Being involved in an accident can significantly impact the cost of your car insurance, especially if you are at fault for the incident. But there is more to be aware of when it comes to your premiums than just accidents. Some carriers may have limits on how many claims are allowed in a set period of time before you are classified as a high-risk driver or refused coverage altogether. Bankrate can help you navigate these challenges.

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Car insurance with multiple claims

Whether you are looking to purchase a new insurance policy or renewing your existing car insurance, insurers often use your claims history to help determine if you qualify for insurance and what your premium will be. Insurance companies also use your age (except in Hawaii and Massachusetts), location and driving record as qualifying factors for coverage.

How claims history is used can vary by insurance company. Some may only look back three years, while other companies may go back as far as five years or more. Many carriers consider the frequency of claims over the severity, and some may only use claims that meet a minimum dollar threshold to determine eligibility and rates.

While the number of claims you have filed in the last few years matters, so does the type of claim filed. For instance, a claim on an accident you didn’t cause may not be treated as severely as one for an at-fault accident that you did cause.

Read more: How is fault determined in a car accident?

Can insurance drop you for too many claims?

Yes, your car insurance company can drop you if you file too many claims. Most often, an insurer will send a nonrenewal letter prior to your next renewal period, advising that your insurance will be terminated at the end of the policy period. In order to maintain continuous coverage, you should look for insurance with another carrier. You may need to consider nonstandard companies offering multiple accidents car insurance, often called high-risk car insurance.

How many accidents can you have before your insurance drops you?

The threshold for canceling car insurance after multiple accidents differs by insurance carrier, the type of claim, the payout amount and the number of claims you have filed in a three-year period. But having more than one at-fault accident generally gives you a higher chance of being dropped by your insurance company.

Read more: What to do if your car Insurance is canceled

At-fault versus not-at-fault claims

Although the penalties are often more severe for at-fault accidents, both at-fault and not-at-fault insurance claims can increase your premiums. Hitting another vehicle while changing lanes on the highway or rear-ending one at a red light are examples of at-fault accidents. In these cases, your bodily injury liability and property damage liability will likely help cover the other driver’s costs. And if you have collision coverage, that could help cover repairs for your own vehicle.

In contrast, if someone changes lanes into your vehicle or rear-ends it when you’re stopped at a red light, it would usually be considered a not-at-fault accident. Whether a claim is determined to be at fault or not at fault typically changes how your car insurance rates are impacted and could affect your coverage qualification.

Average annual premiums for drivers with an at-fault accident by carrier

The rate you pay for car insurance tends to vary by insurance carrier — and so does the amount you will pay after an at-fault accident. The table below shows the average car insurance increase after an at-fault accident by the insurance companies with the largest market share in the nation.

Company Average annual full coverage premium before at-fault claim Average annual full coverage premium after at-fault claim % increase in average annual full coverage premium
Allstate $2,630 $3,397 29%
Amica $1,467 $1,742 19%
Erie $1,356 $1,607 19%
Geico $1,353 $1,988 47%
Nationwide $1,422 $1,852 30%
Progressive $1,642 $2,638 61%
State Farm $1,480 $1,876 27%
The Hartford $2,104 $3,857 83%
USAA $1,361 $1,971 45%

Do collision claims increase your premium?

Understanding how collision claims affect car insurance can encourage safer driving. In general, collision claims cost insurers more than other types of claims. Therefore, involvement in a collision could result in being categorized as a higher-risk driver in the eyes of insurance companies. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for your insurance premium to increase after an accident.

If you’re filing a collision claim, it may mean you collided with either a vehicle or a stationary object while driving. Hit-and-run incidents also typically fall under collision coverage, as the victim’s insurance may help pay for the damage if the at-fault driver cannot be found. In contrast, incidents that are covered by comprehensive insurance primarily involve instances when you aren’t in the vehicle (e.g., vandalism, theft, etc.).

Do comprehensive claims increase your premium?

Generally, filing a comprehensive claim does not increase your premium by as much as a collision claim would. If you qualify to file a claim under collision, you were likely determined to be at fault.

However, filing a claim with any damages paid can be used to assess your risk when the insurance company renews your policy. So you may still see a small rate increase after filing a comprehensive claim.

Frequently asked questions

    • Generally, there is no set limit for the number of insurance claims you can file in one year. However, even the best car insurance companies may choose not to renew insurance policies or restrict coverage options if a certain number of claims were filed within a short period of time (usually three years).
    • Yes, you can get insurance with multiple claims in your history, even if you experienced two accidents in one year. The coverages paid out, the amount paid, the frequency of the claims filed and the determination of fault are all factors considered by an insurance company as to whether or not they will insure you. Insurers may also want any previous claims to be completely resolved before your new policy takes effect.
    • In general, there are a few reasons why a car insurance company might cancel or choose not to renew your policy. For starters, if you are found guilty of a serious driving infraction, like a DUI, then your insurance company might consider you to be too high-risk and may decline to renew your policy. Or, there are occasions in which an insurance company will stop serving your state. If that happens, then your insurance company will drop you. And, if you choose to lie on your application and the truth is later revealed, your insurance company may choose not to renew your policy.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.