May 20, 2010

How A Tort Lawsuit Can Affect Your Future Auto Insurance Quotes

Every driver wants to avoid the types of events that can cause auto insurance rates to jump. Things like traffic citations and accidents can make a major difference, and can make driving nearly impossible to afford, even if you’re driving a very safe vehicle and if your record’s otherwise decent. Because of the way that insurance prices are set, many drivers are confused as to what actually affects auto insurance quotes, and may be especially confused about the nature of insurance law–if you’re sued in a tort case (which determines the fault of a driver in an accident), for instance, will your rates necessarily rise, or are lawsuits unrelated to insurance prices?

The answer to this question can be a bit complex. An auto insurance tort lawsuit itself will not cause your auto insurance quotes to increase, as the lawsuit is simply a legal argument as to the fault of an accident–it’s an accusation, but not proof of a circumstance. Therefore, it’d be unfair for an insurance company to raise your rates simply because you’re involved in an auto insurance tort lawsuit. However, your rates will certainly rise if you’re proven to be at fault in the accident, even if the lawsuit arises months after the actual incident. This is because your driving record will be affected, and your driving record is one of the most important determinants of your auto insurance rates.

To avoid a rise in your insurance rates due to a lawsuit, you should be careful not to admit fault immediately after an accident. Don’t apologize, and simply collect insurance information from the other driver. Speak to an insurance representative first by calling your insurance company as quickly as possible. Don’t try to hide the accident from your insurer; they’ll certainly find out about it anyways. Ask your insurance agent for advice, and give them all of the information that you have. If you know that you’re going to be sued (perhaps if the other driver made an obvious statement to this effect), you should tell the agent. Allow your insurance company to prepare, and be sure to prepare yourself. Get the facts of the accident right so that the court can make a fair judgement.

Nobody likes the prospect of a lawsuit, but sometimes it’s the only way to accurately determine the fault of an accident. By staying prepared and knowing your rights, you’ll increase the chances of a judgement in your favor. You’ll also avoid an unpleasant rise in your auto insurance rates, and you’ll keep your motor vehicle record clean and clear.