The chances are good that if you found this page, it means you have recently been in an accident. With any luck, it was only something minimal, like a fender bender. But serious accidents happen all the time, too. And it’s hard to know exactly how your car insurance company is going to react when she have to file a claim and report it. Depending on the severity of the accident, the cost to repair or replace damaged property, and whether or not bodily injuries are involved we’ll all have a major influence on how your auto insurance provider will change your premiums when it comes time to renew your policy.
Not every accident that happens in the real world technically qualifies as on “accident” in the eyes of your insurance company. There are certain criteria that must be met in order for your provider to classify the damages your claim is associated with as an official accident.
Unfortunately, it gets even more complicated than that the further down the rabbit hole you go. Different insurance companies have different criteria for determining what is and isn’t an accident; one provider may assume that your recent fender-bender is an accident, and charge you up to 33% more (or higher, and some areas) on your next policy renewal. Meanwhile, a company down the street may not think that such a mild collision qualifies as an accident, and you won’t see your rates skyrocket nearly as much. On top of that, different insurance rules and regulations will vary from state to state. Under certain circumstances, a fender bender in Kentucky may get classified as an accident, while the exact same collision in Missouri or Florida may not be labeled the same way.
Here are some of the most popular criteria for determining weather your incident will be considered a “qualifying accidents” by your insurance company:
So how do you save money on your auto insurance premiums by proving that your accident should not count as a “qualifying” accident? Well, you may be in for a bit of an uphill battle. In some situations, it can be fairly cut-and-dry. And others, there is a lot of grey area which can (and usually will) fall in your insurance companies favor. Below are some scenarios in which your accident will not be considered a qualifying accident in the eyes of your insurance provider:
Again these are just examples; and as we said earlier, the rules vary from state to state and company to company. Take tire failure, for example. Some companies may give you a break if you get into an accident due to a blown out tire, my other insurance companies may consider it a qualifying accident, especially if there are significant costs associated with fulfilling your claim. If possible, you may want to sit down with your insurance agent and figure out what situations are exempt from being classified as a qualifying accident according to your provider.
Unfortunately, there are so many different factors at play when determining how much your premiums may increase – if they increase at all – after an accident that it is extremely difficult to make a concrete prediction. But if you talk to your insurance provider and find out a) what does/does not fall into the category of a “qualifying accident”, and b) how much they typically charge drivers who have qualifying accidents on their record, you can at least plan ahead and budget for higher premiums after your accident has happened.
But whether or not it is a qualifying accident is not the only factor which your insurance company uses to determine how much more they will start to charge you for your monthly premium. Other factors include:
Unfortunately for young drivers, motorists you have multiple accidents on their record, and drivers whose accidents happened 3 years ago or sooner will see rates go up more substantially then older drivers with fewer violations whose accidents took place years ago. The one good thing about accidents, as far as your insurance premiums are concerned, is the fact that after about three to five years, these violations no longer count against you in the eyes of your insurance company. So with a little time, driving experience, patience, and caution, you can eventually lower your monthly premium after an accident. It won’t have a lifelong effect on how much you get charged for coverage.