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How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident?

A car accident might only last a few moments, but the financial aftermath can stick with you for years. Even if you’re in a minor accident with no injuries or serious car damage, you could see an increase in your insurance rates. In some states, causing a car accident could impact your rates for up to five years.

If you have a pristine driving record and cause an accident, here’s some bad news: The national average rate increase is 41% for drivers with a clean record who cause an accident, according to Forbes Advisor’s analysis.

But not every car accident will result in a rate increase. And if you do get hit with higher rates, there are ways you may be able to reduce the financial impact.

How Does a Car Accident Affect Insurance?

If you are found at-fault for a car accident, you’re most likely going to see an increase in your car insurance rates at renewal time. That’s because an at-fault accident is considered a “chargeable” accident, which generally means you were more than 50% at fault and the accident caused one of both of these:

• Damage to someone else’s property, such as another car or a fence

• Bodily injury or death to someone else

The car liability insurance portion of your policy covers property damage or injury to someone else. When a claim is made against your liability insurance, this could result in a “surcharge,” which is the actual rate increase after a chargeable car accident.

The surcharge will start when you renew your policy (an insurer can’t surcharge you in the middle of a policy period).

The overall severity of the car accident and the resulting cost of an insurance claim can impact your rates. A minor parking lot fender bender typically won’t have the same impact as a major accident. In certain states, your insurer won’t raise your rates if the claim is under a certain dollar amount. For example, if you cause a car accident in Massachusetts, you won’t get a surcharge for claims under $1,000.

Average Car Insurance Rate Increases After an Accident

Some examples of average insurance rate increases per State after an at-fault accident:

State Avg. Increase

California 73.60%

Delaware 28.40%

Florida 40.00%

Georgia 45.00%

South Carolina 39.40%

Our advice? Contact us and let us help find the most cost effective coverage for your car. We work with many of the largest insurance companies.

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