Despite your best efforts, at-fault accidents can still happen. Many people believe that such incidents will bring an end to any hope of obtaining cheap car insurance.
Below, we’ll show you how you can still find cheap auto insurance after car accidents, even if they are DUI-related. The good news is that even if you do not have a clean driving record, cheap auto insurance is within reach. It just takes a little research and some working knowledge of the insurance industry.
If you want to skip ahead and start comparing car insurance quotes right now, enter your zip code into the rate comparison tool below. Our experts have conducted a nationwide review of every major auto insurance provider to find the best companies.
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How to Find Cheap Auto Insurance After an Accident
For starters, you should be on the lookout for discounts. Common discounts include safe driver, multi-vehicle and multi-driver discounts. Several major providers, including Progressive and GEICO, offer a long list of discounts. You should also check to see whether your provider offers accident forgiveness coverage (more on that later).
If your goal is to get cheap auto insurance after an accident, you should consider taking a defensive driving course. These classes are generally affordable and can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Just be sure that the course is approved by your insurance company and that you are eligible for a discount before you sign up.
You can also drop your coverage limits or opt for a higher deductible. While it is nice to have full coverage auto insurance, you may choose to stick with just the state minimum requirements if your vehicle is not particularly valuable. Review your policy and decide which types of coverage you need and which ones you don’t.
Do not be afraid to shop around for better rates, either. It costs you nothing to compare quotes, and you can always renew with your existing provider if it offers the best prices. Make sure to request identical coverage amounts from different providers to ensure that your quotes are accurate. For instance, do not request simple bodily injury and property damage coverage on one quote and then add comprehensive coverage on another.
Canceling or Switching Auto Insurance After an Accident
Many drivers automatically assume that they should switch auto insurance providers after an accident. While this is perfectly legal to do, it is important to weigh your options before making the leap.
It is important to note that some major providers are actually known for working with high-risk drivers. These specific providers may be your go-to sources for cheap auto insurance after accidents. However, the insurer will still be able to see the accident on your driving record, and although you may have higher rates because of this, these fees can be offset if the potential insurer offers more discounts than your current company.
How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?
There is no set rule that determines how much your rates go up after an accident. Every insurance provider views crashes differently, and some even offer accident forgiveness.
As the name implies, accident forgiveness means that the insurance company does not hold the crash against you, so they will not increase rates. This is definitely not a blank check to drive carelessly, though, as most companies will only forgive one accident every few years. If you are involved in a second incident within this time period, you can expect to see a rate increase.
Each state has unique guidelines that limit how long insurance companies can look back on your driving record. The average limit is about three years for minor infractions and five to seven years for major accidents. You can expect to see higher rates for as long as the incident is on your record.
Your driving record includes more than just accidents too. If you have had a lapse of insurance coverage, a moving violation (speeding tickets, for example) or other infractions, insurance companies may view you as high-risk. As a general rule, you should always drive with caution, as any negative marks on your driving record will be held against you.
Other Factors that Influence Auto Insurance Rates
Accidents and traffic infractions are not the only factors that insurers consider when providing you with a quote. Providers will also look at other information, including:
Age and Gender
Younger male drivers typically face the highest insurance rates. Specifically, males ages 16 to 24 are more likely to have high premium payments.
Have you noticed that virtually every insurance company asks for your zip code before providing you with a quote? This is because your location drastically influences insurance rates.
Providers use your zip code to assess risk. If you live in a densely populated area, that means that there are more vehicles on the road. The more traffic there is, the higher your risk of being involved in a crash. You are also at a higher risk for causing property damage with your car.
It is also worth noting that certain states, like California, tend to have much higher insurance rates than other areas. Even if you live in a sparsely populated area of California, your rates may be higher due to average repair costs and other factors specific to the state.
Your zip code can also be used to gather crime data for your neighborhood. If you live in an area with high rates of auto theft or vehicle burglary, then your rates will generally be more inflated.
Many national insurance companies offer quite a few discount opportunities. For instance, you might receive a discounted rate for insuring multiple drivers, for staying with the company for consecutive years or even for being a government employee.
Insurance companies take your vehicle type into account. Newer, high-end vehicles are usually more expensive to repair or replace than older models. While it is great to have a really nice car to drive daily, it can influence your car insurance rates.
As discussed above, insurance companies will look at your driving history when giving you a quote. If you do not have a clean driving record, your rates may be higher.
The good news is that it is not too late to demonstrate that you are a good driver. Many insurers have usage-based programs that allow you to get discounts for practicing good driving habits. The way it works is that your habits are tracked by a free assessment tool that the company sends you. You plug this tool into your vehicle’s computer, and it will monitor your speed, miles driven, and even how quickly you brake or accelerate.
Most insurers will request that you leave the tool in place for three to six months. When the test period has ended, you simply send it back. The insurer will then download the data and review your driving habits to determine whether you are eligible for a safe driver discount.
Our Recommendations for Car Insurance Companies
Now that you know that it is possible to maintain cheap auto insurance after accidents, it is time to find a great provider. We have reviewed several of the nation’s largest car insurance companies. Below, you will find two of our top picks for auto insurance coverage. To start getting free quotes from top providers in your area, enter your zip code below.
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GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO is one of the most well-known insurance companies in the country. During our industry review, we awarded the company a total score of 9.5 out of 10.0. The insurer also earned a 9.5 in the industry reputation category. GEICO received a 9.0 in the cost, customer experience and coverage categories.
GEICO offers tons of discounts and has flexible coverage options to meet the needs of any driver. The company is an excellent choice if you have unique coverage requirements.
USAA: Best for Military Families
USAA was rated as the best provider for military families. We awarded USAA an 8.9 out of 10.0 overall. The company earned solid scores in every category and has a great reputation among its customers. Unfortunately, USAA’s services are only available to members of the armed forces and their immediate family members.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, pricing, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.