Accidents happen, even to the best drivers. Whether it's the sun in your eyes making a signal difficult to see, or one of nature's furry friends causing you to swerve off the road, accidents are a part of life that no one wants to deal with. What's even worse is that after having to deal with the inconvenience of being without transportation while waiting for auto body repairs, you are likely to face increased rates from your insurance company...often even if you were not at fault. But with a little creative maneuvering, you might be able to avoid an insurance rate hike after your accident, even if it was deemed your fault.
Call your insurance company
Always call your insurance company, even if you think the damage was minor. If no one was hurt and the car is still driveable, you may be tempted not to report the accident avoid a premium rate increase. Unfortunately, even if the other party says not to worry about it, they could later sue you. If you failed to report the accident, your insurer can actually refuse to honor the policy, which means you might be stuck with lany related egal bills, as well. This will result in significantly higher costs than a simple rate increase.
Inquire about accident forgiveness
Many insurers accept the fact that accidents are a part of life, and if you haven't filed a claim in many years, they may decide not to raise your rates. Other companies may offer accident forgiveness as an addition on the policy for an additional premium and others will slowly forgive the accident until the premium is back to where it was before the crash. This usually is between three and five years, depending on your insurer.
Consider a deductible increase
If a premium increase is inevitable, then you can still lower your premium close to its previous range by increasing your deductible levels. This means that you will have a higher amount to pay if you file another claim before your insurance takes over. For example, moving from a $250 deductible to a $500 one could lower your coverage costs by between 15 and 30 percent. Just make sure that you have enough in your emergency fund to cover the cost of the deductible.
Look for other available discounts
It might be time to look for other available discounts to get your premium as low as possible. Calculate your annual mileage. If it is less than 10,000, you could qualify for a low mileage discount. You may also want to see if you can gain additional discounts by combining or adding other policies you need.
Take a defensive driving class
It is always good to brush up on your driving skills, especially if it has been a long time since you finished driver's ed. By taking a defensive driving class after an accident or a citation was issued, you may be able to have your situation mitigated, allowing you to keep the same rates. Take the initiative to take the course and then notify your insurance company that you have successfully completed it. This can be effective for most accidents, except for those involving reckless driving or driving under the influence.
Shop your rates
If other attempts to lower your rate after your accident has failed, you may want to consider shopping your rates to other reliable insurance providers that can meet your needs at a more affordable price. While the recent accident may affect your quoted rates, you may find companies that offer other discounts or other ways to keep your premium down.
If you have been in a more severe accident than a fender bender and have sustained injuries resulting in time off work and costly medical expenses, you have more to worry about than a simple rate increase. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation to determine if you can seek damages related to your accident to offset the costs and help you to get on the road to recovery.