Q

How much do car insurance rates go up after an accident?

A

At $4,182 per year, AIG has the highest rates for drivers with an at-fault accident. State Farm has the lowest rates at $1,445 per year.

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One of the biggest factors impacting your insurance rate is your driving history, which includes the number of accidents you’ve been in over the last three-to-five years.

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An at-fault accident can cause your insurance rates to go up, sometimes significantly, but there are still ways to save money on your car insurance even if you have an accident on your record.

Key takeaways

  • Policygenius found that an at-fault accident will raise your insurance costs by 51.28%, on average.

  • At $4,182 and $4,162 respectively, AIG and Mercury Insurance have the highest rates for drivers with an at-fault accident on their driving record.

  • MAPFRE, State Farm, and USAA have some of the lowest rates for drivers with an at-fault accident on their driving record. MAPFRE’s average rate for an at-fault accident is $1,469, State Farm charges $1,445, and USAA charges $1,533.

  • The lowest available rate for a driver with an at-fault accident is $982 through Root, but they only provide pay-as-you-go coverage, which may not be the best choice for every driver.

Average rate increase after an accident by insurance company

Rates vary widely from company to company and that doesn’t change just because you’ve been in a car accident. Below is a chart of 25 major insurance companies and their average rates before and after an at-fault accident.

CompanyAverage cost before an accidentAverage cost after at-fault accidentPercentage increase
21st Century Insurance$1,434$2,33662.92%
AIG$3,357$4,81243.35%
Allstate$1,974$3,08056.05%
American Family$1,227$2,13173.62%
Amica$1,687$2,69759.86%
Arbella Insurance$1,446$1,91632.49%
Auto-Owners Insurance$1,070$1,77265.64%
Chubb$2,394$3,11930.29%
COUNTRY Financial$1,543$1,95726.83%
CSAA$2,318$3,80564.16%
Erie$1,139$1,54235.41%
Farmers$1,934$2,78744.13%
GEICO$1,187$2,06373.76%
MAPFRE$1,040$1,46941.27%
Mercury Insurance$2,554$4,16262.95%
MetLife$2,431$4,15070.74%
National General$1,819$3,903114.57%
Nationwide$1,463$2,46168.24%
NJ Manufacturers$1,481$1,5403.97%
Progressive$1,758$2,84861.99%
Root$707$98238.90%
State Farm$1,383$1,4454.45%
The Hartford$1,939$3,896100.93%
Travelers$1,580$2,13234.97%
USAA$1,048$1,53346.32%

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Cheapest car insurance companies after an accident

At $4,182 and $4,162 respectively, AIG and Mercury Insurance have the highest rates for drivers with an at-fault accident on their driving record.

On the other hand, there are several companies with some of the lowest rates for drivers with an at-fault accident, including:

  • MAPFRE: $1,569

  • State Farm: $1,445

  • USAA: $1,533 

The lowest available rate for a driver with an at-fault accident is $982 through Root, but they only provide pay-as-you-go coverage, which may not be the best choice for every driver.

How does a not-at-fault accident impact your insurance?

For most people, a not-at-fault accident will make little or no change to your insurance premiums. Some companies may increase your premium by a small percentage, but many companies won’t hold you accountable for an accident that is not your fault.

Also, some states have laws that prevent insurance companies from raising your rates for an accident that is not your fault, including California [1] and Oklahoma [2] .

How to get cheap car insurance after an accident

There are several things you can do to get more affordable car insurance after an at-fault accident, including:

  1. Compare quotes: Your rate will stay the same until your policy renews. You should be given your new rate a few weeks before your renewal date, at which point comparing quotes from various companies is the best way to guarantee you are paying the lowest possible rate.

  2. Take a defensive driving course: Many insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who take a defensive driving course. You can also potentially remove points from your record if you take an approved defensive driving course, which is an excellent way to minimize the impact an at-fault accident can have on your insurance rates.

  3. Make use of accident forgiveness: Insurance companies sometimes offer accident forgiveness to their customers (either for a fee or as a free benefit for customer loyalty) that allows you one at-fault accident without impacting your insurance rates. There are often limits and caveats associated with accident forgiveness coverage, so make sure you know exactly how it may or may not apply in your situation.

  4. Consider adjusting your deductibles: If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, you can raise your deductibles to lower your premium. This means you will pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim, however, so think carefully before raising your deductibles.

Alternative car insurance options for high-risk drivers

Some drivers with multiple violations on their driving record may find that an at-fault accident is enough to have their car insurance company cancel or non-renew their policy. 

Drivers in this situation will need to sign up for their state’s residual market, which is where drivers who have been rejected by the voluntary market can find coverage through the state’s risk sharing plan. This is often referred to as high-risk auto insurance, which is usually more expensive than a standard insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions

How does accident forgiveness work?

If your insurance company offers accident forgiveness, that means you will not see a premium increase or a change in your insurance rates after an at-fault accident. There is usually a limit on the damage caused in the accident to qualify, sometimes as low as $500 or $1,000 dollars, which means that causing more than a minor accident or a fender bender may make you ineligible for accident forgiveness. Typically you have to pay extra for accident forgiveness or your insurer will give it to you after so many years as a loyal customer.

How long does it take for car insurance to go down?

This varies state-to-state, but the average is three-to-five years before an at-fault accident falls off your driving record. The best way to keep your insurance rates low is to drive carefully, especially if you have a moving violation or an accident on your record.

Why do auto insurance rates go up after an accident?

Your insurance company’s rating system is built almost entirely around the likelihood of you filing a claim. For example, certain ZIP codes report more accidents than others, which is why some ZIP codes raise your rates while another would lower them. Being in an accident makes your insurance company think you are more likely to file other claims in the future, which causes your rates to increase.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Rates for driving violations and “poor” credit were determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

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