How Will a Claim Affect My Insurance Premium

Hey, you know what’s worse than getting into any kind of car accident? Getting into a car accident and then worrying about how filing a necessary claim could affect your insurance rate. We’ve all been there, stressing over the potential consequences of what feels like a tarnished reputation. While you can’t predict exactly how your coverage may or may not change following a claim, it’s important to know the possibilities.

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Will Filing an Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates?

The overarching rule when it comes to the impact of claims on coverage is that every policyholder’s situation is unique. That means depending on your circumstances, your premium may or may not change. A few contributing factors insurers consider when deciding the impact an accident may have on your rate:

  • The terms of your policy
  • Whether you were at fault for the accident
  • How many claims you’ve filed in the past
  • Insurance regulations in your state

While there’s no such thing as “full coverage,” your specific policy is likely a combination of coverage that includes:

  • State-required liability or no-fault insurance to cover any bodily injury and property damages to others if you cause an accident
  • Collision coverage that pays for damages that affect your vehicle in an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage for things like vandalism, theft, and more.

No matter what kind of coverage you have, the fine print matters: Be sure to review your individual policy and get familiar with the terms and conditions so you’re not surprised in the event of a post-accident premium hike. Another thing to note is that your coverage and any potential pricing adjustments also could rely on the accuracy of facts that you, as the insured, present to your insurer when you purchase your policy. It is critical to keep your insurer regularly updated about any changes – like additional drivers, or vehicle updates – to avoid any potential coverage issues or delays in claims processing.

Your driving track record is really what insurers consider the biggest predictor of your future driving behavior, so the more claims you rack up, the more likely your premium is to rise, especially if you’ve been at-fault for accidents in the past. If you’re filing a current claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault, your insurer will take that information into account, but there no guarantees regarding your future rate. If you were at fault, however, you should know that certain behaviors are generally considered a lot more serious—and therefore more reprehensible—than others. Reckless or impaired driving, for example, may result in a major price increase (or even a cancellation of coverage, depending on the terms of your policy).

Whether you’re rear-ended in a minor fender bender or involved in a major pileup as the result of your own actions, it’s essential to report the accident to your insurer. This will help provide your carrier with all the information they need to properly investigate the issue and do everything possible to protect you if the other driver involved files their own claim.

The most important takeaway is to find an insurance provider who truly has your back. If you’re ready to make a switch, visit Metromile today for a free quote.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.