Car insurance is something for which we pay and hope we’ll never need. Moreover, it’s amazing how many people dutifully remit monthly premiums for protection in the event of an accident, then avoid availing themselves of it when one actually happens.
As most of you are probably aware, most people are concerned the cost of their insurance coverage will increase to an intolerable level in the wake of filing a claim. However, this is a mistake. There are a number of things that you can do toward minimizing an insurance rate increase after an accident.
An Increase Is Not a Certainty
Before we get into it though, certain concerns over rate increases may be unfounded. You might experience no change in your rate at all if the accident was not your fault. This is especially true when it’s the first claim you’ve ever filed and your driving record is also free of moving violations.
On the other hand, if you are at fault — but everything else is cool — the worst thing that will happen is you’ll forfeit your good driver discount for around three years or so. This could result in as much as a twenty five percent increase in your premiums.
However, there are ways to mitigate this too — read on.
Ask About Accident Forgiveness
This is good thing about which to ask when you’re shopping for coverage or to consider adding to an existing policy.
Some companies provide accident forgiveness automatically to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Others will add it after you’ve been claim-free with them for a number of years.
Still others offer it for an additional small fee each month.Basically, accident forgiveness, as the name implies, means insurers will not raise rates after a single accident, assuming the rest of your driving record is clean.
Carry a Higher Deductible
Insurance companies generally insist upon deductible amounts when they provide coverage. In other words, they’ll want you to pay for part of the claim if you have to file one. The more risk you’re willing to take on, the lower your policy’s rate will be.
Amounts usually range from $250 up to $2000. You can consider increasing yours to $500, $1,000, $1,500 or even $2,000 if you’re currently on the lower end of the spectrum. Be careful to avoid pushing it out farther than you can realistically afford to pay if something goes awry though.
Go to Driving School
Just as traffic school can get most traffic violations forgiven — and kept off of your driving record — taking a driving class could convince your insurer to cut you some slack. The key here is to be proactive about it.
In other words, don’t ask and see if they’ll give you a break. Enroll on your own and tell them you’ve done so when the course is complete. The good news here is even if you don’t get a discount from it, you’ll be a safer driver, which could help you avoid having another accident in close succession.
Look for a More Affordable Car to Insure
Some autos do cost more to cover than others. If you’re going to have to buy a car anyway, look for one of the least expensive models to insure. While you might think the cars in that category are boringly inexpensive, a number of interesting models can be found under the heading ofthe cheapest cars to insure.
The good news is you won’t see the increase until it’s time to renew the policy, if an increase is imposed at all. You can then shop around for a better deal if this turns out to be the case. Some companies look upon a single accident with a more benevolent expression than others.
What’s more, a number of insurers offer lower rates for drivers who will allow the installation of tracking devices in their cars. Do so and you’ll pay according to usage — rather than a blanket rate. Another play here is to bundle your coverage with your homeowner’s and/or renter’s insurance coverage if the company will grant you a discount for doing so.
Whatever route you take, honesty really is the best “policy” when it comes to minimizing an insurance rate increase after a car accident. Any new company to which you submit an application will investigate your record, so don’t lie. Your existing company will often do so as well when it’s time to renew. Keeping accident information from them could get you dropped altogether.