How can I lower my rates after I’ve been in an accident?
There are many different factors that go into pricing your auto insurance policy. One major factor that can cause your insurance premium to skyrocket is if you’ve been involved in an accident. Even if the accident was not your fault, the fact that a claim has been made on your policy will affect how much you pay for it. If you have been involved in an accident and aren’t looking forward to that huge price increase, there are a few things that you can do to keep your premiums at a lower rate.
Ask if your insurer has an “Accident Forgiveness” clause.
Some insurers out there will have an Accident Forgiveness clause in the policy which will ignore the first accident you have with them. This means your rates won’t go up with your first accident, but some companies require you to be accident free for a certain amount of time before it takes effect on your policy.
Make changes to your policy.
One very easy way to lower your rates is to change the coverage in your policy. Taking off coverage, raising your deductibles, and even lowering liability limits can all lower your rates. Remember, you don’t want to leave yourself too exposed to risk, so keep the changes you’re making in mind as you go along and think about what’s “worth it” to you.
Is it worth taking comprehensive coverage off to save a few hundred dollars a year? Do you want to raise your deductible to $500 to $1500 and pay the extra $1000 in case anything happens? Do you feel comfortable enough to cut your liability coverage in half? Start out with taking off something small, like rental car and roadside assistance coverage and go from there.
Take a defensive driver’s course.
Some insurance companies will view this as one way you’re trying to improve your driving skills and it might help lower your rates upon renewal. Courses are available in each state, and most have the option to take them online.
Make sure you’re getting all the discounts you qualify for.
Most insurance companies offer discounts for a plethora of different reasons. Annual mileage, your education and job title are three big ones, so take time to discuss with your agent if this is something your insurer offers. Also, companies give your better rates for bundling multiple polices such as a home/tenant, auto, and umbrella policy together.
When your insurer sends you your renewal, take that and and call around to find out what other insurance companies will charge you for the same coverage. Some insurance companies do a lot better than others when it comes to insuring drivers that are considered “high risk” that may have a few tickets and/or accidents.
Whether you’ve been in an accident or not, it’s always a good idea to shop around once a year to make sure you’re getting the lowest rates.