Does an accident go on your driving record? Yes, a car accident always appears on driving records, even in a no-fault state. Accidents can stay on your driving record from three to 13 years, depending on factors like the state where you live and the severity of the accident. In many states, a bad driving record often translates to high auto insurance rates.
What Does a No-Fault Accident Mean?
Under insurance law, there are two kinds of motor accidents: no-fault and at-fault accidents. The at-fault driver is the one that caused the accident, while the no-fault driver is the victim, according to InjuryClaimCoach.com. There are specific fault determination rules that insurers use to deduce who the at-fault driver is in a car crash.
U.S. states are fault or no-fault states. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance company covers their personal injury and property damage bills, irrespective of who caused the accident. Fault states demand that the at-fault driver’s insurance company cover all the repair costs and medical expenses incurred during the accident.
Knowing which kind of state you live in will help you decide on the type of vehicle coverage policy you should purchase. All no-fault states require their drivers to buy a Personal Injury Policy (PIP), which will pay for the driver’s losses after a car crash. In contrast, PIP is not an essential insurance requirement for drivers in fault states.
Will a No-Fault Accident Go on My Driving Record?
If you are only a car accident victim, the crash may still appear on your driving record, says Coverage.com. However, you can prevent such an accident from going on your driving record by getting a police report that states who the at-fault driver in the accident is. An accident that is not on your driving record should not affect your auto insurance rate.
That said, some auto insurers increase their policyholder’s car insurance rates after an accident, even when they are just victims. Insurers in most states hold the right to raise their car insurance costs as they like. However, certain states like Oklahoma and California have laws that prevent auto insurers from increasing the premiums of not-at-fault drivers. In addition, drivers who have a long history of at-fault accidents may face an increase in car insurance rates after a no-fault accident.
How to Reduce Your Car Insurance Rates After a No-Fault Accident
If your car insurance company increases your premium after a no-fault accident, you can easily reduce your auto insurance rates. Taking any of the following steps can earn you a drop in auto insurance costs, according to Cover:
- Purchase your insurance policies as a bundle: Your insurance company will most likely grant you an insurance discount on your vehicle if you insure other belongings with them. Insuring your house, car, and life under the same insurer can help you lower your insurance premium.
- Compare insurance rates across various insurers: Your insurer may not offer the lowest auto insurance rates in your state. Shopping around for car insurance rates may help you find a cheaper insurance service provider with better deals.
- Increase your deductible: Increasing your deductible will help you reduce your car insurance rates. For instance, increasing your insurance deductible from $1000 to $1500 will save you money on your annual auto insurance premium.
- Take advantage of insurance discounts: Another great way to reduce your auto insurance rate is to be on the lookout for auto insurance discounts offered by your insurer. Most auto insurance companies offer these discounts:
- Defensive driver discount
- Bundle policy discount
- Good student discount
- Multipolicy discount
- Discount for drivers with anti-theft measures
- Discount for drivers who pay their auto insurance premium in full
How Can I Purchase Insurance If I Have a Bad Driving Record?
Having violations on your driving record may not prevent you from finding an insurance company to cover your vehicle. However, it may limit the kind of coverage policy you can buy. Drivers who are only first-time offenders may purchase an insurance policy easily. If you take your time to shop around before choosing an insurer, you may even find a cheap auto insurance coverage policy, says Investopedia.
On the other hand, it’s much harder to get an auto insurer if you have a serious violation or several offenses on your driving record. In addition, your insurance company may need to submit a statement of responsibility to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state. The statement of responsibility shows that you possess the minimum auto insurance requirements in your state.
How Does an At-Fault Accident Affect My Insurance Rate?
When you cause a car accident, you should first check with your auto insurance company to ascertain whether it forgives first-time offenders. If so, the accident may not affect your car insurance rate, especially if you are a habitual safe driver, says NerdWallet. Some insurance companies that offer first-time forgiveness for driving offenders are GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, State Farm, Progressive, Nationwide, and The Hartford.
Policyholders whose insurers do not offer first-time forgiveness will most likely experience a rise in vehicle insurance rates. Usually, the amount of increase may differ based on factors like your incident history and how many years you have spent as a policyholder with your auto insurer.
The average insurance policy rises by 34 percent after a car accident, reports Coverage.com. That said, some insurers may suspend your car insurance policy if you commit a serious driving offense like a hit-and-run or a DUI. If you were in a crash that requires expensive claims, your insurer might raise your premium. Experian says that data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that drivers’ car insurance rates often increase in correlation with their offenses.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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