How many accidents can you have before your insurance drops you?
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It’s no secret that causing an at-fault accident can have a big impact on your car insurance costs. And, that’s especially true if you have more than one at-fault accident on your driving record. But higher car insurance premiums aren’t the only possible repercussions of having a driving record with a history of accidents. If you’re involved in too many, there’s a chance that your insurance company could drop you completely.
Your insurer may consider you a high-risk driver if you file too many claims within a short period of time, and both standard and non-standard insurers may drop you if you have too many accidents within a certain time frame. So how many accidents can you have before your insurance drops you? Well, it depends on what type of claim the accident resulted in, as well as whether you are at fault and what your insurance company’s threshold for claims is.
Car insurance with multiple claims
Whether you are looking to purchase a new insurance policy or renewing your existing car insurance, insurers may use your claims history to determine prices and if you qualify for car insurance. Insurance companies also use your age (except in Hawaii, California 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. Most 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 not-at-fault claim is typically something that occurs out of your control, so is not as severe as an at-fault accident you caused.
At-fault versus not-at-fault claims
An at-fault claim is one that is considered in your control, like hitting another driver while changing lanes on the highway or rear-ending them at a red light. These claims are most often paid out under liability bodily injury and property damage for the other party and collision if your car is damaged and needs to be repaired.
In contrast, a not-at-fault claim is one that you likely could not control, like when your car is stolen or vandalized, or a hailstorm causes body damage. Whether a claim is determined to be at-fault or not-at-fault changes how your car insurance rates are impacted and could affect your coverage qualification.
Do collision claims increase your premium?
Yes, collision claims will typically increase your premium more than comprehensive claims, provided you were at fault for the accident. When you fail to avoid a collision that was in your control, your insurance company may consider you a higher-risk driver than you were prior to the accident. If you have a full coverage auto insurance policy and injure another party or damage their property, or both, your insurer has to pay to fix your car, the other party’s and pay for injuries to those involved.
With comprehensive claims, you may or may not be in the car when the damage occurs. Comprehensive claims are typically not within your control, and even if the insurer has to pay the claim, it is usually paying just comprehensive coverage to fix your car, and not for another party. For these reasons, your premiums generally increase by more when a collision claim is filed than when a comprehensive claim is filed, especially with multiple claims in your recent history.
Average annual premiums for drivers with an at-fault accident by carrier
The rates you pay for car insurance tend 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|
Do comprehensive claims increase your premium?
Generally, filing a comprehensive claim does not increase your premium by as much as a collision claim. When you file a claim for comprehensive coverage, you are usually not at fault because the cause of damage was not in your control. If you file a claim under collision, you are more likely to be at fault. However, filing a claim with damages paid can be used to assess your risk when the insurance company renews your policy, so you may see a small rate increase after filing a comprehensive claim.
Can I lose my insurance after multiple claims?
You can lose your car insurance if you have multiple claims in your recent history. Having more than one at-fault accident gives you the highest chances of being dropped by your insurance company. The threshold for cancelling car insurance after multiple accidents differs by insurance carrier, the type of claim, the amount paid and how many claims you have had in a three-year period.
Most often, the insurance company will send a nonrenewal letter prior to your next renewal period advising you that your policy will be terminated at the end of the policy period. In order to maintain continuous insurance coverage, you should look for insurance with another carrier, which may include a nonstandard company offering high-risk insurance.
Frequently asked questions
In general, there is not a set limit for the number of claims you can file in one year. However, some 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. The coverages paid out, how much was paid, the frequency of the claims filed and if you were at 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.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 rates for all 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 2020 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.
Incident: 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.