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How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?
5 Sep 2018

Car Insurance Questions: How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?

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Let’s take a look at this scenario: you get in a minor fender bender, but your car insurance stays expensive for a couple of years after the accident. What gives?

Why do car insurance premiums increase drastically after an accident — even a minor one?

There are many factors that determine a car accident and your insurance.

This reflects the car insurance cost and how long the accident stays on your car insurance. Other factors to consider include your insurance, the state you live in, and the severity of the accident.

So, how long does an accident stay on your insurance? Continue reading and know when your accident will finally get off of your insurance.

Editor’s note: If you like this article, feel free to join the conversation and leave your comments at the bottom!
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Is It on Your Insurance or Your Record?

The accident you’re in can affect you by one of two things:

  • The vehicle
  • The insurance plan

Let’s say you were in an accident and decided to buy a new car. Depending on your insurance, the accident can still stay on your insurance for up to three years.

But all cars have a record. This record is monitored by your state’s DMV and documents all accidents and other crucial information about your vehicle.

Every state is different, but every accident you’re in is on your record — regardless of whether you’re at fault or not. But this doesn’t mean it will affect your insurance.

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?In short, it can stay between three and five years. This depends on the type of accident, your insurance, and the state you live in.

At-Fault Accidents

The length of the severity of your insurance rates depends on the severity of your accident. If your accident is at-fault, expect your insurance rates to increase.

But many drivers don’t know what “at-fault” means. For example, insurers will charge a one-car accident as “at-fault” even when other drivers aren’t affected.

For example, if you hit a tree or a pole, you’re charged the same as if you hit another car.

If you get into one at-fault accident, your insurance won’t be affected too much. But if you get into another at-fault accident within a six-year frame, then you’ll see a major difference in your insurance.

Another fact drivers may not know is you can still be affected by insurance rate increases, even if you’re not the one driving.

If someone is driving your car, this tells your insurance you have liability for the car and the other driver. This may not happen all of the time and it depends on the type of insurance you have.

Other examples include what you do to your vehicle. Say you scrape or scratch your car and ask your insurance to cover the costs to cover those scratches up.

Your premiums may increase; even though you didn’t scratch or scrape your car from an “accident,” this is still damage done to your vehicle.

Not At-Fault Accidents

Generally speaking, not-at-fault accidents typically won’t count against you. This means you won’t see any difference to your insurance premiums. But this depends on the state you live in and the insurance carrier.

What if you’ve been in a lot of car accidents but they weren’t technically your fault?

Some insurers still see this as careless driving. Maybe you drive too slow, too fast, or you don’t pay attention to the road. An insurance carrier sees these drivers as a high-risk driver.

What if you’re not fully at-fault but you kind of is at-fault? For example, let’s say you got rear-ended because you also slammed on your breaks to stop at a stoplight. You’ll see your premiums increase, but not by much.

Accidents That Cause Injuries

If your car accident caused an injury — to you or the other driver — expect your premium to increase drastically. Each state varies, but the general rule is:

  • Injury to you or the other driver
  • Damage costing more than $2,000

But what if there was a minor injury and the ambulance wasn’t called? If you got a little hurt and don’t need medical attention, the insurance carriers don’t need to know about your injuries. These include a few cuts and bruises.

But if your injury is severe, such as a concussion or a broken joint, then the ambulance needs to be called and your insurance needs to be notified.

If Alcohol Was Involved

What if you were driving under the influence and got in a car accident?

Insurance carriers don’t take lightly to this. A DUI can last on your record as much as 10 years and alcohol-related accidents can last up to 75 years — or the rest of your life.

What’s Next?

Say you recently got into an accident and are concerned about your insurance premiums. There’s good news: your accident shouldn’t stay on your insurance forever (unless you’re drunk and get into an accident).

After three to five years, your accident is dropped from your record and won’t affect your premium. But this all depends on the insurance and the state you live in.

There are also ways to reduce your insurance premiums. Some states are more lenient than others. Some laws only make insurers hold an accident for a limited amount of time, even if you’re at fault.

Other states won’t let insurers take a not-at-fault accident against your insurance at all, no matter how many accidents you’ve been in.

There’s no shame in contacting your car insurance and asking about your new premium or researching the auto accident laws in your state.

Drive Safe!

If you recently got in a car accident, you’re probably wondering how the accident will affect your insurance premiums. Drivers ask common questions, such as: how long does an accident stay on your insurance?

Every state and insurance carrier is different. Minor or not-at-fault accidents may not affect your insurance. But severe accidents, such as accidents when you’re driving under the influence, will likely stay on your record for life.

Other accidents, such as one-car accidents and accidents where someone is driving your car, can also affect your premiums.

Always be safe on the road.

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