The length of time that your insurance costs will be impacted by an accident makes a big difference. The bottom line is that if you had to use insurance, accident records will cause your rates to be higher for some amount of time.
Not all insurance companies treat accidents the same way. Your particular insurance costs may vary widely compared to the insurance costs incurred by other drivers who use different insurance agencies. No matter what type of insurance, accident rates will only stay higher for a predetermined amount of time. You can learn more about the policies that your particular insurance company uses by asking your insurance agent for more information or researching the insurance company website. The company must provide you with quantifiable information for standard rate increases.
The Type of Accident
The kind of accident you are involved in will also impact how long the accident affects your insurance costs. A minor fender bender will not have the same impact as a multi-car injury accident. The more expensive the payout is from the accident, the longer it will take for the insurance rates to return to their previous levels. Your rates do not increase solely based on your future risk of being in an accident. They also go up because you are helping reimburse the insurance company for the high costs of your expensive accident. For example, if your insurance company is paying ongoing medical costs for someone who was injured in an accident that was deemed your fault, your rates will probably stay higher until the medical bills stop coming in.
Citations from Accidents
Usually, a driver who is found at fault for an accident will be given a traffic citation by the officers on the scene of the accident. The type of citation you receive will affect how long your insurance rates remain higher. If your citation is for something relatively minor, such as following too closely, you may not notice much difference in your rates. If you were cited for driving under the influence; however, your rates may never decrease at all.
Typical Insurance Company Guidelines
Most insurance companies forgive an accident after three consecutive years of accident free driving. If you can avoid making any claims during those three years, you will probably qualify for extra insurance discounts through a safe driver plan. Some insurance companies will waive the extra insurance fees for drivers who are involved in a single accident after three years of safe driving, which means your rates will not go up at all. Check with your particular agency to learn more about how they handle rising costs due to an accident.