How Long Do Auto Insurance Claims Stay on Your Record?

A woman in a blue shirt kneeling next to a fender bender with another carNo matter how safe of a driver you are, a car accident can still occur at any moment. Fortunately, that’s what filing a car insurance claim is for: protecting you in case disaster strikes. However, after notifying your insurer of the accident, your claim is recorded on your file. This can potentially result in changes such as a premium increase and an adjustment to your car insurance rate.  As such, you may be wondering how long auto insurance claims stay on your record, and we’re here to help clarify that for you.

After an Accident, Will Your Auto Insurance Premium Increase?

First, let’s discuss the impact a car accident can have on your insurance premium. As with most insurance-related questions, the unfortunate answer is that it depends. Whether your premium increases and by how much is determined by who’s at fault for the accident. This is why it is essential to collect as much information about the accident at the time of the incident, have a police report filed, and immediately report all information to your insurance provider. If the other driver is deemed at fault, there’s a higher chance your insurance premium will be unaffected.

How Long Will Auto Insurance Claims Stay on Your Record?

Typically, once a file is claimed, that information will affect your insurance for an average of three to five years. After that period, if your premium rate has been affected, you can expect it to return to a normal rate. However, depending on the regulations in your state and how much at fault you were for the accident, a claim could stain your record for longer. But don’t let this prevent you from filing a claim, even if you’re at fault. Insurance is there to protect you from substantial financial losses, and not all claims result in a premium increase, especially if you’re not at fault, like in the event of storm damage.

What Factors into Your Insurer’s Decision to Adjust Your Rate?

There are a few factors that weigh into whether or not – or how much – your insurance carrier will penalize you for an accident. Some of the considerations that may influence their decision to increase your auto insurance premium include:

  • Accident Forgiveness: If your policy includes accident forgiveness, you may not be penalized for a first-time accident.
  • Percentage At Fault: We mentioned that being at fault will likely increase your premium, but you can also be found a percentage at fault, which could lead to an equivalent penalty.
  • Your Past Record: If you’ve had an exceptionally good driving record – especially one that qualifies you for safe-driver discounts – you may be forgiven for an accident.
  • Severity of Accident: If the accident is just a slight fender bender, your claim likely won’t have to cover much, which may make your insurer more forgiving if you’re at fault.

Your age and the age of your car can also be factors that determine whether you will be penalized for a claim, but the best way to figure out the reasons is to contact your insurance agent or insurer directly.

While some auto insurance claims send to stick on your record for a few years, it should not dissuade you from pursuing an accident claim. The increase in interest is likely to be less than the amount you’d pay out of pocket if you were to forego a claim. Insurance is meant to be a safety net, and you should not be afraid to use it. At TJ Woods Insurance, we recognize the importance of protecting our clients with the best auto insurance at the best rate. If you’re seeking an insurance policy that suits all your needs, contact us today.