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How Long Before A Drivers Auto Insurance Quotes Change After An Accident

Having an accident is stressful enough. But as any driver knows, the fallout from the accident itself is only the beginning. An auto insurance premium increase is nearly always sure to follow, and navigating the longer term impact of handling auto insurance claims, plus negotiating for a new auto insurance quote, can take even longer. This is why it is important to know what to expect and how to handle changes to auto insurance following an accident.

Drivers in search of an industry standard are in for a rude awakening – even a cursory inspection of different carriers reveals that no such standard is currently in place. Auto insurance premium increase rates, time lapse between auto insurance claim settlements and insurance rate increases vary widely. While auto insurance carriers are required to file what is called a “surcharge schedule” with each state in which they operate, these schedules can read like Sanskrit to the unskilled eye, and the insured is often left to their own devices to decipher the financial impact of rate surcharges after an auto insurance claim is filed. This can vary by number of insured on a single policy, number of vehicles, length of time as a policy holder, and more. Even for the fortunate few whose carriers offer a first-timer accident-forgiveness clause, which means that for the first accident no rate increase will be imposed, only certain applicants who fit certain criteria are eligible for such benefits. Devoting the extra time to researching whether a carrier offers accident forgiveness and under what circumstances can pay off in the event of an accident. Similarly, accepting a slightly higher monthly rate in exchange for such protective measures can be a bargain over time.

For many individuals involved in an accident, the rate increase will not appear until renewal time. But when it does appear, the increase can carry a whopping punch – most carriers hike rates between 20 and 40 percent of the insured’s current premium. Once again, it is important for a new policy applicant to ascertain the potential impact to insurance premiums in the event of an accident to avoid being swayed by low up-front auto insurance rates. Similarly, it is important to know how long the rate increase will last, and which types of accidents will incur a rate hike. Some states and carriers penalize for all violations, while others distinguish between moving, parking, and fault or no-fault incidents. Be wary of insurance agents who are unwilling to answer these basic questions about rate increases in the event of an accident. A little extra time and persistence in seeking out a quality auto insurance quote now will be worth it in the long run.

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