Your Options for Cheap Car Insurance with Accidents on Your Record

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man holding his neck after being in an accident

After a car accident, insurers consider you a high-risk driver, and your insurance premiums will increase. 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 an insurer with all of the qualities that are important to you. You want to think about 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. 


Key Takeaways

  • 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 your auto insurance rates to climb. 

The average monthly premium for a driver with a clean driving record (no tickets or accidents) is $142 per month. 

After one accident, that average increases to $202 per month. 

That’s an increase of 42% just for being in one accident. If you’re a driver with multiple accidents on your record, you can see an even bigger jump in your auto insurance rates. 

Looking at these numbers it’s clear why it’s crucial that drivers with a history of accidents seek out affordable auto insurance coverage. 

How Having an Accident on Your Record Affects Car Insurance Premiums

Your auto insurance rates can increase by 42% on average after getting into an accident. Now, when you consider that accidents can remain on your record for three to five years, a single accident could cost you thousands of dollars over that period. 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 Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Drivers Who’ve Been in an Accident

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. 

The following insurance companies offer good rates to drivers with accidents on their record, but some of the companies have lower rates than others. As you decide which company is best for you, consider not only the rates, but also whether the coverage options, customer service, and discounts are what you need. 

GEICO

If finding cheap car insurance is your top priority, then GEICO is the best choice and offers some of the lowest rates that you will find, even with an accident on your record. The second largest insurance company in America, GEICO, was founded in 1936. GEICO has earned a reputation for offering affordable 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. 

Clearcover

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. 

State Farm

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 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. 

If you already have an accident on your record, you want to do your best not to get in another one and if you do, the Drive Safe & Save program can earn you a discount on your premium. 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. 

Since teen drivers make up a large percentage of those getting into accidents, The Steer Clear program 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 these young drivers meet and complete the program’s requirements, they are eligible for a discount on their insurance. These savings for a teen who’s also on your policy can be helpful, especially if you’re already paying higher rates because of an accident. 


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Allstate

With its reputation for quality customer service and a smooth claims process, Allstate is another good option if you have an accident on your driving 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 safer. 

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 they are accident-free. Avoiding accidents also pays off with deductible rewards. The company 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. 

Progressive

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 as well. 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 allowing you to interact with an agent in your community. 

In addition to standard coverages, Progressive offers several other 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. 

How Can Drivers With an Accident on Their Record Save on Auto Insurance?

woman on computer researching how to save on car insurance

Even if you have an accident on your record, there are multiple ways that you can save on your car insurance policy. 

Consider Changing Your Coverage

After an accident, take time to reevaluate your coverage and consider whether it’s worth changing your policy type. You might choose to do away with additional coverage like GAP insurance or roadside assistance. 

While you might consider doing away with collision or comprehensive coverage, it’s not something we recommend. Why is that?

Because the less coverage you have the more financial risk you’re taking. If you forgo collision or comprehensive coverage, you could be on the hook for major expenses if you’re in another accident or if your vehicle is damaged during weather related events like a storm. 

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 raising your deductible

When you reduce your policy’s maximum limits, you lower the maximum amount your insurer would pay for a claim. In doing so, you’re decreasing the risk the company takes in insuring you so you can 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, you’re financially responsible for expenses even after your insurance company has paid out the maximum amount. 

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 it 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 choice 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 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

Try Telematics 

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 fewer miles than most people 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 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 by obeying speed limits and driving laws.

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 you’re 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 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 your credit usage. The amount of credit you’re using compared to the available credit is called your credit usage score, which impacts your overall 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.

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, you could qualify for significant savings. 

Common discounts include multi-policy and multi-car discounts. Some companies offer discounts for automatic bill pay or getting 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. 

Shop Around

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.


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FAQs About the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for After an Accident 

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? 

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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