How Much Will My Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

There were nearly 6 million car accidents in the U.S. in 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Accident rates have been increasing in recent years and experts point to everything from more distracted driving to rising temperatures caused by climate change.

After the initial shock wears off, the real surprise after a collision can be how much your insurance premiums go up — even if you weren’t at fault. 

Your driving record is only one factor determining how much you pay for car insurance, but even a single accident can have a major impact.

Car insurance after an accident

Shop for the best car insurance rates

How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

Allstate Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Allstate offers auto insurance customers a total of 14 discounts in addition to a pay-per-mile car insurance program. It offers quotes by phone, through an agent, or online. The company also offers a number of other insurance products to bundle your coverage and save.

Erie Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Erie Insurance offers auto insurance for many different situations and affordable premiums. Several different coverages allow you to customize your policy.

How long will an accident affect my car insurance?

On average, a car accident will remain on your record for three to five years, according to Moody. The exact amount varies by state, however: It’s one year in Pennsylvania, while in Massachusetts, it’s six. 

Insurance companies can review your driving record by checking your Motor Vehicle Report. It’s generated by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and lists any moving violations, traffic tickets and accidents.

If you made a claim for repairs stemming from an accident, it would appear on your CLUE report.

Will my rate go up even if the accident wasn’t my fault?

How to prevent a rate increase after an accident? 

If you’re involved in a one-car accident or a minor fender-bender with another driver, you may be tempted to pay for repairs out of pocket rather than report it to your insurance company.

While this may keep your rates from increasing, if your provider finds out about it later, it could be considered non-disclosure and could result in your policy being invalidated. In some cases, you don’t have a choice: In New York, for example, an accident report must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles if damages exceed $1,000 or if anyone is injured.

Many auto insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, however, either as part of a standard policy or as a separate rider you can purchase. This prevents insurance rates from going up after an accident.

“They will typically forgive your first at-fault accident, so your rate won’t increase because of the incident,” said Friedlander.

Each insurer handles accident forgiveness differently: With Progressive, a small claim (under $500) won’t raise your rates in most states. If you remain accident-free for five years, even a larger accident can be forgiven.

Read our Progressive auto insurance review  

You can also purchase additional accident forgiveness benefits when you start or renew your Progressive auto policy and have one eligible accident forgiven per policy period.  

Progressive Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Progressive offers a number of lines of insurance to allow for bundling, and convenient tools to help you keep your coverage in your budget.

While accident forgiveness comes standard with certain policies, a carrier may charge extra for it — as much as 9% of your premium. That’s considerably less than the 40% bump you could face after a crash, but it’s wasted money if you don’t use the benefit.

There are also states, like California, that don’t allow insurers to offer accident forgiveness. 

How can I lower my insurance after an accident?

If your rates do go up after a crash, there are several ways you can work at lowering them. 

Make changes to your coverage

The first thing to do if you’re hit with an accident surcharge is to see where else in your coverage you can make cuts. 

If your state doesn’t require personal injury protection or medical payment coverage, you may decide to drop them. And if you have an older car, especially one that is fully paid for, you could consider dropping collision or comprehensive insurance.  USAA has the best rates for liability insurance, but is only available to veterans and military families. Among national carriers, State Farm has some of the cheapest minimum coverage policies.

USAA Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    USAA’s auto insurance is limited to service members, veterans and their families but it is available in all 50 states and Washington D.C. In addition to low rates and outstanding customer service, it has coverage options for unique circumstances, such as active deployment.

State Farm Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    State farm is one of the largest auto insurers based on market share and has an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction. It offers 13 discounts, including ones for safe driving and young drivers.

Another option is Raising your deductible, which usually lowers your monthly premium: Upping your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce the cost of full coverage by up to 30%, according to the Insurance Information Institute, while upping it to $1,000 could save you 40% or more. 

Shop for new insurance

“The market is so competitive right now, you don’t need to be stuck with your current insurer if they hit you with a high accident surcharge,” said Friedlander. “You’ll get different quotes from different companies, no matter what your driving record is like. It doesn’t cost you anything — shopping for insurance is free.”  

Geico and Progressive are among our top choices for high-risk drivers, with lower-than-average rates for people with at-fault accidents on their records.

Geico Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Geico coverage and services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and there are 16 different types of discounts available. In addition to the standard coverage options, Geico offers various optional add-ons, such as emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance.

Progressive Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Progressive offers a number of lines of insurance to allow for bundling, and convenient tools to help you keep your coverage in your budget.

Look for discounts

“If someone has an accident surcharge, they should try to take advantage of as many discounts as possible,” said Friedlander. “There are a lot of different programs you can qualify for [and] you can get significant savings.”

Farmers Insurance has 23 discounts available to auto insurance customers, the most of any provider we’ve reviewed. Not all discounts are available in every state, though, and some can’t be combined. 

Farmers Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Farmers Insurance offers a whopping 23 discounts for auto insurance and issue policies in every state except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Common discounts include:

  • Bundling discount: Getting your auto insurance from the same company that handles your homeowners, life or other policy will often score you a discount. You can save up to 20% by bundling home and auto with Farmers or Nationwide, while Amica says customers can save up to 30%.

Amica Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Amica offers a variety of auto insurance policies to fit your coverage needs. The company also offers a total of 18 discounts, including discounts for bundling and for students.

  • App available

  • Safety device discount: Airbags, anti-lock brakes, automatic seatbelts, daytime running lights and other protective equipment can save you as much as 23% with Geico.
  • Defensive driver discount:  If you’ve been in an accident, a driver’s ed course is a good way to prevent another one. American Family Insurance offers drivers 55 and older up to 10% for completing an approved class.

American Family Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    American Family offers affordable car insurance with more than a dozen discounts to further lower your premium. While its not available nationwide, American Family offers quotes online or through an agent, depending on your preference.

  • App available

  • Paperless billing: Going online is an easy way to save on insurance. Auto-Owners will offer you a discount if you go paperless and set up automatic payments. 

Auto-Owners Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Auto-Owners offers affordable premiums with high customer satisfaction ratings. There are 12 different types of discounts available, as well as various other types of insurance besides auto.

Improve your credit

Actuarial studies suggest that how people manage their finances is a good indicator of how likely they are to file an insurance claim. So in most states, insurance companies use your credit history to determine your rates. (California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Utah prohibit or restrict the use of credit-based insurance scores.)

Paying credit card bills and other debts on time and in full and reducing the amount of credit you’re using are simple ways to improve your score and lower your premiums. 

Experian Boost™ is a free service that reports things that wouldn’t normally be seen by credit reporting agencies — like rent, phone and subscription service payments. According to the company, users whose scores improve see their FICO score go up an average of 13 points. 

Experian Boost™

On Experian’s secure site

  • Cost

  • Average credit score increase

    13 points, though results vary

  • Credit report affected

  • Credit scoring model used

Results will vary. See website for details.

Buy a different car

After an accident, trading your vehicle for a less flashy ride could easily lower your rates. 

“Insurers base your premiums on how much it costs to repair your car,” says Moody. “Even if your insurance has gone up due to an accident, your overall rate should be lower because the insurance company’s risk has been minimized.” 

Get the best rate for a car loan

FAQs

How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

How much your rates will increase depends on your age, driving history, where you live and other factors.

How long does an accident stay on your driving record?

Insurance companies generally only look at the past three to five years, though your state may keep a record of your driving for considerably longer. In New York, for example, an accident involving intoxicated driving can stay on your record permanently.

What is accident forgiveness?

Many leading insurance companies will let you have one accident without raising your premiums. You may need to go a certain number of years without a crash to earn accident forgiveness, or there may be a dollar amount maximum for damages in order for the incident to be “forgiven.”

Will my insurance go up if the accident wasn’t my fault?

A not-at-fault accident could cause your rates to increase, though not as much as if you were responsible. Factors include where you live, the kind of insurance you have, the extent of the damage and if the other driver was fully insured. Some states bar insurers from hiking rates following a not-at-fault accident.

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*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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