Driving inherently comes with a certain degree of unpredictability, and even careful drivers may get in an accident from time to time. Whether you’re at fault or you’ve been rear-ended at a red light, after the initial panic of the accident, your mind probably jumps to worrying how it will affect your car insurance costs moving forward.
It’s crucially important to file a claim for all incidents, big or small. It might seem tempting to brush it under the rug at first to save everyone the costs and headache associated with filing a car insurance claim, but dishonesty is a one-way ticket to higher future costs or losing coverage altogether. Don’t panic. You have options, and it’s a great opportunity to evaluate whether or not your car insurance is working for you. It may be time to make a switch.
How Much Will Your Premium Increase?
Did you know that your policy might include an accident forgiveness clause? It’s worthwhile to ask your provider. Some carriers might not raise your premiums as the result of an accident, especially if it’s your first claim or you have a long track record of accident-free driving. On the other hand, if you’re at fault and injure someone during the accident, it’s likely that your insurance carrier will increase your rates for several years moving forward. Take time after the accident to investigate the actual impact on your policy before you make the decision to stay or go.
Factors that your insurance company consider include:
- Amount of damage
- Who’s at fault
- Your prior driving record
Check the Coverage
Your priority is saving your hard-earned money, especially in the aftermath of an accident, but choosing a new policy with the lowest premium is not necessarily the best tactic. Per Consumer Reports, a policy with cheaper premiums might cost you more down the line if you sacrifice coverage for cost.
Just as you should thoroughly investigate the impact of filing a claim on your current policy, it’s pertinent to compare auto insurance quotes after an accident. Conduct a side-by-side comparison of policies that examines cost as well as coverage. Dropping down to the minimum liability coverage for your state could leave you woefully unprotected in the event of another accident, even if it seems tempting to knock off a portion of your monthly payment since your premium will undoubtedly rise following a claim. An accident can be a great catalyst to conduct research and consider other policies, but don’t let it rush you into a reactionary decision. Make sure you have a written copy of your current policy as well as all relevant information about your claim in front of you, so you don’t leave out any information when gathering quotes.
Consider Customer Satisfaction
Cost and coverage are mightily important, but what about those less tangible factors that influence your car insurance experience? The Insurance Information Institute cites financial solidity, customer service, and comfort as important factors in choosing an insurance company. Are the representatives of your insurance company treating you with respect and handling your paperwork in a timely manner? When you ask a question, do you receive a thorough answer?If you easily answered “yes” to both of those questions, it might be worth it to stick with your current insurance company even in the face of raised premiums. If you’re interested in shopping around, check online reviews to get the full scoop and make sure that any insurance company you’re considering is properly licensed.
Make sure to consider these factors when you’re trying to answer the age-old question of “should I stay or should I go?” after filing an auto insurance claim. Savvy drivers will turn the situation into an opportune chance to reevaluate how well their auto insurance is working for them.