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Posted On May 17, 2016 Personal Injury

Does a Car Accident Increase Insurance Rates?

Find out whether a car accident will increase your insurance rates – and why the notion that pursuing a personal injury claim will raise your rates is a myth.

No question about it –auto insurance is expensive.

New Jersey, in particular, is among the most expensive states in the nation to insure a car in. And the premiums in Pennsylvania aren’t exactly small change, either.

So it’s no surprise that, on top of everything else they have to worry about, many car accident victims worry about an insurance rate hike.
A car accident can increase insurance rates – often, by as much as 41%.

But that doesn’t mean your crash will raise your auto insurance rates.

Who Is at Fault?

If you weren’t at fault for the collision, it’s unfair for you to be the one paying for the consequences – and that includes higher insurance rates.

An insurance company can only raise your rates if the crash was what’s called a “chargeable accident.” In other words, the crash must be your fault.  Objective research has shown that when you’re not at fault for the collision, “your payments shouldn’t be affected,” CBS News reported.

Some auto insurers even offer benefits like “accident forgiveness” when policyholders cause their first collision. But other insurance companies aren’t so lenient.

Your Driving History Under a Microscope

Even if you didn’t cause the crash, an accident can prompt your insurer to scrutinize your driving record more closely.

If you’ve already gotten tickets for speeding or breaking some other traffic safety law but you haven’t yet seen your insurance rates go up, you might now. Yes, even if those tickets have nothing to do with the crash.


Insurers price premiums based on the likelihood of having to pay claims. The more tickets and citations you have, the bigger the risk you pose, and the more you’ll have to pay for coverage.

Don’t Be Deterred From Pursuing a Claim

Fear of an auto insurance rate increase is a major reason why many accident victims never pursue a claim. But this fear is based on a misconception.

If the accident itself doesn’t cause your auto insurance rates to increase, pursuing a claim won’t raise your rates, either. And if you did cause the crash, you won’t be able to pursue a personal injury claim, anyway.

But most policyholders don’t know this – and the insurance industry prefers it that way.

Car accident victims who choose not to pursue legitimate claims may think they’re avoiding an insurance rate hike. But all they’re really doing is preventing themselves from getting the compensation they deserve.

Please don’t do this. Even if your rates did increase, making the best possible physical recovery would be worth the cost. After all, your health is priceless.

But when making a claim has no effect on your rates, you’re losing out on the compensation you need to get better for no reason.

The insurance industry benefits from myths and misconceptions like these. That’s one reason it’s often so difficult to get a straight answer when you ask questions like, “Will my insurance rates go up?”

Your lawyer, on the other hand, wants you to understand your rights and the legal process. If you have questions about insurance after a car accident, we can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience working inside the insurance industry as well as in personal injury law, so we’re familiar with how insurers act – and what they don’t want policyholders to know.