How a Car Accident Could Affect Your Insurance Policy
When a person experiences an auto accident, there will be many things to resolve. There could be medical bills, property damage, and potential legal actions to be taken.
It’s also possible for an individual to experience an increase in their insurance rates. Drivers in Nevada need to understand there is a broad range of factors involved with an insurance company increasing premiums after an accident. Here’s what you need to know about how an auto accident could affect your insurance.
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The circumstances of an accident will heavily influence possible insurance rate increases. After a car accident, it’s unlikely that your rates will increase instantly without careful consideration into the particular circumstances of the incident.
An increase will depend on the insurance company’s policy involving rate increases based on accidents. Factors including your age, past driving history, and who is at fault will be considered when it comes to determining premium increases.
Nevada is an at-fault car insurance state. This means that in Nevada, the payment of injuries and property damage after an accident is determined by who is identified as being responsible for the accident. There are certain methods used to determine who is at fault in an accident. Although police don’t go to every traffic accident, when they do go, a police report will be filed. It’s possible the report will provide details about the incident and the officer’s opinion concerning who was at-fault for the accident.
A police report may also state the law enforcement official was unable to determine responsibility for the accident. Once a claim is filed with an insurance company, it’s assigned to an adjuster. They will investigate the accident claim by researching the accident, interviewing witnesses, examining medical reports, and analyzing vehicle damage. An insurance company will usually follow the determination of their adjuster concerning who is at-fault for a car accident.
Time Between Accidents
An insurance company could view your first accident as a possible indication of future behavior. One of the factors taken into consideration with an insurance policy rate increase is how much time passes between a policyholder’s first accident and their next one.
If you have an accident as a young driver and then maintain an excellent driving record for several years, your vehicle insurance rates will gradually decrease. Should you get in a second accident a short time after your first one, your increased rates will be in place for a much longer time.
The gravity of an auto accident could influence a policyholder’s rate increase. Increases will be different for a vehicle involved in a fender bender than they will be for a car that’s been totaled. The extent of a vehicle’s damage influences a premium increase as well as the determination of which driver is at fault.
If an insurance company’s policyholder is determined not to be at fault for a serious accident, and the other driver’s insurance company agrees to cover the damage, the rate increase will be minimal. Most insurance companies have a particular threshold for expenses they are willing to pay for damages. Once this limit is reached, a policyholder’s premiums automatically increase.
It’s important to realize insurance companies are permitted to use information obtained from your driving record to determine insurance rates. As a Nevada driver, you will have your driving history recorded by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It will include a history of your driving violations, traffic citations as well as driver’s license points and vehicle accidents.
The DMV can provide two types of driving history reports. One is a 3-year history, and the other is a 10-year history. The majority of driving violations will stay on your record for a three-year period. More serious violations such as driver’s license suspensions and DUI’s will be on your driving record for a minimum of ten years.
Rate increase Amounts
Should your insurance company decide to increase your rates, it will happen when the policy is about to renew. Depending on your driving and insurance claim history, a rate increase could be as high as 50 percent or as low as 4 percent.
It’s possible for you to lose your safe driving and other discounts after an accident. The loss of these discounts will also increase your premium. The length of time rate increases remain in place will be determined by your ability to avoid getting tickets, prevent accidents, and maintain a safe driving record.
Many vehicle insurance companies offer an accident forgiveness policy for their customers. This incentive is usually extended to drivers with good driving records and applies to the first accident a driver is in.
These programs guarantee that a driver will not experience an increase in policy premiums after an accident, regardless of who is determined to be at fault.
It’s important to remember that a car insurance company will always try to pay as little as possible for an accident claim. These companies will also try to justify the highest possible rate increase on an insurance policy. If you experience an auto accident, it could have long-lasting effects on your life. One of the last things you need to worry about is dealing with an unfair rate increase from your insurance company, that’s why it’s important to contact one of our Las Vegas or Summerlin car accident attorneys today.
If you are not familiar with insurance companies, and the law, you could be intimidated by an adjuster and insurance company lawyers. In these situations, you should contact an attorney. They will know the insurance claim process, and how to challenge an adjuster’s determinations and any rates increases. A free consultation with Adam S. Kutner can help you determine what’s the best course of action for your particular situation.