also increase the deductible to get a lower premium.

Some insurance companies may ask you to take a defensive driving course after an accident. This can be a good way to keep your rates down. Safe driver courses can lower your rates AND help prevent getting into an at-fault accident in the future. If you got a ticket or points on your license after an accident, you might be able to remove them by taking a safe driving course. In any case, practicing safe driving habits is always a good way to prevent your car insurance from going up - even if you aren’t being compensated or acknowledged for it by the insurer.

Can I Switch Car Insurance Companies After An Accident?

Yes, you can switch your car insurance after you have been in an accident. In fact, you can switch car insurance companies anytime you want, regardless if you have an accident on your record. You do not have to wait until your policy is up for renewal to switch, and you can also change insurance companies if you have an open claim.

There is no penalty for changing your car insurance company after an accident. However, you may have to pay cancellation fees from your current insurance company if you need to cancel your policy early. You are also less likely to save money by switching car companies right after an accident as your rate will include your latest accident. Keep in mind that although you can switch car insurance companies after an accident, you can’t escape having an accident on your record.

Also, keep in mind that if you are responsible for causing the accident, the insurance company that you had at the time of the accident will still have to handle your claim even if you cancel your coverage and change insurers. You cannot switch your insurance companies and expect to have the new company handle your claim. You may want to wait until your current insurance company handles your claim before switching companies.

If you switch car insurance companies on the day of your accident, it might be viewed as suspicious by potential insurers. For this reason, you may want to wait until the claim processes before switching. It may also be a good idea to wait until the insurance company settles your claim so you don’t have to deal with two insurance companies at once.

Also, remember that if you switch insurance providers, you will want to make sure you have a new policy in place before canceling your old policy. It’s always better to overlap your policies at least for a day or two to ensure you don’t have a gap in coverage. Gaps in your coverage will be viewed negatively by many insurance companies because they will assume you are an unsafe driver. It’s also against the law to drive without insurance coverage. If you are caught driving without insurance, it may result in a ticket and points on your license - and this can increase insurance rates.

Do I Need Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness can help keep your rates from going up after an accident. However, this is not always guaranteed. There are some instances in which your rates will still increase after an accident even if you have accident forgiveness, which makes it hard for some drivers to know whether accident forgiveness is worth the money.

Accident forgiveness is a feature that you can have added to your car insurance policy. It’s designed to help prevent insurance companies from raising your rates if you have been in an accident. Some insurance companies include accident forgiveness in your policy while others will make you pay extra for it. Some insurance companies may offer a combination package if you go with one that offers accident forgiveness. If your insurance coverage includes accident forgiveness at no cost, then there is no risk here. However, if you have to pay extra for it, you may want to consider the pros and cons before forking over the extra money.

Keep in mind that not every car insurance company offers accident forgiveness. There are also some states that prevent insurance companies from selling it - such as California. So, accident forgiveness might not even be an option for you, depending on your state’s laws. Also, keep in mind that there are limitations to every accident forgiveness policy. Most of the time, accident forgiveness coverage only applies to one accident per policy and not per driver on the policy. This means that if you share coverage with someone, accident forgiveness only applies to one of you (usually the policyholder), and you are only allowed one accident while your policy is active.

For example, Farmers Insurance forgives one at-fault accident for every three years that you go without an accident. Also, keep in mind that your accident will stay on your record even if you have accident forgiveness. So, while the insurance company might forgive you this one time and keep your rates the same, your accident will still show up on your driving record for three to five years. This means that other insurance companies can see this accident on your driving record if you decide to switch companies, which can affect your rate and ability to get accident forgiveness in the future from other insurers.

What Are Chargeable Accidents?

driver holding cell phone

A chargeable accident refers to an accident that you are responsible for. It’s also known as an “at-fault” accident. Chargeable accidents are determined by the insurance company. They will investigate the accident and determine who is responsible. If they find that the accident is more than 50% your fault, then it may be a chargeable accident.

Chargeable accidents may also include damage to another person’s property, bodily injury, or death. Some chargeable accidents are as simple as a fender bender, but they can also be as serious as totaling someone else’s car. When an insurance company determines that an accident is chargeable, it will increase your premium. Some states define a chargeable accident by a dollar amount or how much money in damage the accident caused.

For example, Massachusetts state laws indicate that you may have to pay a surcharge if the accident that you were involved in results in a claim payment of over $1,000 worth of damage to someone else’s property or a collision or bodily injuries to someone else. This includes accidents in which the driver is more than 50% responsible and they are driving a private passenger vehicle. Other states - including Minnesota - claim that an accident is chargeable if the insured driver has to pay more than $500 in body injury liability or in collision or property damage.

The bad news is that a chargeable account may stay on your driving record for a while. This means that you can expect to pay more money for your car insurance, no matter who you choose to insure you. Some insurance companies may gradually decrease your fees every year that you go accident-free. Most states will gradually lower your surcharge over three years until it’s completely gone as long as you don’t get into another accident.

Keep in mind that not all car accidents will increase your insurance. This includes accidents that could not have been prevented on your behalf. The following is a list of examples of situations that aren’t considered chargeable accidents:

Accident Forgiveness Rules, According To Insurance Companies

If you are thinking about getting accident forgiveness, keep in mind that not every insurance company offers it. Additionally, not everyone qualifies for it and some accidents are not eligible for forgiveness. For example, Farmers has a policy that states that you cannot qualify for accident forgiveness if you have any drivers in your household under age 21 who have less than three years of driving experience. Before you ask your insurer about accident forgiveness, remember that you need a clean driving record.

Most insurance companies will not give you accident forgiveness if you have an accident on your driving record within the past five years. For example, if you want to qualify for the Farmers Flex add-on from Farmers Insurance, then all drivers over the age of 25 on the policy must be clear from all chargeable or at-fault accidents. They must also have no DUIs and no more than one minor citation or speeding ticket. Drivers under 25 cannot have any traffic citations or tickets whatsoever and must have a completely clean record.

Also, keep in mind that accident forgiveness does not mean you are safe from all rate increases in the future. Most policies only allow you one accident even if there are several drivers on the policy. If you have your spouse and children under 25 on your policy, and one of your children gets into a chargeable accident, then accident forgiveness will not apply to the rest of you on the policy.

Best Accident Forgiveness Alternatives

If accident forgiveness is not an option for you or you are not convinced that you need it, then you can look at some alternatives. There are other ways to save money on your auto insurance policy or protect yourself in case you are in an accident.

For example, you can ask for a good driver’s discount, which is similar to an accident forgiveness policy. A good driver’s discount can help you get a discount if you have a clean driving record for an extended period of time. Geico offers a good driver discount if you have been accident-free for five years. You can even get up to 26% off most coverage types.

If you have a clean driving record, you can ask for a vanishing deductible, which is an optional feature that allows safe drivers to reduce their deductible amount for any claims filed - as long as you continue to drive safely. For example, if you buy the Premier Responsible Driver Plan from Travelers insurance, you can get a decreasing deductible. This policy gives you a $50 credit toward your deductible every six months you are accident-free - capped at $500.

You can also ask your car insurance company what other discounts you may qualify for if accident forgiveness is not an option. Some companies will reward you for being a long-time policyholder, even if you do not have a perfect driving record. It never hurts to ask!

What Insurance Companies Offer Accident Forgiveness?

It should be noted that each insurance company may offer different terms and conditions for their accident forgiveness insurance. Check out some of these examples below.

  1. Geico - Geico offers free accident forgiveness to policyholders who have maintained a clean driving record. To qualify for free accident forgiveness, you must have a clean driving record for five years. Drivers under 21 may not qualify. You can also buy add-on accident forgiveness coverage as an upgrade to your policy. 
  2. Liberty Mutual - Liberty Mutual offers accident forgiveness as an add-on feature that you can purchase. You must have no accidents on your driving record for the past three years and no traffic violations for the past five years to qualify. Drivers under 25 must have a clean driving record for five years before they can get it.
  3. Progressive - Progressive allows policyholders to receive small accident forgiveness and large accident forgiveness through their loyalty rewards program. With small accident forgiveness coverage, your rate will not go up for claims that cost less than $500. Large accident forgiveness states that you can get forgiveness for more costly accidents as long as you have been a Progressive customer for five years and have been accident-free for three years in a row.
  4. Travelers - Travelers has a Responsible Driver Plan that provides accident forgiveness and forgiveness for minor violations. This plan forgives one accident and one minor violation every three years without increasing your rates.
  5. Nationwide - Nationwide offers accident forgiveness as an add-on that you can buy. They will forgive your first chargeable or at-fault accident or minor violation.

How Does Fault Impact Car Insurance Claims?

Auto insurance companies will want to know who is at fault for an accident. This is because the driver’s car insurance company will be responsible for paying for any losses and damages. Generally, an insurance adjuster will determine who is at fault for an accident. They will look at the statements of each driver as well as any witnesses and police reports to determine who is responsible for the accident. They will also gather as much evidence as they can.

Keep in mind that sometimes fault is shared. If the insurance adjuster finds that you have contributed to the accident - even if it’s only in a small way - then this might reduce the amount of money you can collect from the other driver’s insurance company. However, if you are at fault and the other driver sues you for a personal injury case, then your insurance company will represent you in court to help you get a fair settlement.

If the other driver is at fault, then you will have to deal with that person’s insurance company. You may be able to get help from your insurance company, but ultimately, you will have to get coverage under the other driver’s policy if they are responsible for the accident and there is no shared fault. If the other driver is at fault and is hesitant to pay for your medical bills or not cooperating, then you might want to get legal representation to make sure your case settles.

What Should I Do If Someone Hit My Parked Car?

car with smashed windshield

If someone hits your parked car, file an accident report with your local police department - even if an officer can’t come to the scene of the accident. You don’t always need to file a police report if you are not going to file a claim with your insurance company, but it makes the process easier. It may also come in handy if your car has more damage to it then you originally thought.

Insurance companies are also much more likely to pay for damages if there is a police report filed. If the person who hit you left a note, then their insurance company should pay for these damages with their property damage liability insurance. However, if the accident was a hit-and-run, then you and your insurance company will have to foot the bill.

Here is what to do after someone hits your parked car:


     1. Document everything you can about the scene of the accident

As soon as you realize your parked car has been hit, take pictures of your car and its surroundings. Make sure to take pictures of all damaged areas of the car - both inside and out. Also, take pictures of the note left by the other person, if there is one. Document the view of the doorway, your vehicle’s position, and any skid marks or other wreckage around the area.

Also, try to get information from witnesses if you can. Check to see if anyone saw your car get hit. If so, write down their information and anything they can tell you about the accident, such as their name, contact information, and statement. Be sure to write down the date, time, location, weather, and anything else you can think of that the insurance will ask you or need to see.


     2. File a police report

After you realize your car has been hit, call the police and file a report. They may send an officer to the scene of the accident or you may have to go into the police station to file one in person. You may also be able to do this online or give your information over the phone. Just make sure you have a police report filed as the insurance company will want to see it.


     3. File a claim with your insurance company

If someone hit you and left the scene, then your insurance company will be responsible for paying for the damage. This is why it’s so important to document everything and cover all of your bases. Insurance companies like a lot of information and written documents. They can help you begin the process of filing a claim for your accident.

Your insurance company can also help you file a claim with someone else’s insurance company if they left a note. If you are left to pay the bill on your own, then your insurance company will use your own collision coverage or uninsured motorist protection coverage - if you have them.

Should I File A Claim For Bumper Damage?

You should file a claim with your insurance company for bumper damage if the cost of the damage is more than your deductible - or if another person was at fault. If your bumper damage is less than your deductible and you were at fault, then you might want to pay for the repairs out of pocket without filing a claim.

This is because filing a claim may cause your car insurance rates to increase in the future. On average, one claim - even one for bumper damage - may increase your rates by 12% to 45%, depending on how extensive the damage is and how much your insurance company has to pay.

If you hit a curb and only have minor damage, then it might not be worth it for you to file a claim as long as the cost is only a little bit more than your deductible. Also, some insurance companies will not allow you to file a claim at all if the cost of repairs is less than your deductible.

You can also use your collision coverage to pay for the bumper damage if you were at fault. Comprehensive coverage can be used if the damage was caused by someone else or it was out of your control (such as during a weather-related event). However, if the bumper damage was caused by another driver, then you should file a claim with their property damage liability coverage. This will ensure that you won’t have to pay a deductible and your rates will not increase.


Q: How much do insurance rates go up after an accident?

A: The amount that your car insurance rates will increase depends on several factors, including your accident history, what state you live in, and your auto insurer’s policies. However, research shows that on average your rates will increase by about 46% after an accident that involves a bodily injury claim. If your accident involved extensive property damage of $2,000 or more, then your rates may increase even more than this. Michigan is notoriously known as having one of the steepest price increases after an accident while Kansas tends to be the most forgiving.

Q: Can I still get auto insurance after an accident?

A: You might be wondering if you can still get auto insurance after an accident. The short answer is - yes, you can still get auto insurance after you have been in an accident. However, expect to pay more unless your auto insurer offers accident forgiveness. If you have been a policyholder with your auto insurance company for many years, then they may not raise your rates as much, especially if you have a clean record otherwise. The best thing to do is shop around and find a company with the best rates, even after an accident.

Q: Will my insurance go up after I file a claim? Should I file a claim if I have been in an accident?

A: If you are worried that your insurance rates will increase after you file a claim, you are not alone. This is a valid concern as many insurance rates will increase after you file a claim. However, if your claim is below or just above your deductible, then it might be best to pay out of pocket to avoid increases in auto insurance rates or other surcharges. Most policies will require that you report all accidents to your insurance company. Your rates may increase based on your driving record and the severity of the accident.

Q: How long will an accident affect my insurance rates?

A: Insurance companies will focus on the past three to five years of your driving record when determining how much to charge you. If an accident is on your record for at least that long, then expect your rates to be affected. However, some insurance companies will also factor in an accident for more than this if you were at fault and the accident caused severe injuries or death.

The best thing to do is ask your insurance company about their accident policies before signing with them so that you know exactly what will happen before an accident. You can also ask your insurance company about actions you can take to show that safe driving is a priority to you, such as taking a safe driver's course. This will usually help keep your rates down.

Q: Will my insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident?

A: If you are involved in an accident that someone else was responsible for, then your rates will probably not increase. However, there are exceptions to this rule and you may need to show proof that you were not responsible in any way. Some companies will also raise your rates even if you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Be sure to know where your insurance company stands on this.

Q: Who should I file a claim with - my auto insurance or the other party’s?

A: It’s a good idea to file a claim with the other party’s car insurance company IF you are not at fault for the accident. You can also file with the other party’s insurer if you have standard liability coverage but no collision coverage. This is because liability insurance covers you for injuries and damage to other people and property if you are at fault in an accident, meaning that liability won’t apply if you are not at fault. In this case, the other driver’s policy would cover the damage.

There are a few drawbacks when it comes to filing a claim on someone else’s insurance policy. For example, the other driver’s insurance company will investigate your claim and make sure that their policyholder is responsible for the accident. Many insurers will try to deny your claim and state that their driver is not at fault. This is especially true if you did not file a police report after the accident.

If the opposing insurance company denies your claim and you do not have collision coverage, then you will have to take them to court. This can be a pain as court tends to be tedious and drags on for a long time. Insurance companies know that the longer it takes and the more difficult they make it to get the money you deserve, the more likely you will be willing to settle or drop the claim altogether.

car accident lawyer

However, if you have collision insurance, you can file a claim with your car insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. When you file a claim with your insurance company, your insurer will begin a process known as subrogation. This occurs when your insurance company pays for your damage and then tries to gain compensation from the other driver’s insurance company afterward. You will likely have to pay your collision deductible, but you can get this money back after your insurance company settles with the opposing insurance company.

Keep in mind that collision insurance does not cover you if you get hurt. However, if your insurance company establishes that the other driver is at fault through the subrogation process, then it might help you get payment for your medical bills. In this case, the other driver’s insurance company would pay for your medical expenses. If the other driver involved in the crash is found to be responsible for the accident, then they will also have to cover your injuries. Your insurance company only pays for bills if you have medical coverage or personal injury protection.

If the other driver does not have insurance, then you can file a claim through uninsured motorist protection - if you have this type of coverage. There is no deductible for this.

Q: Can the insurance company cancel my insurance after an accident?

A: Yes, your auto insurance company can cancel your car insurance after an accident. However, most insurers will not cancel your coverage unless you have been in numerous accidents or the accident was caused by a DUI or another serious violation. If your insurance company decides to cancel your insurance coverage, then they will usually wait until your policy expires and then they will choose not to renew your policy.

Keep in mind that if your license becomes revoked or suspended due to the accident, then some states (like Texas and California) will allow your insurance company to drop you in the middle of your policy. The good news is that if your insurance company decides not to renew your policy, they are legally required to give you a 30-day notice. This allows you to find other options in a reasonable amount of time.

Although it’s not common for an insurance company to cancel a policy before it expires, many states allow insurance companies to cancel a new policy within 60 days for whatever reason. So, if you get into an accident immediately after opening a new policy with a company, then they may try to cancel your coverage. After this 60 day period, your insurance company will need to give you anywhere from a 10 day to a 100-day notice before canceling your policy - depending on the state you live in. This will give you plenty of time to find a new policy elsewhere. It’s not a good idea to drop one insurance policy before you pick up another. Insurance companies do not like to see any gaps in coverage, and it’s always better to have overlapping policies than no coverage at all as you will be seen as high risk.

In the event that your insurance company decides to drop you after an accident, you will need to find an insurance company to sell you a high-risk policy. You can get one of these from most of the major insurance companies. However, it’s a good idea to consider getting a quote from non-standard insurance companies that specialize in insuring drivers who are high risk. If you still cannot find coverage after being dropped, then you might need to enter your state’s assigned risk pool temporarily while you improve your driving record and regain coverage.

Q: Should I get accident forgiveness?

A: Before getting accident forgiveness, you will want to consider the cost. If your insurance company does not offer free accident forgiveness, then make sure that the cost of coverage does not exceed the cost of a premium increase. For example, if your insurance plan offers accident forgiveness for $150 per year and you have a clean driving record for ten years, then you are spending $1,500 for coverage that you don’t need.

Also, if you don’t drive much, then you might not need it. Keep in mind that there might be situations in which you are not eligible for accident forgiveness, such as if your state does not allow it. You might also not qualify if you are under the age of 25 or if you have been in an accident recently (within the past five years), even if you are trying to change insurance companies strictly for the added benefit of obtaining accident forgiveness.

On the other hand, if you have a high-risk driver on your policy, then accident forgiveness might be worth the cost. You might also want to consider adding it to your policy if you drive a lot and the chances of getting in an accident are elevated simply because you’re on the road more than most, despite being a good driver. Always shop around for the best price and best policy coverage if you’re unsure about whether or not it’s worth it to get accident forgiveness.

Q: What insurance should I use if someone hits my parked car?

A: If someone hits your parked car, then you can use your collision insurance coverage or uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to pay for it. Either of these options will come with a deductible, which is something you will have to pay for out of pocket to have your car fixed. You may also have to deal with policy limits. So, expect to pay out of pocket anything that isn’t covered by your plan, including damage that exceeds your limits. Also, keep in mind that uninsured motorist property damage coverage is not always available in every state. And IF it’s available in your state, you might not be able to use it if the at-fault driver cannot be properly identified (such as during a hit-and-run).

Q: Can I still get insurance on a car that has been in an accident?

A: It will be hard to get one of the more prominent insurance companies to provide you physical damage coverage on a car that already has damage on it. You might be able to find coverage from a smaller insurance company. A non-standard insurance carrier appeals to high-risk drivers. They tend to offer specialized rates for drivers who have been in an accident or have a damaged car.

If you try to get coverage for a car that has been in an accident before, be sure to disclose the damage done. Don’t try to hide that the car has been in an accident. This could lead to the insurance company investigating you for insurance fraud. It’s not worth the trouble or risk.

Most insurance companies will want to document the damage. They will have you fill out a form describing the damage, or they will send out an agent to do this for them. The agent will want to see the car and take pictures of the damage to document what’s wrong with the car upfront. This ensures that - if you file a claim - they will have all of the pre-existing damage on file, meaning that you can’t try to claim that it was damaged after you insured it. Remember that pre-existing damages are not covered by your new policy.

If you manage to find an insurance company that will insure your car after it has been in an accident, opt out of the extra services. You probably won’t need roadside assistance, low deductibles, or rental car coverage. You will likely need to save your money and pay for the pre-existing damage before an insurance company will insure your damaged car.

Q: What happens if I file a claim without reporting prior damage?

A: Don’t panic if you file a claim without reporting prior damage - as long as it’s minor. It’s not uncommon for a driver to file a claim for an extensive amount of damage while there is still some small work that needs to be done on your car that was never taken care of. Insurance adjusters will likely be able to tell the difference between the pre-existing damage and the damage you are currently claiming. They have seen it all!

The important thing to remember is that you need to be honest and let your current insurance company know about prior car damage. The more details you disclose, the better. Don’t try to hide anything and write it off in your current claim because this can lead to insurance fraud. If you are convicted of insurance fraud, then you will have a very hard time finding another company to insure you in the future. If your new damage occurs on top of the damage that already exists on the car, then the insurance adjuster might allow all repairs to be made under one claim. As long as you are honest with your adjuster, you will not be accused of insurance fraud.

Most of the time, your insurance company will handle prior damage in one of two ways. First, they will either file multiple claims to cover both the pre-existing damage as well as the current damage. This means that you will likely have to pay two deductibles, but all charges and repairs can be made at once - as long as you have the proper coverage on your policy at the time of the accident. The second option is that they will ignore the pre-existing damage. Your insurance adjuster might tell the repair shop to only fix the new damage on your car. If this happens, you will only have to pay the deductible on the new damage and the repairs would only be made for your current accident.

Keep in mind that car insurance can be tailored to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to tell your insurance company what you need. They might work with you. The last thing you want to do is lie about your car damage when filing a claim because this could result in legal trouble for you.

Q: How much will my insurance go up after a fender bender?

A: Most of the time, a minor fender bender will make your insurance go up - depending on whether or not you were at fault. Even small fender benders are surcharged the same whether they cost $200 or $2,000. For example, if your yearly premium is $1,500 and you are charged 25% in addition to a rating tier change of 10%, then your premium will increase by about $562.50 to $2,065.50. This rate will likely stay with you for about three to five years. Either way, you will have to pay out of pocket for a fender bender.

Q: Do I need to contact my car insurance company after a minor accident?

Many people are scared that their car insurance rates will go up after an accident, so they won’t contact their insurer if they have been in a small accident. While you might think that not contacting your insurance company after a small accident will save you money, it’s always best to let them know anytime you have been in an accident that involves another driver. It’s especially important to contact your insurance company if you have been in an accident that resulted in injuries or property damage. The only time you might want to consider not contacting your insurance company is if you only damaged your own car, the property damage is minimal, and there are no other injuries.

There are two primary reasons why you should always contact your insurance company, even if you were in a minor accident. First, even if the accident seems small at the time, you might decide later that you need to file a claim. Keep in mind that injuries like whiplash or back injuries can have delayed symptoms. Even if you feel fine at the time, these injuries can worsen over time, resulting in the need for a claim. You may also have a dent or a scratch on your car that doesn’t bother you at first, but then you might change your mind once you find out the impact on your car’s value.

Also, keep in mind that a handshake agreement at the scene of the accident may not prevent the other driver from filing a claim against you. By filing a claim first, it ensures that your insurance company will help defend you - either against the other driver’s insurance company or in court. If you do not report the accident right away, your insurance company may deny any claims that you file later on. They may also choose not to represent you in a lawsuit or court, meaning that you will have to pay out of pocket for damages, legal representation, or both. Reporting all accidents to your insurance company also makes sure your insurer will be able to properly investigate your claim so that they do not have to delay the claim, which could result in them refusing to cover you if you go to court or need repairs.   

Q: Is sliding on ice considered an at-fault accident?

A: If you were involved in an accident that was caused by unstable road conditions, such as ice, it can be hard to know whether you are considered at fault. Many drivers find that they are driving cautiously and carefully, and still cannot maintain control of their cars. An accident that involves sliding on ice may cause a lot of damage, including bodily injury, damage to your car or someone else’s car, and property damage. Unfortunately, if you slide on ice and hit another car or object, it is considered an at fault claim - even if you were not ticketed if a police officer came to the scene of the accident. This is because the insurance company looks at it like this - someone is at fault, and it can’t be the ice’s fault. Therefore, if you slip on the ice and hit someone else, you will be held responsible by the insurance company.

Q: What does 50/50 mean in a car accident?

A: When an auto insurance company investigates a claim against one of its policyholders, they are hoping to find a way to determine that at least half of the blame is due to the other driver’s negligence. It’s common for at least half of the fault to be deflected onto the other driver involved in the accident. A 50/50 car insurance claim refers to what happens when an insurance company determines that fault is shared between each of the two drivers involved in the accident.

Even if you only made a small mistake in the accident, the insurance company may still determine that you are 50 percent at fault, especially if the accident could have been prevented if that mistake had not been made. If the accident is determined to be 50/50 at fault, and both parties agree, then it is referred to as a split liability agreement. This means that any property or damage costs will be shared equally between parties and that the person injured will only be able to collect half of the value of their claim. Common types of 50/50 accidents include when a driver hits someone else while making an illegal turn, a car crash that occurs when both drivers do not stop at a four-way stop, and when one driver is speeding and gets hits by a driver who changes lanes unexpectedly.

Being injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber can be not only physically painful and emotionally traumatic, but also extraordinarily confusing. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident due to the fault of another party, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses, such as your medical care and your pain and suffering. However, if you’re a ridesharing accident victim, the path to recovering damages for your losses can seem impossible to navigate. 


Legally speaking, ridesharing accidents are among the most complex types of vehicle accidents. Ridesharing services are governed by new laws and regulations that are often in flux and may vary widely depending on your location. Additionally, ridesharing accidents involve more parties than other accidents and each party will have its own insurance policy with its own unique coverage. All in all, this can make understanding liability (fault) and recovering damages in a ridesharing accident extremely challenging. 


Though pursuing compensation in an Uber accident can be confusing, a ridesharing accident victim can pursue damages when another party is liable for their injuries. Depending on the unique circumstances of a victim’s accident, the liable party could be the ridesharing driver, the ridesharing company, another driver, or some combination of these parties and entities. 


To win a ridesharing accident case, you need to prove two things: liability and damages. Below, we’ll go over common liability situations in ridesharing accidents and the damages that may be available in an Uber passenger accident case. Then, we’ll also go over what to do immediately after being injured while riding as a passenger in an Uber vehicle. 


Liability in an Uber Accident 

man driving car and holding phone

Liability in an Uber accident often has a dramatic impact on how much compensation a victim can recover from an insurance company. You may have heard that Uber has $1 million dollar liability insurance coverage. While this is true, this liability coverage only applies in certain circumstances. Uber has a three-part insurance plan, with different coverage rules for different situations. 


Situation 1: An Uber driver gets into an accident while not working for Uber. 


If an Uber driver gets into an accident while they’re driving their vehicle for personal reasons, but not working for Uber, the driver’s own insurance coverage applies. 


Situation 2: An Uber driver gets into an accident while driving an Uber passenger. 


If an Uber driver gets into an accident while driving a passenger, the Uber passenger is covered by Uber’s third-party liability insurance. In California, Uber is required to carry $1 million dollars in insurance coverage to pay out their ridesharing passengers. This applies when an Uber driver caused the accident and can also sometimes apply if another motorist was at fault. If an at-fault outside party is uninsured or underinsured, Uber’s insurance coverage can apply to the injured Uber passenger. 


Situation 3: An Uber driver gets into an accident while they’re available to pick up a passenger, but are not carrying a passenger. 


If an Uber driver gets into an accident while they’re logged into their Uber app and they are available to pick up a passenger but are not carrying a passenger, the accident will be primarily covered by the driver’s personal auto insurance policy. However, Uber does provide additional contingent liability coverage on top of the driver’s insurance. Uber’s additional contingent liability coverage includes up to $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. Rideshare company accident victims should be aware that this additional coverage must be requested in order to apply to an Uber accident claim. 


Damages in an Uber Car Accident Case 

money and calculator

The damages available in an Uber car accident case are the same as the damages available in other auto accident cases. A victim in a car accident case can recover compensation for a wide range of losses related to their injuries, including: 



What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in an Uber Accident


Attend to Your Health 

ambulance in New York

The first thing you should do after being in an Uber accident is assess whether you or another involved party needs emergency medical care. If you or another person is seriously injured, call 911. If you don’t think you need to call an ambulance, note that you should still seek medical attention after being in an accident since many serious accident injuries aren’t apparent right away. Even if you feel alright after being in a car accident, a medical professional may notice something you didn’t. Treating injuries early is crucial for your overall health and well-being. Medical records can also be important documentation in a personal injury claim, so they can be extremely helpful if you need to pursue damages for your losses. 


Gather Information From People at the Scene


After taking care of your health, you (or a trusted loved one) should gather important information from the accident scene. Get the names and contact information of everyone at the accident scene, including your rideshare driver, other involved drivers, and witnesses. Make sure to also write down the license plates and insurance information of the involved vehicles and drivers. 


Document the Scene


Next, write down all the details of the accident, including everything that happened leading up to the time of the accident and during the accident. Take photos of the accident scene and damages caused by the accident, including your injuries. 


Contact the Police 

top of police car

In some cases, the police will arrive at an accident scene without you needing to call them. If that’s not the case for your accident, make sure you call the police and have them come to the scene of the accident to fill out a Traffic Collision Report. A police report that documents an accident scene can be invaluable evidence in a personal injury case. 


Contact Your Insurance Company 


Call your insurer as soon as you can to notify them of the car accident. If any insurance adjusters or rideshare service representatives call you, do not talk to them about the details of your accident or injuries if you will be hiring an attorney, since any comment you make could potentially be used against you. For similar reasons, do not post about your accident or injuries on social media. If you’ve hired or will be hiring a personal injury attorney, you can simply tell insurance claim adjusters who contact you that your attorney will reach out to them.


Contact a Personal Injury Attorney 

people shaking hands

If you’ve been seriously injured in an Uber accident, consider reaching out to a car accident attorney. A personal injury attorney who understands the complexity of your local ridesharing regulations and car injury cases can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf in order to make sure you’re fairly compensated for your losses. 


Get a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Uber Accident Attorney 


If you’ve been injured in an Uber Accident or a Lyft accident, contact LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our team of personal injury lawyers has an expert understanding of California’s personal injury laws and rideshare accident regulations. The personal injury lawyers at LA Lawyers Group have helped injury victims recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and more. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims across California and will fight to maximize damages for our clients. 


Call LA Lawyers Group at (213) LAWYERS now to receive your free consultation with our personal injury law firm.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, how long will it take for you to receive a settlement? Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. How long it takes to settle a car accident injury case can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your case. Some cases settle quite quickly, while others drag on-- or even need to go to trial.

While we can’t give a definitive answer regarding how long a car accident settlement takes, we can go over all the factors that affect auto accident settlement timelines. So, below, we’re discussing how each step of the car accident claims process can impact your settlement timeline. Then, we’ll share a few additional factors that can impact your claim timeline.

Car Accident Claim Timeline

Right After The Accident: Medical Treatment & Documentation

Immediately following an accident, there are two important things to do: seek medical care and document the scene. The first, seeking medical treatment, is the most important of all, since you need to take care of your health above all else. From a legal perspective, seeking medical treatment right away is also vital because medical records provide an official documentation of your injuries. Having this documentation can be very important for settling a personal injury claim swiftly and for an amount that’s appropriate. That’s why you should always seek medical care after being injured in an accident. This is true even when you think your injuries aren’t particularly severe, since injuries that seem minor right after an accident can end up being extremely serious at a later date.

Then, gathering information and documentation at the scene of your accident may be one of the most valuable things you can do for your injury claim. Taking the time to do this now may end up saving you quite a lot of time later, since accurate accident scene information can be challenging or impossible to get at a later date. So, it’s a good idea to gather information now or, if you’re too injured to do so yourself, have a loved one do so for you. Examples of the types of information you should gather include the details of all involved vehicles (make, model, license plate), the name and contact information of all involved parties and witnesses), insurance information, photos of the scene, photos of your injuries, and your own recollection of the accident. Note that while accident scene information may also appear on the police report related to your accident, sometimes police reports miss things. That’s why it’s in your best interest to make sure your own records are as accurate and thorough as possible.

Don’t Admit Fault, Apologize, or Say You Aren’t Hurt

After your accident, there are a few things you should avoid saying if you want to protect your rights (and help your injury claim move forward more smoothly and quickly). Don’t admit fault after your accident, even if you think you were at fault. It’s possible that you’re wrong or that another driver could share fault for the accident. Yet, if you say you were responsible, even if that ends up not being true, this can make it very easy for an insurance adjuster to deny your claim. For similar reasons, you also shouldn’t apologize to other involved parties or say you aren’t hurt.

Report Your Accident to the California DMV

Per California law, auto accidents must be reported to the DMV within 10 days if anyone was injured or killed, or if the accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage. Reporting your accident is time sensitive, required by law, and will be relevant to your claim if California auto insurance is involved, so don’t neglect this step in the post-accident process.

Filing Your Car Accident Insurance Claim

The next step in a California accident case is filing your car accident insurance claim. The exact process here may vary depending on your car insurance plan and provider, so contact your insurer for guidance.

Note that even if you think you may be at fault for the accident, it’s best to report it. If another party reports it (even if they perhaps say they won’t) but you do not, this could spell trouble for your driver’s license, your car insurance policy status, and the strength of your accident claim.

Have Your Personal Injury Case Evaluated by an Auto Accident Attorney

In an ideal world, car insurance companies would always approve accident claims quickly and make fair settlement offers after doing so. Of course, that’s almost never the case. Insurance companies are businesses with one goal: to pay out as little money as possible. Insurance companies tend to look for any excuse to deny claims. They’re also known for making ludicrously low settlement offers to unrepresented accident victims. However, if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, you don’t have to go up against insurance companies all on your own. A personal injury attorney can be your expert advocate during the claims process.

An experienced car accident lawyer can generally settle a case for far more than an injury victim could on their own. A good personal injury attorney will have an in-depth understanding of how a victim’s injuries and accident circumstances interplay with California personal injury law, giving them a strong understanding of the full extent of damages the victim may be entitled to. They’ll also have plenty of experience negotiating with insurance companies and building strong cases, so they’ll know the right strategies to use to maximize settlement amounts. On top of all that, a car accident attorney may also be able to expedite the claims process, since they’ll be able to tackle each step efficiently and address any issues that may be slowing things down.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies

Typically, negotiations are the lengthiest part of the car accident claims process. Insurance companies will usually start this process with a very low offer, initiating negotiations that can last an indeterminate amount of time. On average, negotiations take around two weeks to three months, but this average may not apply to every case. Negotiation time can vary depending on the skill of the negotiator, the complexity of a case, and the evidence available in a case.

Post-Negotiation: Settlement or Litigation

Car accident cases usually resolve with settlements, but sometimes a trial is required for a victim to receive fair and appropriate compensation for their losses. Whether or not an accident case goes to trial has the biggest impact on the time it takes to close it. Generally, settling is always the easier and faster option, and that’s why most cases end in settlements. However, in some cases, an insurance company may refuse to negotiate in good faith. In such instances, a victim may need to go to trial to receive appropriate compensation for their damages. So, while litigation takes longer than settling, filing a personal injury lawsuit is sometimes the best option for an injury victim.

Other Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlement Timelines

Severity of Injury

The severity of a victim’s injuries can impact how long it takes to settle their case. Typically, accidents involving more severe injuries involve larger damages. Getting an insurance company to agree that a large settlement is fair and appropriate can take diligence, research, patience, and perseverance, all of which require extra time.

The Complexity of Liability

So many things can complicate liability in a car accident case, which will in turn affect how long it takes to settle the case. The number of involved parties affects the complexity of liability, since you need to determine how at fault (or not at fault) more parties are. The types of parties involved in an accident can also make things more complicated. For example, different regulations can come into play when an accident involves a professional truck driver, a city bus driver, an Uber or Lyft driver, a food delivery driver, someone driving a company car, and so on.

Proving Damages & Expert Witness Requirements

To get an insurance company to agree to a high settlement amount, you need to prove that the amount is warranted based on the victim’s damages. This involves determining the full scope of economic and non-economic damages, putting a dollar amount to these damages, and assembling proof that the damages occurred and that the dollar amount accurately reflects the damages.

Proving damages can be cut and dry in some cases, but can be complicated in others. In some cases, more research and investigation may need to be done. And, sometimes, reaching an appropriate settlement amount also requires utilizing expert witnesses. If expert witnesses, intense research, or intensive investigation are needed to prove damages in your case, this can extend the time it takes to settle your case.

Intentionally Difficult Individuals and Entities

Unfortunately, some individuals and entities may intentionally make the settlement process difficult. For example, another involved driver may give fake insurance information or false contact information. Or, an insurance company may let the negotiation process drag out for as long as legally possible. This type of action or inaction can slow down the settlement process and be very frustrating. Often, the frustration is the point here-- the goal may be to get a claimant to give up or fail at filing vital paperwork within a specific time frame. While these tactics are always unpleasant to experience, note that an experienced personal injury attorney can often help you deal with these types of roadblocks and delay tactics.

Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles, California

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions of another party, contact LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of car accident victims across Southern California. Our team understands the diligence and attention to detail that’s required to maximize success in this type of case. They also have an extensive knowledge of the type of compensation that may be available to our clients depending on their unique circumstances. Our auto accident attorneys have helped injury victims recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, and more.

Call LA Lawyers Group at (213) LAWYERS now to receive your free consultation with our personal injury law firm.