Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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Were you recently involved in an accident? Are you worried about how much your auto insurance will go up after the accident?

An Automobile Accident Could Have a Big or Minimal Impact on Your Premium

Depending on the circumstances, an accident could have little impact on your insurance, or it could cause your monthly premium to soar. While the overall impact of the accident on your premium largely depends on your particular insurance provider, there are some things that you should know to help you determine how much more you’ll be paying for insurance each month.

Graph showing how much your auto insurance increases after two types of accidents.

Note: These are only approximates for a driver with a $650 dollar premium. Each accident scenario is different and your rates will vary.

Regardless of who your provider is, there are some things you can do to mitigate the impact of the accident on your monthly bill.

In order to help you figure out how much your car insurance will increase after an accident, we’ve identified for you below the various factors that will influence the impact of the accident on your premium. In addition, we’ve also laid out some strategies that you can take to counter any increase you may face.

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Insurance Companies Are Going to Find Who is At Fault?

Being at fault or not at fault could make all the difference when determining how much your car insurance will increase after an accident. If you were at fault, then there’s little doubt that you will see an increase in your car insurance when it comes time to renew.

Graph showing states with the highest increase in car insurance after an At-fault accident.

Note: The rate increase is the amount on top of your previous premium. For example, if your premium was $1,200 in New Mexico, then it would be $2,111 approximately if in involved in an At-Fault accident.

Your insurance provider will see the at-fault label on your record, and will consider you to be an accident-prone, risky driver.

If you weren’t at fault, you may still face an increase in your premium. However, you stand a much better chance at fighting that increase than you would have if you were considered to be at fault.

Car insurance companies are not supposed to increase your premium if you were not identified as being at fault.

When is a Driver Considered “Not” At-Fault in the Event of a Car Accident?

 Accident is not "At-Fault" if an insured or applicant can demonstrate...
1They were lawfully parked
2They were struck in the rear by another vehicle and has not been convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident
3It was caused by contact with birds, animals, missiles, or falling objects
4They were hit by a “hit-and-run” driver if the accident is reported to the proper authorities within 24 hours
5They were not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident, but the operator of the other automobile involved in the accident was convicted of a moving traffic violation
6They were reimbursed by, or on behalf of, a person responsible for the accident or has judgment against such person.
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Information credit to State Farm

That doesn’t mean, though, that they won’t at least try to bump your rate up a bit. That is why it is so important to make sure that you keep any and all documentation that you have regarding the accident.

If need be, contact the police department to get a copy of the accident report, on which they state who was at fault. With that documentation, you should, in most cases, eliminate any rate increase that was added due to the accident.

Average Increase in Auto Insurance Premiums by State after an At-Fault Accident

StateAverage annual rate increase after at-fault auto accidentApproximate % Increase
Illinois $62526%
Massachusetts $37120%
New Hampshire$39524%
New Jersey$44126%
New Mexico$91141%
New York$1109%
North Carolina $42920%
North Dakota$44720%
Ohio $26818%
Rhode Island$68234%
South Carolina$73237%
South Dakota $43723%
Wash. D.C.*$1,12461%
West Virginia$32719%
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*District of Columbia with the highest average increase after a car accident.

What Was the Severity of the Automobile Accident? A Fender-Bender or Three Car Pile Up?

The amount that your car insurance increases largely depends on the severity of the accident according to Insure.com A major collision that does extensive damage to your vehicle will cost your insurance company more money fulfilling your claim. As a result, your car insurance premium is likely to face a greater increase following your accident.

Chart showing the states with the Lowest increase in car insurance after an at-fault accident.

On the other hand, a minor accident may have little to no impact on your car insurance premium, depending on what you do following the accident.

If you opt to file a claim, there’s a good chance that your insurance premiums will face a minimal increase.

On the other hand, if the damages don’t exceed the amount that you’d pay for your deductible, you may be better off not filing a claim. In that case, you won’t see any kind of increase when it comes time to renew.

How Clean is Your Driving Record? Previous Accidents in the Past is Not Good

Your driving record often says a lot about how you are as a driver. If you’ve been involved in numerous accidents or you’ve been convicted of multiple speeding infractions, you’re going to be looked upon as being a risky driver.

If this most recent accident was not your first, you may see a massive rate increase on your car insurance bill, particularly in the accident earned you a risky driver label. If this accident was your first, you’ll still see an increase.

Your car insurance provider, though, may consider it to be a freak incident, and give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming it won’t happen again.

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Do You Have a Top Tier Insurance Provider or Shady One?

According to CBS News report, studies have shown that certain insurance providers are more likely to hit you with a greater rate increase than others following an accident.

Some providers will increase your monthly premium by as much as 35 percent, while others may hit you with an increase as low as 10 percent.

Below is a table:

Insurance CompanyPremium Before AccidentPremium After Accident
Liberty Mutual$812$1,218
Farmers Insurance$904$1,356
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Note: These are typical rate increases for top insurance companies for a 24 Y/O male, driving a 2015 Honda Accord, with no previous moving violations. Your premium increase may be lower or higher depending on location, type of accident, and other factors insurance firms will consider.

The best thing that you can do prior to, or immediately after an accident is to contact your insurance provider and ask them what kind of increase you will face.

All is not lost once your insurance rates have increased following an accident. There are some actions that you can take to counter the increase and reduce your monthly premium.

You Might Have to Switch Insurance Providers or They Might Drop You

As we have already mentioned – the increase that you’ll face following an accident varies with each provider. That means that there’s a good chance you’ll be able to lower your premium by changing companies.

Making the switch is easy. Simply fill in your zip code in the quote comparison tool at the top of this page, and then answer a few basic questions. You’ll get quotes from all of the leading insurance providers in your area, and can even initiate the change online.

Take a Driver Safety Course to Offset the Increase in Auto Premiums

If this accident was your first, then you may be able to offset part of the increase by taking traffic safety courses offered by a local driving school. Your employer might even offer these classes for free.

Depending on your provider, you may receive as much as a 10 percent discount on your premium, potentially eliminating any increase you would have received from your first accident.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.