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How much will my car insurance go up after an accident?

Updated Oct 18, 2023
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Getting into a car accident is already a stressful situation on its own, but thinking about how your car insurance rates will be impacted can add another layer. You may be wondering, “How much will my insurance go up with an at-fault accident?” In short, it depends on a number of scenarios like whether you were the one at-fault, the severity of the accident and more. Bankrate used proprietary rate data from Quadrant Information Services to analyze the average increase in car insurance rates after an at-fault accident.

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Will an accident increase my insurance premium?

How much does insurance increase after an accident? Car insurance rates typically tend to go up after an accident, but more notably after an at-fault accident. Since insurance companies calculate premiums based on risk, having an at-fault accident on your driving record may cause insurers to see you as higher risk to insure. If you are deemed higher risk, it is likely that your premiums will increase. However, there are several factors that determine the exact amount that your premium will increase. Factors like your auto insurance provider, driving record, claims history, geographic location and in some states, even your age and gender, are looked at when determining the exact rate you pay. Young drivers may see the highest increases after an accident since insurers typically  view them as an especially risky group to insure.

So if you are not deemed at fault for an accident, how much does insurance go up after an accident? Unfortunately, your insurance premium may still be impacted even if you weren’t the cause of the accident. If your insurance company pays to cover your claim, your rates could increase depending on your state and insurance company. The best way to find out how an accident will impact your rates is to ask your insurance representative.

The Bankrate insurance editorial team analyzed car insurance rates from Quadrant Information Services and found that, on average, premiums for full coverage insurance go up $840 after an at-fault accident.

Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Before an accident $2,014 $622
After an at-fault accident $2,854 $892
Difference 42% 43%

How long does an accident stay on your driving record?

If you have been involved in more than one accident and have been convicted of more than one traffic violation, your insurance rates will likely be higher. Someone who has more than one traffic violation or accidents on their driving record is more likely to be seen as a high-risk driver, who is more likely to file claims in the future. To offset the risk, insurance companies charge higher rates. On average, a full coverage premium will increase about 42 percent after an at-fault accident. If you are involved in an at-fault accident which has caused serious injury, extensive property damage, or if your accident is due to intoxication, your car insurance rates could increase substantially more. In some cases, your insurer may deny your policy renewal.

How far your insurance company will look back into your driving record to determine your rates depends on your carrier, the state you reside in and the severity of the incident. Typically, insurance companies surcharge rates for three to five years following a driving incident.

Although most auto insurance companies may raise your rates after an at-fault accident, the exact amount varies by insurance company. The table below indicates how much more drivers with an at-fault accident on their record pay for car insurance than drivers with clean driving records.

Average annual full coverage premium before an at-fault accident Average annual full coverage premium after an at-fault accident Percentage increase
AAA $2,562 $3,717 45%
Allstate $2,630 $3,397 29%
American Family $1,700 $2,404 41%
Erie $1,356 $1,607 19%
Farmers $1,598 $2,244 40%
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%
Travelers $1,551 $2,149 39%
USAA $1,361 $1,971 45%
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This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Why do insurance rates go up after an accident?

Car insurance rates are calculated based on risk. Statistically speaking, drivers who have been involved in an accident are more likely to be involved in another traffic violation. A rate increase protects insurance companies from losing money. Therefore, your company will adjust your premium to reflect the higher risk taken on to insure you.

While at-fault accidents typically raise premiums higher than no-fault accidents, any car insurance claim can impact your premium. Filing multiple claims within a short period of time can also lead to a higher risk assessment and therefore, higher rates. However, after a few years of being claim-free, it is likely that your auto insurance rates will drop back down. ee years.

If your rate has increased substantially after an accident, you may want to explore other options by comparing quotes from other carriers. Since every car insurance company is different, you may be able to find a cheaper rate. Although other carriers will also have access to your driving record, they may not weigh at-fault accidents as heavily as your current provider when calculating rates. After comparing quotes, you may find that another company's rates are competitive enough to warrant a carrier switch.

Can I prevent my insurance rates from going up after an accident?

If you are enrolled in an accident forgiveness program prior to your accident, you might be eligible to have the surcharge waived. Accident forgiveness program guidelines are different for every insurance provider and availability varies by state. Most programs allow you to waive the first at-fault accident loss from your policy. However, you can usually only wave one loss within a set timeframe, usually three to five years.

Most accident forgiveness programs are offered as endorsements that can be added onto your car insurance policy at an additional cost. Additionally, a company may have limitations for new drivers or new customers. Some car insurance companies may offer free accident forgiveness coverage after you have been insured with the same auto insurer for a specific amount of time.

The following major auto insurers are among the dozens of carriers that extend some form of accident forgiveness coverage to enrolled and eligible drivers:

*The Hartford and USAA only offer accident forgiveness if all drivers listed on the policy are accident-free for five consecutive years. With USAA, you must also have a five-year tenure as a policyholder.

How can I lower my car insurance rates after an accident?

There may still be ways to lower your car insurance rates even without accident forgiveness. Here are a few ways you may be able to bring the cost of your car insurance down.

  • Improve your credit: Most states allow car insurance companies to consider your credit-based insurance score when determining rates. If you live in one of these states, taking steps to stay within a personal budget, paying debts and addressing any discrepancies on your credit report to improve your credit standing may help bring down your rate over time.
  • Increase your deductible: The higher your deductibles on comprehensive and collision coverage, the lower your premium typically is. However, keep in mind that if you raise your deductible, your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher if you were to file a claim. It’s important to keep your deductibles at a rate you could comfortably pay on short notice.
  • Look for discounts: Most car insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, including good student discounts and multi-policy discounts. Many also offer usage-based telematics programs that monitor your driving in real time and award discounts for safe practices behind the wheel.
  • Shop around: Comparing quotes from different car insurance companies before your policy renews may help ensure you're getting the best rate for your current circumstances. It may be difficult to find a car insurance policy that offers the same coverage at the same price you were paying prior to an at-fault accident, but other carriers may have discounts that are better suited to your needs.
  • Update your coverage choices: If you need to lower your insurance premium, you could consider changing your coverage options. Although you should always review these changes with a licensed agent, reducing on coverage you no longer need could help you say substantially. Keep in mind that you will still need to maintain your state’s minimum required coverage levels, and if you have a loan or lease, you’re likely required to keep full coverage on your vehicle.
  • Consider a different car: The make and model of every vehicle is rated differently by insurance companies and it costs more to insure more expensive vehicles. For example, insuring a sports car is typically more expensive than insuring a sedan. This comes down to safety ratings, materials, cost of repair and many other factors. If you need to cut down the cost of your car insurance policy, consider getting a vehicle that is cheaper to insure.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. 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 coverage that meets 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) and at-fault accident.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor

Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as Bankrate and Reviews.com. She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.

Edited by Editor, Insurance
Reviewed by Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute