If you are at fault in a car accident, you likely will pay a big price. In fact, rates jump an average of 31% after a single at-fault accident involving more than $2,000 in damage, according to rate data from Insurance.com.
However, the toll is higher in some states than others.
On average, Insurance.com says you will see your annual costs jump most in the following five states:
- Michigan: $3,502 average rate following an accident claim (which reflects a 48% average increase)
- Louisiana: $3,348 (50%)
- California: $3,081 (73%)
- Florida: $3,045 (35%)
- Delaware: $2,592 (41%)
By comparison, the states where drivers have the lowest rates after an at-fault accident — Maine, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and Idaho — all have average rates below $1,295 in the wake of such a claim.
In its analysis, Insurance.com examined rates for a driver of a 2017 Honda Accord from six major insurers in 10 ZIP codes in every state. The driver, age 40, had good credit and full coverage with a $500 deductible.
“Increases shown are an average from the base rate of a driver with a clean record,” according to Insurance.com
Insurance.com notes that insurers are most likely to impose accident-related rate increases at the policy renewal period following the claim. The rate hike is likely to remain in place after a period of time that varies by state — three years in some places, five years in others.
Penny Gusner, Insurance.com consumer analyst, says:
“Drivers often underestimate the financial pinch of an accident claim because it can affect your rate for years. In addition to the increase, you would also lose any good driver discount. But the good news is that if you’re slapped with a higher rate after an accident, it’s not forever.”
Finding a better car insurance rate
Looking for a better deal on car insurance? Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson found one in just a few minutes by using the service Gabi. As Stacy reported in “How I Found $546 in Car Insurance Savings in Under 10 Minutes.”
“I’m currently insuring two cars with USAA at a combined cost of about $2,400. Gabi said Progressive could give me the same coverage for 22% less, saving me $546. All I had to do is give Gabi the go-ahead and my driver’s license number. Then, Gabi would confirm the rate and even do the switching for me.”
Help from services such as Gabi or The Zebra is especially welcome if you live in a state where car insurance is costly. For more on such places, check out “5 States Where Drivers Pay the Most for Car Insurance.”
How do you cut car insurance costs? Share your tips in comments below or on our Facebook page.