The Best Car Insurance Companies for Drivers After an Accident
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After a car accident, insurers consider you a high-risk driver, and your insurance premiums may increase at your next renewal. Many drivers shop around for car insurance companies. They do this not only because they want the best value for their money but also to ensure they have quality coverage that will protect them if they have to make a claim.
If you have an accident on your driving record and are considering changing your insurance companies, then it’s crucial to find a company with all of the qualities that are important to you. You want to consider customer service, the coverage that you want and need, and discounts that can help you to save money. This guide can help you narrow your search and find a company that’s right for you.
- A single at-fault accident can increase your car insurance premiums by an average of $832 per year.
- In some states, like California and Texas, drivers with a single accident on their record saw their car insurance rates increase by more than $1,200 per year.
- A car accident stays on your driving history for an average of three to five years.
- Car insurance companies like Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive are all potential choices, even if you have an accident on your driving record.
How Much is Car Insurance for Drivers With an Accident on Their Record?
After an at-fault accident, you can expect a steep increase in your car insurance rates. Nerdwallet calculated the national average car insurance rates for a 35-year-old driver. A driver with a clean record would pay an average of $1,630 per year for full coverage and $561 per year for minimum coverage.
But if that driver had one at-fault accident on their accident, prices increased. The driver would pay an average of $2,462 for full coverage and $862 for minimum coverage.
How Having an Accident on Your Record Affects Car Insurance Premiums
According to Nerdwallet, drivers with an accident on their driving history pay an average of $832 more per year for premiums than drivers who don’t have any accident history. When you consider that accidents can remain on your record for three to five years, a single accident could cost you up to an additional $4,160 in insurance premiums. That’s not counting what you would pay for your deductible before your insurance company paid for your car accident claim.
The increase in your premiums can vary depending on your state, too. Nerdwallet found that rates increased by at least 50% in 18 states. Drivers in California, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas saw an average rate increase of more than $1,200 per year after they were at fault for an accident.
What are the Best Car Insurance Companies for Drivers With an Accident on Their Record?
Some insurance companies are a better choice for drivers with an accident on their record than others. When we selected the following companies, we considered price and other factors like reputation, coverage types and limits, available discounts, customer satisfaction, and the claims process.
We’ve included the following companies because they provide the best – but not necessarily always the cheapest – options if you have an accident on your record.
The largest insurance company in America, State Farm, offers a wide variety of auto insurance products, including insurance for teen drivers, rental cars, and rideshare drivers. There are also unique insurance options for sports cars, classic antique cars, electric and hybrid vehicles, and commercial automobiles. That comprehensive variety means State Farm is a practical solution for most drivers.
If you ever need to file a claim, State Farm has 19,000 agents nationwide. This gives you a personalized touch that some other companies don’t offer. The agents can also help you to tailor the coverage to your needs. That personal interaction, paired with the company’s 100-year history and excellent reputation, makes State Farm one of our top choices as the best car insurance companies for drivers with accidents.
The company’s Drive Safe & Save and Steer Clear programs also set it apart from other insurers. With the Drive Safe & Save program, State Farm gathers telematics as you drive, and good drivers can earn discounts of up to 30% on their insurance.
The Steer Clear program also helps make insurance more affordable for teen drivers while making them better, safer drivers. Teens can watch videos, take quizzes, and record their trips using the Steer Clear app. Once teens meet and complete the program’s requirements, they are eligible for a discount on their insurance.
With its reputation for quality customer service and a smooth claims process, Allstate is another good option if you have an accident on your record. Allstate offers plenty of standard coverage options but also offers less common coverages, including rental reimbursement, classic car insurance, and even car insurance for traveling to Mexico. Eligible drivers can also sign up for the optional accident forgiveness, starting on your policy’s first day.
There are also several ways to save money with Allstate. With the Drivewise program, a mobile app will track your driving habits, provide family driving insights, and even real-time audible alerts to help you drive more safely. You can complete safe-driving challenges to earn rewards points and get personalized feedback on your driving behavior. According to Allstate, drivers who use the program can save 40% or more on their car insurance.
Allstate also offers a safe driving bonus, rewarding drivers for every six months that they are accident-free. Avoiding accidents also pays off with deductible rewards. Allstate will deduct $100 from your collision deductible when you sign up and then give you an additional $100 off your deductible every year you go without an accident. Your safe driving can earn you up to $500 off your deductible.
Allstate’s insurance products may not be the cheapest. Still, the company has such a good reputation that it may be worth paying a little extra. Plus, with Allstate’s many money-saving options, there are plenty of ways to bring your costs down, even if you’ve been in an accident.
Founded in 1937, Progressive has grown to insure more than one million vehicles nationwide. The company has also earned a reputation as a top motorcycle and specialty RV insurer. That’s possible thanks to Progressive’s quality coverage and personalized service. With more than 35,000 independent agents and brokers nationwide, Progressive delivers a personalized approach. You can interact with an agent in your community.
In addition to standard coverages, Progressive offers several more unique options, including loan lease payoff, rental car reimbursement, rideshare, and custom parts and equipment insurance policies. You can also sign up for the deductible savings bank feature. It will automatically subtract $50 from your collision and comprehensive deductible for every policy period you go through without making a claim.
Progressive’s Snapshot program is a usage-based insurance program that allows you to pay based on how much you drive. The Snapshot app will enable you to track your driving and trips, get details about your trips, and access driving tips to help make you a safe driver and possibly get a discount on your insurance.
The company is also known for its Name Your Price Tool, which simplifies shopping for insurance. With the tool, you can name how much you want to pay for car insurance and see coverage options that fit your budget.
If finding cheap car insurance is your top priority, then GEICO may be the right choice. The second largest insurance company in America, GEICO, was founded in 1936. GEICO has earned a reputation for offering some of the lowest car insurance rates. Even if your rates increase after an accident, chances are you will still pay less for car insurance with GEICO than many other insurance companies.
In addition to the standard types of car insurance coverage, GEICO also offers options like emergency road service, rental reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. The company has many discounts, including good student, federal employee, military, emergency deployment, and safety equipment discounts for features like airbags and antilock brakes.
While GEICO offers excellent rates, the company’s customer satisfaction scores are very low. GEICO currently has a 1.15-star rating on the Better Business Bureau website based on 863 customer reviews. Many reviews reference dissatisfaction with the claims process and unsatisfactory experiences with the company’s customer service staff. You may save money with GEICO but think carefully about whether this is the right company for you, particularly if you ever need to file a claim.
When it comes to a fast claims process, Clearcover is particularly impressive. Clearcover reports a record seven-minute claims process, thanks to an app that allows you to take photos of the damage. The company’s technology scans the damage and issues payments, sometimes in just minutes.
But that’s not the only reason Clearcover is an option for drivers with an accident on their record. Clearcover is known for its affordably priced coverage. The insurer takes a technology-based approach and offers a 60-second coverage wizard to make shopping for insurance easier. Its app allows you to do everything from file a claim to pay your bill to get roadside assistance, and Clearcover has an A+ BBB rating.
While Clearcover is currently only available in 19 states, this fast-growing company is quickly becoming a popular option. If you’re looking for an insurer that uses technology in creative ways and provides an easy and efficient claims process, you may want to consider Clearcover.
How Can Drivers With an Accident on Their Record Save on Their Insurance Policy?
Even if you have an accident on your record, there are multiple ways that you can still save on your car insurance policy.
Consider Changing Your Coverage Type
After an accident, take time to reevaluate your coverage and consider whether it’s worth changing your policy type. For example, you might have full coverage on a vehicle that has aged and declined in worth. When your insurance costs increase after an accident, it might no longer be worth carrying full coverage on that vehicle. Instead, you might reduce your coverage and save money on your premiums.
Remember that if you reduce your coverage, you will still need to meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. It’s also essential to make sure that you’re still comfortable with the level of coverage you have. Take time to review the summary of any policy you’re considering so you understand precisely what’s covered and excluded. Then, call your insurance company and ask any questions that you have before deciding to reduce or otherwise change your coverage.
Explore Lower Maximums and Higher Deductibles
Let’s say you want to maintain the coverage you currently have but still want to reduce your premiums. You can make two adjustments to your policy that can accomplish that: Reducing your maximums or your deductible.
When you reduce your policy’s maximum limits, you reduce the maximum amount your insurer would pay for a claim. In doing so, you’re reducing the risk the company takes in insuring you so that you will pay lower premiums. While most states require you carry a minimum amount of coverage, if you currently have higher policy limits, there may be room to lower those limits while still staying at or above your state’s required minimums.
You’ll need to carefully consider whether this is a good idea. It’s always best to carry the maximum amount of insurance you can afford. Lower minimums could put you in a situation where, after an accident, expenses remain even after your insurance company has paid out the maximum amount. You would be financially responsible for these expenses, like medical bills and vehicle replacement or repair costs.
A better option may be to choose a higher deductible, which can reduce your policy premiums. If you need to file a claim, you will be responsible for paying that higher deductible before your insurance company will cover any expenses from the claim. Think carefully about how much risk you are comfortable assuming with that higher deductible, and make sure you will be able to pay the deductible if you need to file a claim.
Carefully Choose Your Vehicle
If you need to replace your vehicle after an accident, or if you’re considering buying a new car, your chosen vehicle can affect your insurance rates. A more expensive vehicle will cost more to insure because your insurance company will need to pay more to repair or replace it after a claim.
Rather than choosing a top-of-the-line brand-new car, consider a used vehicle or a more economical new car. These types of vehicles are more affordable to insure. Plus, their lower price points should minimize the size of the car loan that you must take out, which might eliminate your need for gap insurance. Gap insurance helps to avoid a situation where, because of depreciation, your insurance company pays out less than what you still owe on your vehicle. This type of insurance is in addition to your regular coverage, so avoiding having to buy extra gap insurance can save you money.
Rather than sticking with traditional car insurance options, consider using telematics to help lower your rates. Telematics is quickly growing in popularity, and more car insurance companies are using them to identify safe drivers versus high-risk drivers. With that data, insurers can reward safe drivers with lower rates.
When you use telematics, many insurance companies will have you download an app on your phone that tracks your driving habits. The app monitors risky behaviors like hard braking, acceleration, and swerving. You’ll use the app for a certain period – often a few weeks – and then the insurance company will review the data. You may be eligible for a lower insurance rate if you’ve demonstrated safe driving habits.
Some companies use telematics to track how much you drive, allowing you to pay on a usage-based scale rather than a flat monthly rate. This might be ideal if you drive minimally, such as if you’re retired, have a second vehicle, or work from home. These pay-per-mile policies usually have a flat monthly rate and then a per-mile billing on top of that. You could see significant savings by changing to this type of policy if you don’t spend much time behind the wheel.
Focus on Safe Driving
While you can’t do anything to remove your car accident from your driving record, you can focus on avoiding any other negative marks. Being at fault for additional accidents or getting traffic violations will only further impact your driving history, potentially increasing your insurance premiums even more.
Work to drive safely and avoid these situations. Obey speed limits and driving laws, and work to be a safe driver.
Build Your Credit
Many insurance companies consider bad credit an indicator of high-risk behavior, and they will categorize you as a high-risk driver. Building up your credit can demonstrate that you can responsibly handle your finances, implying that you are responsible in other areas of your life, like when you’re behind the wheel.
It takes time to build up your credit, but it can also pay off in lower premiums. Focus on making all your payments on time, including your car insurance, mortgage or rent, auto loan, credit card, and student loan payments. Consider setting up automatic payments to ensure you don’t miss any payment due dates.
Additionally, try to minimize the amount of your available credit that you use. The amount of credit you’re using compared to the available credit is called your credit usage score, which impacts your credit score. It’s also important to maintain the length of your credit, so rather than canceling an old credit card, it might be helpful to keep it open. Doing so will contribute to a longer credit history which is good for your credit.
Look for Discounts
Whether you’re considering shopping around for new insurance or will remain with your current insurance company, look for discounts you might be eligible for. Many car insurers offer a wide variety of discounts. When you add them up together, you could qualify for significant savings.
Common types of discounts include multi-policy and multi-line discounts, so you could save by using that one company for all your vehicle and other insurance needs. Some companies offer discounts for automatic bill pay or electronic statements, and good student discounts are also standard. Ask whether the company offers a discount for taking a defensive driving class, which will make you a safer driver and help you save money.
Consider Accident Forgiveness
If you’re worried about the rate increases you’ll see after an at-fault accident, then an accident forgiveness policy might be right for you. When you have accident forgiveness, your insurer won’t raise your rates after your first accident. This coverage can give you peace of mind if you are ever involved in an accident, but you need to take it out before an accident to be effective.
After an accident, your current car insurance company may no longer be the best fit for you. By shopping around for car insurance, you can find companies that offer more affordable policies, quality coverage, excellent customer service, a smooth claims process, and more.
The best way to shop for car insurance is to compare quotes from multiple companies, and Compare.com makes that easy. With Compare.com, you will fill out a single quote request form, which takes about five minutes. Then, the site searches up to 65 car insurance quotes and gives you the best deals based on your coverage needs, location, and other details. Compare.com users streamline their search for a new insurance company and save an average of $720 per year on car insurance.
FAQs About the Best Car Insurance Companies for Drivers With an Accident on Their Record
What car insurance is best for drivers with a car accident on their record?
Even when you have a car accident on your record, the best car insurance for you will depend on what you’re looking for in an insurance policy. Look for a company that aligns with your needs in terms of cost, coverage options, discounts, customer service, quality claims experience, and more. The options outlined above, including Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, and Clearcover, offer distinct benefits and are all wonderful choices.
Who is considered high risk for insurance companies?
Drivers who have an at-fault accident on their driving history are considered high-risk. Still, car insurance companies also use many other factors to determine which drivers are riskier to insure. Having a poor credit rating, allowing your car insurance to lapse, receiving traffic violations, having a DUI/DWI on your record, and simply being a teen driver can all cause you to be classified as a high-risk driver.
How long does an accident stay on your record?
The time that an accident stays on your record depends on your state. In most states, an accident will remain on your record for three to five years.
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