A major personal injury is one of the top 10 most stressful life events. Car accidents are a primary cause of major personal injuries. Even when car wrecks don’t cause serious injuries, they generate significant stress. On top of injuries and repair bills, car crash victims worry about an insurance increase after an auto accident.
Thankfully, auto insurance companies do not penalize victims in car accidents by increasing their premiums.
Who pays for the costs of a car crash?
In California, the driver who causes a collision is responsible for paying for the damages related to the collision. The damages can include auto repairs, substitute transportation while a car is being repaired, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Compensates Victims
If drivers are insured as required by California law, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay the costs of the accident. The driver and the car accident victim file insurance claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for payment of the accident damages. If the insurance company agrees that their insured caused the accident, the company pays the claims. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance also pays if they lose in court or if they think they will lose in court and want to avoid a jury award.
Insurance companies want to minimize their payouts, so claims adjusters look for reasons to deny claims. Adjusters also try to reduce the amount that is paid by contesting the value of a claim. For example, a claims adjuster might challenge how future medical expenses are calculated. Or the adjuster might say that treatments for managing pain, such as acupuncture, are unnecessary.
The Impact of Insurance Policy Limits
Sometimes an insurance company settlement won’t fully compensate a car accident victim. This usually occurs when the damages exceed the car insurance policy limit, which is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay per accident.
At a minimum, California drivers must have $15,000 in liability insurance for death or injury to one person, $30,000 for death or injury to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. Given the high cost of medical care and car repairs, it is likely that the costs of a single accident will exceed these minimums. When that happens, a car accident victim must try to recover the remaining amount from the at-fault driver, unless he was wise enough to purchase underinsured motorist coverage for himself and the occupants of his car.
An experienced car accident attorney will help you collect damages from an individual. In my 35 years of advocating for accident victims, I have developed many strategies to ensure victims obtain full compensation. I will use every means available to get you the compensation you are entitled to.
Will drivers experience an insurance increase after an auto accident?
Insurance companies don’t penalize car accident victims by implementing an insurance increase after an auto accident. Since car accident victims file claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, rather than their own insurance policies, victim’s premiums should not change.
An at-fault driver, on the other hand, will most likely experience an insurance increase after an auto accident. In 2018, Californians who file a single auto insurance claim of $2,000 should expect a premium increase of 63.2%. That’s the second-highest insurance increase after an auto accident in the country. New Hampshire has the highest rate, with an average 65.9% increase in premiums following a collision.
Should a car accident victim file a claim against her own insurance?
If an uninsured driver causes a car wreck, a car accident victim may be covered by her own auto insurance. California auto insurance companies must offer Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UMC) or Underinsured Motorist Coverage even though California does not require drivers to have it.
UMC for bodily injury pays for the policy holder’s injuries if he is hit by an uninsured driver. This coverage extends to passengers in the car. UMC for property damage pays for damage to the policy holder’s car caused by an uninsured driver. UIM pays for the policy holder’s injuries (within certain limits) if the policyholder is injured by a driver whose policy limits are too low to cover the costs of the accident.
UMC and UIM claims should not lead to an insurance increase after an auto accident because the driver filing the claim did not cause the accident.
How Can Drivers Minimize Car Insurance Premiums?
Causing a car accident is one of the top reasons a driver’s car insurance premiums increase. So, to avoid higher insurance premiums, drive safely and don’t cause accidents. A driver’s safety record is the most important factor California car insurance companies consider when setting premiums.
In California, insurance companies must prioritize three things about drivers when determining auto insurance premiums. Proposition 103, which California passed in 1988, said “Rates and premiums for an automobile insurance policy, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 660, shall be determined by application of the following factors in decreasing order of importance:”
- Driving safety record
- Average miles driven per year
- Years of driving experience
Prop 103 allows insurance companies to also consider “those other factors that the commissioner may adopt by regulation and that have a substantial relationship to the risk of loss.”
Prop 103 prohibits insurance companies from considering factors like an insured’s employment or credit rating when calculating auto insurance premiums. Some insurance companies in California consider additional factors, such as the type of car being insured.
California Proposition 103 also requires auto insurance companies to provide a 20% “good driver” discount to drivers with a clean driving record (no more than one moving violation in the preceding three years).
Contact a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney for Help
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If a driver hit you or a loved one, I can help. I have successfully advocated for car accident victims for more than 35 years. I take your injuries personally, so I handle every aspect of your case to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
Call me today for a free consultation to see how I can help. I offer bilingual services and am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case. You are under no obligation, and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries.
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