A car accident comes with many costs: medical bills, car repairs, car rental, lost wages, potential lawsuits, and attorney’s fees. To add insult to injury, when all is said and done, you may be faced with an increased insurance premium.
Is this always the case? If so, how much will the premium increase? In hopes of making this situation slightly easier to navigate, below is an overview of what to expect from your insurance company after you get into a car accident.
What Causes Insurance Rates to Increase?
The first thing you need to know is that Florida is a no-fault jurisdiction. What this means is that when you get into an accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company, even if you weren’t at fault. This is how it works:
Florida law requires all car insurance policies in the state to provide what’s known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This coverage is offered to anyone who’s involved in a car accident, and pays for 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages to the following individuals:
- The named insured
- Relatives residing with the named insured
- Persons operating the insured motor vehicle
- Passengers in the motor vehicle
- Other persons struck by the motor vehicle
To receive these benefits, the insured has to file a claim with their insurance company and seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident. Benefits cover up to $10,000 in losses and are payable every two weeks. If your medical bills and lost wages are more than $10,000 and the other party was at fault, you’d have to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover additional damages.
Since the benefits are payable regardless of who was at fault, your insurance rate should not go up just for filing a claim. The only way the insurer can increase rates is if there is information regarding the accident from which the insurer can make a good faith determination that you were substantially at fault for the accident.
By the same token, if you were at fault, then yes, your rates will likely increase.
Why Does Insurance Go Up After a Car Accident?
The answer to this question is not clear cut. There are many factors that come into play when insurance companies make a determination as to whether or not your rates will go up. These include:
- Your driving history
- The extent of injuries
- The extent of property damage
- Who was at fault for the accident
The more money they have to pay when you file a claim, the higher the likelihood that your insurance rates will increase. The same thing applies if you are frequently involved in car accidents. This is because insurance companies try to minimize their risk, and repeated or expensive claims means that you are a high risk to insure.
Some insurance companies understand that even if a person is a careful driver, accidents happen, so they offer accident forgiveness to entice customers to remain with them for coverage. This type of protection varies from company to company. For example, some will offer it for a first-time at-fault accident, or if you’ve been a customer of theirs for several years, or if you pay an additional monthly premium.
Call Us If You Were Involved in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
When you get into a car accident, the first thing to do is seek medical attention. The second most important thing is to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible in order to discuss the details of your crash and determine the best course of action.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.