No one wants to dwell on the horrors of the roadway. But the truth is that accidents happen every day.
If you have been in a car accident, we know how overwhelmed you are feeling. Healing from an injury takes time. And settling into a new routine is stressful.
Your finances are upside down. Your household income may have dropped if you are taking time off work to rehabilitate. Your medical and other bills are piling up. Financial troubles seem endless.
One of these troubles concerns car insurance. You may have questions about your insurance after the accident, such as:
- How is insurance affected after a car accident?
- How much does car insurance increase after an accident?
- How can I lower my car insurance rate after an accident?
After an accident, insurance companies weigh different factors when calculating new rates. A car accident attorney can represent you and help ensure your best interests remain in focus.
Car Accidents and Car Insurance
Traveling by car is an essential mode of transportation. In 2020, North Carolina had over 8.7 million registered vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles.
Unfortunately, even with cautious driving, accidents happen. In 2020, there were over 247,000 traffic crashes in North Carolina, with over 105,000 people injured and over 1,600 fatalities.
Insurance rates increase after an accident because insurance companies are businesses. And like all businesses, their purpose is to turn a profit.
Raising policy rates after an accident helps to offset the cost of future accidents.
Does Your Insurance Increase After an Accident?
Forbes reported that North Carolina drivers see an average rate increase of 79% for an at-fault accident with property damage and 90% for an at-fault accident with injuries. But the actual increase depends on various factors.
Accident forgiveness refers to a benefit some insurance companies offer. With it, the insurance company promises that the insurance rate will not increase after the first accident.
Usually, insurance companies offer an accident forgiveness benefit for drivers who meet certain requirements.
These requirements vary by company, and there may be a limit. If the damages exceed a given threshold, then the accident forgiveness may not apply.
Generally, insurance rates increase no matter who was at fault for the accident. However, if you are found to have caused the accident, the increase can be much larger than if the other driver was the one at fault.
Type of Accident
A small accident where there were minor injuries and minor damage to property may see a small increase in the insurance rate.
But if the accident caused either serious injuries, death, or a significant amount of property damage, then the rate increase may be significant.
Relationship with Insurance Company
Your relationship with your insurance company can play a role in how much your rate can increase.
If you have been with them a long time, they will know your accident and driving history and will adjust your rate to that history.
A driver who has multiple accidents a year can see a significant rate increase. On the other hand, a driver who had two accidents in a span of ten years may not see such a drastic increase.
How Do Car Accident Insurance Claims Work?
North Carolina mandates that all drivers maintain minimum car insurance coverage. When you file a claim with the insurance company, the main question is determining who was at fault for the accident.
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. Contributory negligence means that the insurance company may deny compensation if a party is partly at fault.
If you are deemed even 1% at fault for the accident, you can be denied compensation. Thus, who is at fault is a highly contested part of the insurance claim process.
Insurance companies try hard to free themselves from the obligation to pay your claim. If they find the accident was partly your fault, they can deny your compensation claim.
You need a seasoned North Carolina accident lawyer on your side to defend your rights.
How to Lower Rates After an Accident
After an accident, you may find that your insurance company raised your rates. This can be difficult, especially if the increase cuts into your budget.
Here are some things you can do to help lower your rates after an accident:
- Shop around. Different insurance companies calculate premiums differently. So it may help to look to other insurance companies to see if you can find a better rate.
- Take a driver safety course. If you tell your insurance company that you completed a driver safety course, this may help to lower your insurance rate. It can also make you a better driver.
- Be a more cautious driver. Hikes on your insurance rates don’t last forever. If you try to be a better driver and take more care on the roadways, your rate will go back down after a few years. However, if you get into another accident, your rate can increase.
Taking these steps can help to reduce the burden of increasing insurance rates after an accident.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC
The car insurance claims process can be complicated. After an accident, the amount your insurance increases depends heavily on who was at fault for the accident.
Our experienced attorneys at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, diligently review your case and aggressively advocate for you. We will not allow insurance companies to take advantage of you.
Contact our office for a free case evaluation.