How Long Does Accident Stay on Insurance?

If you have been in an accident, whether it was recently or a while ago, you might be wondering how long the accident will remain on your insurance record.

One of the first things that you will be asked about when you apply for car insurance is whether or not you have been in an accident and if you had to make a claim. All of the information that they gather will be used in order to determine the overall cost of your car insurance.

The cost of your insurance is more likely to be higher if you have had to claim on your insurance due to an accident, especially if it was your fault.

In this article, we are going to explain everything that you need to know about how long an accident will stay on your record and how it will affect the price of your insurance.

Car insurance claims on your record

The length of time that a claim will remain on your record will depend on the type of accident that occurred and how severe it was.

Getting into a car accident can affect your physical and financial wellbeing, and when a driver does have an accident, their insurance premiums will increase because the driver is deemed to be a higher risk to the insurance company, meaning that they will be more likely to have to payout. 

Thankfully, these accident records are not permanent, and they can be removed over time. The amount of time that this will take will depend entirely on how bad the accident was and where it occurred.

A number of states have a points system in place that works to track all traffic violations and apply more points to drivers that have committed crimes involving driving.

If you have a high number of points, you can have your license taken away from you, as you could potentially be risking the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road.

Different states will have different lengths of time in which the accident will remain on your record due to the different systems that they have in place. Interestingly, if you were to be involved in driving under the influence in California, the incident will remain on your record for 13 years.

However, if the same offense occurred in Michigan, it will only remain on your record for a shorter time period of two years.

As a general point of reference, we will name the types of accidents that can occur and the length of time that they will remain on your record. For your first-ever minor incident, it might not even be recorded at all.

This is due to most of the insurance companies having a policy in place called ‘accident forgiveness,’ so it won’t end up on your record. However, other accidents will remain on your record for a certain amount of time.

A minor accident will be present on your record for three years, a hit and run will remain on your record for ten years, and a DUI will stay on your record for around ten years.

If the accident was not your fault, the accident might still be recorded, but it shouldn’t affect the cost of your insurance premium.

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is an added benefit that can help prevent car insurance rates from increasing in the event that you have your first road accident that was your fault.

This can be added to your policy or awarded to individuals that have a good driving record and will be really beneficial, especially for new drivers. You can either earn this feature through having a clean driving record with some companies, or you can purchase it with your insurance provider at an additional cost.

Not all companies will offer this feature, but it is beneficial so that your first accident might not be recorded if it isn’t severe. Through accident forgiveness, your insurance premium rate will not increase after your first accident.

Will the cost of my insurance increase after an accident?

The first thing that you will need to do following an accident is to contact your insurance provider and find out if you are covered for first-time accident forgiveness.

If this is the case, it won’t be recorded, and your insurance costs will not be increased. Accidents can happen, and insurance companies often trust that it won’t happen again after the first time.

However, if you aren’t covered under the accident forgiveness policy, or this is not your first accident, then it is highly likely that your insurance rates will increase.

The amount that it increases will depend on which state that you live in, how many claims you have made in the past, how serious that the accident was, and how long you have been with the insurance company. 

That can look at your record history to work out how much this increase will be. As an average figure, you can expect your insurance premium to increase by 34% after you claim for an accident.

For more serious accidents like a hit and run or driving under the influence, you might find that your insurance provider will not renew your policy when it runs out. This is because you are a liability to the company and are more likely to need to claim again.

Can my insurance provider increase my insurance costs if I was not at fault?

Unfortunately, even if the accident that you were in was not your fault, the insurance company still withholds the right to increase your insurance rates if they want to. While this may not be ethical, it is still happening within many insurance companies across the US.

Thankfully, there are some states that have banned this from happening to prevent an individual’s insurance from being increased if they were not at fault for the accident.

States such as California have actually put laws in place that aim to prevent insurance companies from increasing rates for drivers who have not caused the accident that they had to claim for.


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