Will A Car Accident Affect My Insurance Rate?
Nashville Car Accident Attorneys Who Care About You, Not The Insurance Company
The damage is done. Your car is totaled and the driver suffered injuries as a result of your actions. Now you’re probably curious if your car insurance rates will increase.
Car insurance is meant to protect you and cover potential damages that may have occurred in an accident. Whether you caused an accident or were the victim of one, it’s essential to know what your insurance policy states.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck, the Nashville car accident attorneys at Mitch Grissim & Associates can help you with your legal claim.
How Do Car Insurance Companies Define An Accident?
The Value Penguin shared an article that discusses multiple facets of insurance rates by looking at the five largest car insurance companies. Each insurance company has a slightly different definition of what they define as an accident. To give you an example, State Farm and GEICO have similar perspectives:
“Totaling $750 or more under property damage liability coverage and collision coverage combined. The accident must also be at least 50% the driver’s fault. GEICO calls them “qualifying accidents,” and similar to State Farm, has a monetary threshold. In this case, however, for certain “risk groups,” the threshold is $500 instead of $750. GEICO also maintains the 50% at fault limit.”
What is not Defined as an Accident?
Value Penguin shared State Farm’s list of what they do not define as an accident. According to State Farm, “An accident shall not be considered at-fault or chargeable if the applicant demonstrates…”
- It was caused by contact with birds, animals, missiles, or falling objects.
- They were lawfully parked.
- They were reimbursed by, or on behalf of, a person responsible for the accident or has judgment against such person.
- They were struck in the rear by another vehicle and have not been convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident.
- They were involved in a “hit-and-run” accident and reported the incident to the proper authorities within 24 hours.
- They were not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident, but the operator of the other automobile involved did receive a moving traffic violation.
If any of these situations apply, it may not be categorized as an automobile accident. However, what is defined as an accident may vary from state to state and will depend on your insurance company.
Your Rates Don’t Always Increase
Myth: Car insurance rates will always go up after an accident.
Truth: Car insurance rates don’t always increase after an accident.
In some cases, minor collisions may not cause your rates to increase, especially if your driving record shows you’re usually a safe driver.
Some insurance companies have additional perks you can add to your policy, such as accident forgiveness.
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness that can protect your driving record from being impacted by the insurance company and their at-fault rating system. One thing to remember is that not every accident will be forgiven, so it’s important to know your insurance company’s policy and procedures for accident forgiveness.
Surcharges: The Most Overlooked Factor When Shopping for Insurance
When people shop for car insurance, they often overlook surcharges, which is what you will be charged to your insurance premium after an event such as an accident, ticket, or citation.
If you’re uncertain about what your surcharge fee may be, talk with your insurance company about what those charges entail. After-accident rates will vary on the type of auto insurance you have and what your policy states.
How Do You Decrease Your Rates?
Surcharges can be added to your insurance policy after an accident. But, there are ways to potentially offset the pricing such as:
- Increasing the deductible.
- Finding ways to improve your overall credit score.
- Trying not to file too many claims.
The greatest method for decreasing your rates, however, is preventing further accidents. This is why it’s essential to drive safely at all times.
Automobile accidents happen often so it’s important that all drivers on the roadways practice driver safety while operating a car. Below are several tips to help you drive safe:
- Keep eyes focused on the road- It’s easy to become distracted while driving. Keep your eyes on the road at all times and avoid texting, talking, and reaching for items.
- Be a defensive driver- It’s important not to assume other drivers will make the right safety choices.
- Obey traffic laws- This can include using turn signals, hazard lights when necessary, and not running red lights.
A safe driver doesn’t just focus on their own safety but strives to ensure the safety of other drivers on the roadways as well.
5 Things You Should Do After an Accident
- Check to see if anyone is injured.
- Call for help.
- Ask for contact information.
- Seek medical attention.
- Contact one of our car accident lawyers to help you with your injury claim.
Car Insurance Requirements in Tennessee
Car insurance requirements will vary depending upon the state you reside. In Tennessee, residents are required to have liability insurance. One thing to remember is that you also have multiple options you can add to your policy for additional protection. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) lists the legal requirements you must possess in order to drive:
Required minimum limits for liability include:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or death per accident
- $15,000 for property damage
- Uninsured motorists
- Medical payments
- Rental car
Common Causes of Accidents
Car accidents can occur for numerous reasons such as:
- Barriers and guardrails
- Highway construction zones
- Off and on ramps
- Shoulder design
- Talking on the phone
- Changing radio stations
- Eating or drinking
- Other people riding in the vehicle
Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
- Running red lights
- Failure to use turn signals
- Driving with your lights turned off
Do I Have a Case?
In some situations, people are unsure if they have an accident case. Only an experienced and qualified attorney can determine whether you have the grounds to take legal action. The injuries you have suffered have to be a direct result of another individual’s negligence. In other words, you must prove that their failure to implement safety on the roadways caused you to suffer injuries or property damages.
Compensation: Special Damages and General Damages
In most motor vehicle accidents, if you have suffered injuries or damages to your vehicle, you will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will then calculate an amount they believe you should receive to cover the damages and any physical injuries.
This can include lost wages, property damage, and medical bills. These types of damages are typically known as “economic damages.”
Also known as “non-economic suffering,” general damages cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and shortened lifespan.
Once the insurance company has calculated both the special and general damages, they may offer you a settlement.
Our law firm highly recommends that you consult an attorney after an accident because insurance companies tend to low-ball you initially in hopes that you will settle for the first amount offered.
We understand how insurance companies work. When you hire one of our Nashville car accident attorneys, you can trust that we will not let you settle for an amount lower than what you deserve for your injuries and any damages that resulted from someone else’s negligent actions. Don’t let the insurance companies trick you into believing their first offer is best.
Injured in an Automobile Accident? Call Mitch Grissim & Associates
At Mitch Grissim & Associates, we are devoted to serving our community by providing quality legal representation and compassion for each person’s situation. We strive to help victims get the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Your recovery is the most important factor for us. Receiving compensation for injuries you suffered at someone else’s hands can make the stressful recovery process a little easier.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of an accident, call our law office today at 615-255-9999 or fill out our free consultation form.