After an accident, your car insurance rate will go up and remain high for 3 years on average. Drivers with multiple accidents or violations may pay more for insurance for a long time.
But, an accident will not stay on your record forever. After the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) removes the accident from your record, your insurance will come down.
However, this is unpredictable and depends on various factors.This article takes a deep look at when your car insurance will come down after an accident.
How Long Does An Accident Stay On Your Driving Record?
To know when your car insurance will go down after an accident, you need first to know how long it will stay on your record.
When calculating premium rates, most car insurance companies only consider the last 3 to 5 years of your driving history. This means, on average, a car accident will affect your insurance for 3 to 5 years.
Each state has a (DMV) with its own policies that define how long different types of accidents and violations remain on your driving record.
Many states in the U.S. use a “points” system to track accidents and violations. If you rack up many points, above the average on your license, you may end up in a license suspension.
Also, normally, an accident will stay on your record for 3 to 5 years. But not all accidents stay for the same period. If you’re involved in a DWI/DUI or reckless driving accident, the incident will stay on your record longer, even up to 10 years.
For example, in New York and Arizona, an accident will stay on your record in the first year of the accident, plus 3 years after. But a DUI stays on the record for 10 years.
But different states also maintain multiple versions of your driving history.
Check with your state if you can request your driver record. For example, you can get an “unofficial driver record” to see your two years of violations like in Ohio, or a “lifetime” driving record, with all your driving information like in New York.
How Much Does Insurance Increase After An Accident?
After an accident, expect your insurance premium rates to go up. But by how much?
It depends. It’s hard to say precisely how much your car insurance rate will increase after an accident.
Generally, your car insurance rates will increase by 46% on average after an accident. But, if you have a pristine driving record, the national average rate increase is 41%. But this is an average.
How much the insurance will go up after an accident depends on various factors, including:
The State You Live In
Each state has its laws regarding how to prosecute at-fault car accidents.
Your Insurance Company
Different insurers have different laws regulating their policies and how long an accident stays on your record.
Who’s At Fault For The Accident
Often, your insurance will increase as regulated by the state and the insurer if you’re at fault. If you’re not at fault, your rate increase depends on the insurer’s finding.
Prior Accidents (or even moving violations) On Your Record
Your rates will be higher if you have prior accidents on your record. Some insurers may even stop your coverage.
Unfortunately, insurers view younger drivers as high risk, and one accident will increase their rates significantly.
But, drivers with accident forgiveness in their policy may not see their rates go up after their first accident. Although the specific details vary between insurers.
It is important to check around and find out how your insurance provider increases their rates after an accident. You can ask your insurance agent about this information.
How Long Does An Accident Affect Your Insurance?
Generally, after an accident, your insurance premium rates will go up. But, since accidents don’t stay on your record forever. Depending on your state and the accident’s severity, it eventually “falls off” your driving record.
Insurers take account of your accident on your record in the first 3 to 5 years of its occurrence. During this period, expect your rates to be high.
So, if you had a violation or an accident running six years ago, expect that it won’t affect your rate after the third or fifth year.
But, the effects can extend beyond this period if the violation or accident was very severe and resulted in a large claim.
Also, some insurance providers may not renew your insurance, while some may deny you coverage.
Generally, after the accident “falls off” your record, insurers will no longer consider it when calculating your rates. At this point, your car insurance may go down.
But this also depends on your state. Different states have different regulations about what types of car accidents an insurer can use to calculate your premiums. They also have different guiding principles on how far back they can go in your driving history to calculate your premiums.
How Can I Lower My Insurance Rates After An Accident?
Your rates will eventually go down after some time if they increased because of an accident. But, you may need some immediate solutions to help the rates come down.
Here is what you can do:
Take Advantage Of Car Insurance Discounts
Among other things, paying your insurance in full, completing safe driving courses, bundling your home and car insurance, or student discounts can help lower your car insurance premiums.
Increase Your Deductible
Although it has an inherent risk of paying out-of-pocket, increasing your deductible will lower your insurance premium.
Research insurance companies and find out what they offer. Check for quotes that meet your needs and can give you the best pricing different from the one you’re currently using. Compare the add-ons and discounts they offer and take advantage of the ones that support your needs.
Maintain Or Improve Your Credit Score
Since insurers use your credit score when calculating your rates, a good score can give you better rates as long as you keep a clean driving record.
When renewing your insurance, ask about accident forgiveness. Check if you qualify for accident forgiveness and include it on your policy. If you have accident forgiveness, your insurance rates will not go up.
Note: Most car insurers require one to be accident-free for some years (usually at least 3 years) to qualify for accident forgiveness. This means individuals who are most likely to be involved in an accident may not buy accident forgiveness. But you can test your insurer and see their resolve.
After an accident, your insurance rates will increase. But it will not stay up forever. After between 3 and 5 years, most insurers will not use the accident on your record to calculate your rates, and your insurance will go down – but not entirely. If by then you still want to lower your car insurance rates, make sure you find the right deals, discounts, and benefits from the right insurer.