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Car accidents: How long does it stay on your insurance record? [VIDEO]

  • Auto Insurance
  • Nick Jonathan
  • 7 minutes

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Does a car accident go on your driving record? How long does an accident on record affect your car insurance rates? Find the answers to all this and more here.

If you’ve been following our blogs for a while now, you may already know that people with spotless driving records get the most affordable car insurance rates. Having a car accident or any traffic violations, such as speeding and jumping red lights, can have an adverse impact on your auto insurance premiums. 

Fortunately, car accidents do not stay on your driving record permanently. Hence, understanding when accidents get erased from your records could help you avoid paying too much for car insurance.

How long does a car accident stay on your record?

Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and frightening experience. Not only does it affect the person’s physical and mental health, but it can also leave a huge dent in their finances. Having full coverage car insurance could relieve some of the stress. This type of car insurance assures you that your insurance company will cover the cost of fixing your car as well as foot your medical bills.

However, when a driver is involved in a car accident, car insurance companies raise their premiums. After an accident, insurance providers view the drivers involved as a greater risk. Fortunately, you can remove a car accident from your record over time. The severity of the accident and the state in which it occurred determine the duration it stays on your record.

Read: How to change high-risk driver status?

Type of accident Duration on record
1st minor accident Several car insurance companies offer accident-forgiveness for first-time accidents. Hence, it may not end up in your record at all!
Minor accident 3 years
Hit-and-run 10 years
DUI / DWI 10 years

Many states use a points system to track traffic offenses, with drivers who have committed severe vehicular offenses than other drivers getting more points. However, this system differs from state to state. Hence, a DUI in one state may last longer on your record than in another state. Nonetheless, if you amass an excessive number of points, you may find yourself with a suspended driver’s license.

Read: How long does a DUI stay on your insurance record?

How does a car accident affect your insurance rates?

When it comes to how a car accident can influence your car insurance rates, there are a few factors to consider: 

  • The severity of the accident
  • Who was at fault
  • What kind of traffic offense, if any, were you charged with
  • Age
  • Driving record
  • Location

Since every insurer rates accidents differently, your insurance provider can also affect how much you’ll pay. Though an exact hike in your premium is difficult to predict, it’s safe to assume that if you’re in a car accident, you can expect to pay more for insurance in the future. After some extensive research, our analysts found that car insurance rates are likely to go up by 35% after an accident. But this, of course, depends on factors such as your age, location, and driving history.

Read: Factors that can raise your car insurance premiums

But what if the accident wasn’t your fault?

Even if you weren’t at fault for the car accident in question, you could expect higher premiums in the future, especially so if you live in the 12 states that have no-fault insurance. This is because drivers in these states file personal injury claims against their insurance coverage in the event of an accident. As a result, regardless of whether you caused the accident, your insurer must pay on your behalf.

However, in some states, insurance companies are prohibited from raising your premiums after an accident that was not your fault. In Massachusetts, for example, insurers can only charge you an accident surcharge if you are more than 50% at fault.

You could expect the hike in your premiums following an accident to last three to five years, though this varies by provider and state. As long as you don’t cause any additional accidents, the surcharge will usually reduce over time.

Read: How to get affordable car insurance using the Way app

How to lower your car insurance rates after a no-fault accident?

While car insurance rates tend to go up after an accident, there are several ways in which you could keep them under control. Here are some of the tried-and-tested methods you could employ:

Bundle your insurance policies: If you insure other belongings with your insurance company, you will almost certainly receive a discount on your car insurance. Depending on your insurance provider, your rates will decrease if you cover your home, car, and life with the same company.

Compare insurance rates: If you feel that your insurer doesn’t have the best car insurance rates in your state, shop around for quotes from several different companies. You can do just that by clicking the banner below. Alternatively, you could click on the link to use our car insurance quote tool for free!

Best ever Car Insurance rates from Way.com

Raise your deductible: Raising your deductible will help you save money on auto insurance. Increasing your insurance deductible from $1000 to $1500, for example, can significantly help bring your annual car insurance costs under control.

Ask for discounts: Being on the lookout for auto insurance discounts offered by your insurer is another approach to lower your auto insurance cost. The best car insurance companies offer some or all of the discounts listed below:

  • Discount for taking a defensive driving course
  • Discount for bundling insurance policies
  • Good student discounts
  • Installing anti-theft devices
  • Paying your premium in full

Read: Top 10 cities where your car is likely to get stolen

How to get insurance with an accident on record?

If you’ve had an accident on your driving record, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get car insurance. However, it may limit your coverage possibilities. Consider the severity of the accident, who was at fault, and your past driving record when looking for car insurance after an accident. 

If this is your first accident, finding coverage with a new insurer may not be as tough. Taking the time to shop around and compare the finest auto insurance providers will help you locate a policy that meets your needs and fits within your budget without increasing your costs.

However, if you are convicted of a significant driving infraction, like driving while intoxicated (DUI), your options may be limited. On the other hand, your insurance carrier can submit an SR-22 (Statement of Responsibility) with the DMV.

The SR-22 certifies that you have the bare minimum insurance coverage required by your state. However, keep in mind that not all insurance companies give the option of filing an SR-22, and the majority of them will not insure drivers who have lost their driver’s license.

Check out our blogs for info on finding top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, and affordable car washes near you.


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