One of the most unfortunate consequences of a vehicular accident is the impact on your insurance premium. Following a car collision that leads to an insurance claim and auto body repair, you can expect an increase in your rates. Your insurance company can even raise your rates for as long as five years after a collision even if you don’t file a claim.
In this article, you’ll find out why insurance rates go up when you get auto body repair done, and what you can do to keep those numbers down.
Why do insurance rates go up after an accident?
Rates of auto insurance usually increase after an accident due to certain factors:
1. Additional Risk
According to historical data, drivers who have been involved in a collision that required auto body repair are more likely to get into another accident. These drivers present more risk–and possibly higher expenses–to insurance firms than do clients who have clean driving records.
As a result, the insurance company takes this added risk into account and increases premiums for drivers involved in previous collisions.
2. Fees Related to Filing a Claim
An at-fault accident can trigger surcharges that include the fees associated with the claims representatives, cost of the claim adjuster’s time, as well as the costs of labor and parts. These fees are not typically included in your monthly premium, and thus increase once you start using them.
Other factors that can affect your insurance premium after an auto body repair job include the damage incurred, who was at fault, and the severity of the accident.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, you have a good chance of not having increased insurance premium rates. On the other hand, if you have had a series of accidents in the past–whether you were at fault or not–it may lead to a bump in your insurance bill.
How to Avoid Increased Insurance Rates
Protecting yourself from increased rates is possible as long as you keep a clean driving record. If you have had claims in the past, it is likely that the more claims you have, the more likely you’ll see a spike in your premiums. That’s why many people make an effort to maintain a clean driving record – so they’ll enjoy its benefits in the long run.
For instance, a six-month premium worth $300 can increase by as much as 20 percent after an accident. This means your next six-month premium would cost $380–an increase of $80 from your previous one. The difference would result in $160 each year, or $480 in a span of three years.
What’s even worse is what happens once you have two claims. Not all insurance companies are the same but you can expect to notice, approximately, a 50-percent increase in your insurance premium. To give you an idea of how much of an impact that makes, your annual premium of, say, $800 would go up to a whopping $1,200 each year.
If you happen to be the claimant (the person not responsible), not only do you have the right to take your car to a collision repair shop of your choice, but the insured, or the one responsible, will be required to pay for any auto body repair services you need.