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Pop quiz: Can your car insurance company raise your rate after you get into an accident that wasn’t your fault?
Unless you live in states such as California or Oklahoma — where this practice is prohibited by consumer protections — the answer is “yes,” according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
The nonprofit organization recently studied this topic by analyzing premium quotes from five of the nation’s largest car insurance companies. It found that four of those companies have raised premiums after not-at-fault accidents at least some of the time.
- Progressive: Average premium increase of 16.6 percent for not-at-fault accidents (excluding California and Oklahoma)
- Geico: 14.1 percent
- Farmers: 11.1 percent
- Allstate: 4.8 percent
The fifth company, State Farm, never increased premiums after not-at-fault accidents.
How much your premium stands to increase after this type of accident also varies depending on where you live and how much you make, the CFA found.
For its study, the CFA analyzed quotes from 10 cities — and found that the average premium hike after a not-at-fault accident varied from $0 to $401:
- Queens, New York City: Average premium increase of $401 for not-at-fault accidents
- Baltimore: $258
- Minneapolis: $213
- Jacksonville, Florida: $132
- Kansas City: $123
- Jersey City, New Jersey: $104
- Chicago: $98
- Atlanta: $60
The other two cities, Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, saw no increase because such a move is prohibited in their respective states.
To determine how different income levels affect premium increases, CFA got quotes for two hypothetical drivers. Both were 30-year-old women who had been licensed for 14 years and drove a 2006 Toyota Camry for a total of 10,000 miles per year. They also had the same address. Their only differences were socioeconomic.
Here’s what CFA found:
- Higher-income drivers: Average premium increase of $78, an average penalty of 6.6 percent, after not-at-fault accidents
- Moderate-income drivers: $208, 9.6 percent
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