Accidents happen to all of us. It is required by law to have auto insurance if you own a vehicle.
Insurance will have us covered when we make mistakes and get into accidents, but what happens when we are hit and not at fault? Will our insurance rates go up? In some cases, they will, but it all depends on who is chargeable.
A chargeable accident is a vehicle collision that can lead to your auto insurance rates being raised. This will happen if you are at least 50% responsible for the accident and it results in damage to property and/or bodily harm or death.
If you are in a chargeable accident, your rates will usually go up for 3 to 5 years, depending on the state and the insurance company. This increase in what you pay for insurance is called a surcharge. Your insurance company can not add a surcharge in the middle of a pay period, they will add it when your insurance is renewed.
After a surcharge is added, your rates may decrease over the years allotted and if you drive safely and have no other incidents within that time, the surcharge will be removed from your record for future incidents and accidents.
What is a chargeable incident?
A chargeable incident refers to a moving vehicle violation. This can be anything from a speeding ticket, driving under the influence, or leaving the scene of an accident. A chargeable incident can have the same impact on your insurance as a chargeable accident.
Not all accidents are chargeable, especially if one of the drivers is not at fault. Here is a list of non-chargeable accident scenarios:
- Your car was legally parked when it was hit or you were hit from behind and were granted no moving violations in the accident report.
- The accident was caused by an animal, fowl, falling objects, or loose flying gravel.
- The accident occurred when you were responding to an emergency event and are a registered emergency responder, or work for the fire department or law enforcement.
- You were reimbursed by the person who caused the damage.
- The other vehicle in the accident was charged with a moving violation and you weren’t.
- The insurance company was able to recover at least 80% of your claim through the other party’s insurance company.
How to prove you are not at fault so your insurance rate does not go up
There are a few different methods that can help prove to an insurance company that you are not at fault in an accident. These include a police report stating who is at fault, a statement from the insurance company of the other driver, or a letter written by the driver and signed under perjury. A legal document that shows you were reimbursed for the accident and therefore not at fault can also be used as proof.
What is accident forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness is exactly what it sounds like. Insurance companies sell policies with accident forgiveness. For some, you have to pay more to receive that benefit and for others, it is part of the policy from the beginning.
Some states, like California, don’t allow accident forgiveness at all, and it is limited in the states that do, you might get one forgiveness per policy. It is important to note that even if an accident is forgiven monetarily through your insurance company, it will still appear on your driving record.
How do insurance companies find out about accidents?
At the end of each insurance period, companies will look at the motor vehicle record (MVR) in the states they insure in. This is where all the accidents each year are recorded. In some states, you are also required to file a report with the DMV if the accident costs more than a certain amount of money.
Along with the MVR, insurance companies have databases that show them past claims and requests and if they approved or denied them. This information helps them set your insurance rate for the next pay period.
If you have been in an accident and are not at fault, contact Larson and Gallivan PLC, we’ll help you work with your insurance company to sort it all out!