Like with most car insurance situations, there's no simple rule for how much your insurance rates go up after an accident. Whether you're at fault or not at fault in an accident, changes in your rates vary by insurance company and by state, says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com.
In addition to worrying if your rate will increase, you may also wonder what to do after an accident.
It's wise to exchange the following information with the other driver: name, name of car owner, names of passengers, vehicle make, model and license plate number and the insurance company name, policy number and number for claims filing. Call the police, and if possible, get a police report.
How much does an at-fault accident raise your rates?
An accident where you're blamed makes pricier premiums much more likely, but not in every situation with every company, Gusner says, which is why it's prudent to shop for the best rates by doing a car insurance comparison.
"One at-fault accident could raise your rates anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent -- or not at all," she says. "Some insurers will let one minor accident slide. However, if the crash and resulting claim isn't being surcharged (where your base rate is raised), you may still pay higher rates due to losing any good driver discount you received for keeping a record clean of violations or accidents."
Have a second at-fault accident and your premiums will probably skyrocket. "That most certainly will hike up your rates," Gusner says. "How much varies greatly again (but policy-holders can expect a jump) from 40 to 150 percent."
Will an accident raise your rates if you're not at-fault?
A crash doesn't always equal more expensive coverage. Gusner, consumer analyst says many insurers may be lenient if it's your first accident and not your fault.
"Whether your rates go up after a not-at-fault accident really varies by insurance company and by state," she explains. "One accident may not cause your rates to rise, but if you have been in multiple accidents, even if you were not-at-fault for each, your insurer may increase your premiums or not renew your policy."