Vehicle insurance

Here’s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance

You sideswiped a parked car. Or maybe you slammed on the brakes too late and rear-ended the driver ahead of you. Whatever happened, the accident is clearly your fault. Now it’s time to give your insurance a call.

When you file a claim, your auto insurer will pay for the repairs to your vehicle and, if you are at fault in the accident, whatever repairs are needed for other vehicles involved in the collision. Your insurer might also pay for any injuries suffered by you or other drivers.

But filing a claim also comes with a negative: In most cases, it will cause your insurance rates to rise. How much your policy’s rate rises depends on a host of factors.

Mitigating Factors

On its website, Geico says that drivers’ rates don’t automatically rise after an accident. Instead, the insurer looks at several factors before deciding whether to issue a rate increase. These include your driving record, the number of claims you’ve made in the past, and the amount of money that the insurer has paid out to you during the life of your insurance policy.

Esurance also states that insurance rates don’t automatically jump after an accident. The company says that minor accidents and fender benders don’t always equal a rate increase, especially if you have a record of safe driving.

Fault matters, too, of course. Esurance says that if you weren’t at fault in an accident, your premium might not jump.

When Are Rates Most Likely to Jump?

Both Geico and Esurance say that premiums are more likely to increase if you are found at fault in a major accident. Again, your past driving record plays a big role in determining not only if your rate jumps after a major accident, but by how much.

Your insurer, though, might increase your rate even if you weren’t the driver who caused the…