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How Long Does an Accident Affect My Car Insurance Rates?

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Auto insurance policies and their pricing are just as complicated as necessary. There are dozens of factors that work behind the scenes to determine your insurance rates. 

Added on top of it are the state’s rules and regulations, the company’s policies, and the specifics of the policyholder. All these factors make everything about auto insurance unpredictable. 

So when a question like “How long does an accident affect my insurance rates” comes up, the answer is bound to be long, detailed, and never very specific. 

Let’s look at the chaotic world of auto insurance policies and determine how long an accident will keep affecting your car insurance rates and all the associated factors.

How Long Does an Accident Affect My Car Insurance Rates

Factors Affecting the Accident's Effects

Not all car accidents are equal. Some are more dangerous, some are minor, and some can end your driving life. Multiple factors make some accidents more hazardous than others.

Severity of Accident

Based on the accident’s severity, accidents can last as short as three years or as long as ten years. Three years is still not that short of a time, but that’s the best you get when it comes to road accidents. 

For example, minor traffic violations and accidents such as overspeeding, rash driving, or minor fender bender, bumping into someone, hitting the light pole, and causing property damage will stick to your driving record for around three years. 

Severe accidents, such as causing a lot of damage to the other driver’s car or injury to people, take longer to dissolve. These accidents can last for five years or even more. But the worst ones stay even longer. 

Accidents that occur while you are driving under the influence or accidents that result in the permanent injury, disfigurement, or even death of someone, are the most severe accidents, and they last for ten years at least. In some cases, the effects of these accidents are permanent.

State You Live In

Not just the severity of the road accident but the state where you live also plays a significant role in deciding how long the accident will affect your insurance rates. Some states are stringent, while others are not that much. 

Take two very different states in terms of road accident management, for example, California and Florida.

California's Case

California has specified rules that can be found on their DMV website about everything related to car accidents and their effect’s longevity. Most minor accidents stay on the record for three to five years, while severe accidents can last for seven to ten years. 

DUI charges are the ones that last the long; for ten years. Some accidents will only appear on your driving record if the property damage caused by the accident exceeds $750. 

Florida's Case

Let’s come to Florida. Accidents will only come on your driving record if you were issued a ticket for it. If not, then the accident will have almost no effect on your car insurance rates. 

Most accidents last for three to five years, but if you are charged with driving under the influence, the effects will last for as long as 75 years! You heard that right. You’ll feel the effects of drinking and driving for the rest of your life. 

But not all the states are in the extremes. Take the example of Illinois, where most road accidents stay on the driver’s record for around three to five years. If you are looking for excellent car insurance in Illinois, make sure you are searching the right way. 

Search for cheap car insurance in Illinois to find the best auto insurance options at the most affordable rates. This is the only way to counter the effects of accidents on your driving record. 

Apart from the severity of the accident and the state you are living in, the auto insurer’s terms and conditions also affect your insurance rates due to car accidents on your record. 

On average, car insurance companies look at the last three to five years of your driving record to calculate your insurance rates. But if you have had severe accidents or traffic violations such as DUI older than five years, auto insurers may consider that to determine your insurance rates.

How Accidents Affect Insurance Rates

Drivers after the car accident

Car insurance companies are cautious when it comes to deciding insurance rates and assessing the risks of car accidents associated with the policyholder. When a driver has had an accident, the insurance rates shoot up instantly. 

Statistically, if a driver has been in a car accident or made an insurance claim, they are more likely to be in another road accident and make a claim. It makes the driver a high-risk individual. 

To offset the risk of an insurance claim, auto insurers charge high-risk individuals more. The price hike is subjective. It depends on the driving record and the car insurance company. 

For example, Geico increases the rates of insurance by almost $500 after the driver receives a speeding ticket, nearly $1,000 after getting into a car accident, and almost $2,500 once the driver is charged with driving under the influence. 

Nationwide increases the insurance rates by $300 for a speeding ticket, $700 for getting in a road accident, and almost $2,000 for driving under the influence charge. 

The point here is that the price hike depends a lot on the car insurance company. And the best way to make sure that you get affordable insurance rates (and keep your driver’s license) is by following the traffic rules, avoiding speeding and rash driving, and altogether steering away from drinking and driving.

Remember that the best way of saving money on auto insurance policies is by keeping your driving record clean. But if you are scared that your insurance rates will go up to the sky after an accident, consider getting an accident forgiveness add-on with your policy.

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