How Auto Claims Affect Auto Insurance Rates

Insurance rates are based on risk and liability. If you are a young male and have accumulated multiple traffic violations, you will fall into that high-risk category and will be quoted much higher rates as a result.

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But one of the biggest things affecting your premiums is whether or not you have any insurance claims, including at-fault accidents. Any time the insurer is required to make a payout, your value as a policyholder decreases and your insurance costs will increase.

The question is, how big will those increases be, what sort of claims affect them, and are there any ways to offset them?

Average Auto Insurance Rates After a Car Accident

Car insurance rates vary significantly from state to state, taking everything from the number of uninsured drivers to the level of car crime into account. In lieu of an accident forgiveness program, your premiums will increase in all states following an insurance claim, but the rate of this increase can range from just 15% to as much as 85%.

Take a look at the list below to see how much your insurance premiums can increase following an at-fault accident. We have taken quotes from several major insurance companies to show both minimum coverage options (as required by the state) and full coverage (including comprehensive coverage and collision coverage), before noting the average increase when adding an at-fault claim.

However, these insurance quotes are just averages based on our own research and there is no guarantee that you will get the same results.

  • Alabama – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,400; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $550; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 35%.
  • Alaska – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $450; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.
  • Arizona – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,400; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $600; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 25%.
  • Arkansas – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,450; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $550; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 30%.  
  • California – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,650; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 70%.
  • Colorado – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,600; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 32%. 
  • Connecticut – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,700; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $850; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 32%.
  • Delaware – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,550; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $850; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 40%.
  • D.C. – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,550; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $750; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 30%.
  • Florida – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $2,350; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,100; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 35%.
  • Georgia – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,600; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $700; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 42%. 
  • Hawaii – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $500; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 14%.
  • Idaho – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $950; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $350; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 28%. 
  • Illinois – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,150; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $450; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 30%. 
  • Indiana – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.
  • Iowa – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $300; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 40%.
  • Kansas – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $450; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 23%. 
  • Kentucky – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $2,150; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,000; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.  
  • Louisiana – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $3,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,150; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 50%.
  • Maine – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $900; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $350; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.
  • Maryland – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,600; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $800; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 40%.
  • Massachusetts – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $550; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 18%.
  • Michigan – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $2,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,300; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 49%.  
  • Minnesota – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $550; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 85%.
  • Mississippi – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,400; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $500; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 25%.
  • Missouri – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $500; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 25%. 
  • Montana – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 19%. 
  • Nebraska – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 28%.
  • Nevada – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,900; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $900; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 35%. 
  • New Hampshire – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,050; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 30%. 
  • New Jersey – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,800; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,000; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%. 
  • New Mexico – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $500; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 25%.
  • New York – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $2,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $1,000; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 14%.
  • North Carolina –Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,100; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 42%.
  • North Dakota – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.
  • Ohio – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,050; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $450; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 24%. 
  • Oklahoma – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,600; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $600; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 22%.
  • Oregon – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 38%.
  • Pennsylvania – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,150; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 28%.
  • Rhode Island – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,700; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $800; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 30%.
  • South Carolina –Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,450; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 15%.
  • South Dakota –Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $300; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 32%.
  • Tennessee – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 32%.
  • Texas – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,500; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 40%.
  • Utah – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $600; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 40%.
  • Vermont – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $300; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 20%.
  • Virginia – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $400; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 28%.
  • Washington – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,250; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $650; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 35%.
  • West Virginia – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,300; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $500; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 32%.
  • Wisconsin – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,000; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $350; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 35%.  
  • Wyoming – Insurance Rates for Full Coverage = $1,200; Insurance Rates for Minimum Coverage = $350; Potential Increase with One At-Fault Accident = 25%.

When to File a Claim

If you don’t report an incident to your insurance company, it won’t affect your rates. But you’re insured for a reason, and the goal is to save money and stay protected, not to keep your insurance provider happy. Deciding when to file and when not to file will come down to the severity of the incident and whether or not you have an alternative solution.

For instance:

You Damage Someone’s Car

You should always contact your insurance company if you cause an accident with a driver you don’t know and, therefore, can’t trust.

They may offer to settle the issue personally, asking for payment so they can get the car repaired. But what’s stopping them from taking your money and asking for more at a later date? What happens if they take the car to a mechanic they know and they both decide to take you for a ride?

Advise that they make a claim and then tell your insurance company about the incident. 

If it’s minor, your auto insurance premiums shouldn’t increase by that much, if at all. 

If it’s major, it doesn’t really matter as you have no choice but to inform them. A major accident could lead to extensive property damage and bodily injury—that’s what car insurance is for.

You Damage Your Own Car Hitting a Wall

If you damage your own vehicle hitting a wall, tree or other object, you can choose to deal with the issue yourself or contact your insurer. If you don’t have collision coverage, you don’t have a choice as you won’t be covered for an accident like this.

Even if you do have it, there’s a good chance the deductible will be higher than the cost of the repairs, so you may want to assess the damage, get a quote, and only contact your insurer if the repairs are extensive.

Your Car is Vandalized or Damaged by Weather

Again, it all comes down to whether or not the damage is extensive enough to warrant making a claim. You will also need to have comprehensive coverage, as this covers you for weather damage (floods, hail, winds) and vandalism, whereas standard liability coverage and collision coverage does not.

You Hit an Animal

If you have collision coverage, you may not be covered for an animal collision. One of the strange quirks of collision insurance is that you’re only covered if you swerve to avoid the animal and hit a guardrail or tree. If you actually collide with the animal and it causes damage, you will only be covered if you have comprehensive insurance.

Will a Car Insurance Claim Always Trigger a Rate Increase?

​Anytime you are deemed to be a higher risk, there’s a chance your car insurance premiums will increase. However, that doesn’t mean they will automatically jump-up just because you make a claim.

​Car insurance companies will look at the following information to evaluate your rates:

  • ​Your Complete Driving Record
  • ​The Number of Claims Made In the Past
  • ​The Size of Payouts Following Previous Claims

They will also consider whether or not you are part of a forgiveness program, which can forgive comprehensive claims and accidents.

If your rates do change, you will receive an updated car insurance policy before it is due for renewal.

Reduce Cost of Car Insurance Coverage After a Claim

If you’re being offered much higher car insurance quotes because you have a claim, speeding ticket or DUI on your record, it’s not the end of the world. There are multiple ways you can secure a lower rate, including:

1. Shop Around

Don’t accept your renewal rate and assume you’re being offered the best price just because you’ve been with that company for several years.

You can almost certainly get cheaper rates elsewhere.

Shop around, see what other insurance companies will offer you. Get quotes from big providers like GEICO, Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual; look into Esurance and The General, and don’t forget about smaller and more localized providers.

2. Try Usage-Based Car Insurance

Usage-based programs are offered by most major providers. They will install a telematics device in your car, and this will connect to your smartphone to give you real-time data concerning your driving habits.

If your current insurer doesn’t offer one of these programs, look elsewhere. Many insurers promise that your rates won’t increase if it’s found that you have dangerous driving habits and they’ll also give you rate discounts just for signing up.

Not only are these programs a great way to save, but they can also encourage you to drive safely and adopt responsible habits, which will help to build a clean driving record going forward.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Poor credit leads to higher rates. Your credit history is not as important as your driving history but it still plays a role and it is crucial, therefore, to improve your score as much as possible.

We have multiple articles to help you with this, including guides on how to improve your credit score in just a few months.

4. Increase Your Deductible

Adding a few hundred dollars to your deductible could decrease your rates by as much as 15%. You will pay more if you are involved in another accident and make another claim, but if you’re a safe driver and are confident in your abilities, or you have a car that isn’t worth a great deal, you can take the chance.

5. Look into Car Insurance Discounts

We have discussed car insurance discounts extensively in the past, so we won’t get into them again here (click the link for more information). However, it’s worth reiterating that by taking defensive driver courses, going paperless, paying upfront, and buying a car with multiple safety features you can save a small fortune on your car insurance premiums.

Bottom Line: Getting Help

If you’re not confident in your abilities to find the best and cheapest car insurance; you’re a little confused by discounts and you don’t understand the coverage options, we recommend going through an insurance agent.

They can help you with all this and ensure you get the best auto policy at the lowest price. You can also find a wealth of guides on car insurance right here on this website.

Our expert writers have penned hundreds of thousands of words on this subject and covered every possible niche and every conceivable question, ensuring that no stone is left unturned. Whatever you need to know about car insurance, you can find it at PocketYourDollars.