How an At-Fault Accident Affects Your Car Insurance Rates

Why You Can Trust trust shield

At, it’s our mission to find simple ways to help our customers save money on the things they need. While we partner with some of the companies and brands we talk about in our articles, all of our content is written and reviewed by our independent editorial team and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn about how we make money, review our editorial standards, and reference our data methodology to learn more about why you can trust

How much does insurance increase after an accident: close up shot of 2 cars that crashed into each other

You’ve heard the phrase “accidents happen.” There’s no truer statement when it comes to car accidents in the United States. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American motorists reported 6,102,936 accidents to law enforcement in 2021 alone. That’s 16,720 accidents a day — a shocking number that shows you how important it is to have car insurance.

The unfortunate reality is that your premiums will go up after any crash, whether you’re at fault or not. But just how much does insurance increase after an accident? 

Read on to learn why your insurance goes up after an accident, how much your rate increase might be, and what you can do to find cheap car insurance.

Find Lower Rates After an Accident Here

Why Does Car Insurance Increase After an Accident?

Car insurance companies think you’re likely to file additional claims after you file even one, no matter who is at fault. Everything contributes to your driving history, whether it’s your first accident or your fifth. Your insurance tracks the claims that other drivers submit against you too. 

This all leads to car insurance rate increases for the policyholder.

Auto insurers use lots of factors to set your car insurance policy premiums. Your driving history is the most impactful, and that includes accidents and collisions.

The accident’s severity can also have a big impact on future car insurance costs and how long the premium increase remains.

How Much Does Insurance Go Up if I’m Not at Fault?

It might not seem fair, but insurance premiums can increase no matter who’s deemed at fault in an accident by law enforcement or a claims adjuster.

For example, let’s say that a motorist runs a stop sign and hits your car at an intersection. They receive a traffic violation and are deemed 100% at fault for the accident. What you may not realize is that how you handle the claims process can have a significant effect on your future rates.

If you file an insurance claim with your own insurance company (rather than with the other driver’s) you may have to pay the deductible or out-of-pocket expenses when you get to the repair shop. In this scenario, a few months might roll by, and you’re ready to renew your policy, you notice that your rate has increased considerably. But why?

It’s the same idea as if you caused the accident. You filed an accident claim that caused the auto insurance company to pay for your damages. As a result, you may also be deemed a higher risk than someone who’s accident-free. Your rates probably won’t increase as much as if you were at fault, but you may still see an increase.

If the other driver was uninsured, this still applies. 

Therefore, if you have the other driver’s insurance information, it may make more sense to file a claim with their insurance company, not yours. You may have to deal with a bit more hassle, but it could save you big money down the road.

The Average Amount Insurance Increases After an Accident

2 cars that crashed into each other

No matter what the situation, your car insurance will increase after an accident. How much it increases depends on your insurance provider. Budget for an increase no matter what, whether you carry liability-only insurance, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, or full coverage.

So, how much will your insurance increase after an accident? These real-life averages should give you an idea: 

Liability Only Full Coverage
Clean driving record $123/month $274/month
1 at-fault ticket $179/month $390/month
Difference $56/mo. increase $73/mo. increase

As you can see from these rates, your liability insurance can increase by around 45%, while full coverage can rise by up to 42% after an accident.

How Long Will an Accident Stay on My Insurance Record?

The length of time an accident stays on your record depends on where you live, your driving history, and the severity of the accident. You can generally expect the accident to fall off your record in three to five years. A second accident will extend the timeframe.

Once the accident falls off your record, your rates will likely drop if nothing else has changed.

How Can I Reduce My Auto Insurance Costs After an Accident?

Woman driving a car

You can apply a few tips to offset some of the increased costs. Here are five options:

  • Find insurance providers that offer accident forgiveness: Insurance companies like GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and Nationwide offer an add-on policy called accident forgiveness. With accident forgiveness, the insurance company ignores your first accident with them. You will pay a surcharge for this. It can lead to lower premiums in the future, which is a win-win, especially if you’re normally a good driver.
  • Look for discounts: Whether you live in the urban sprawl of California, the rural country roads of Oklahoma, or the bustling city of Washington, D.C., you’re likely eligible for at least one discount. From being a good student to belonging to an organization, you can save up to 25% just by asking for discounts.
  • Practice safe driving: If you’re a defensive driver who avoids speeding tickets and distracted driving, you’re less likely to get in an accident.
  • Raise your deductible: Choosing a high or low deductible can have a huge impact on your car insurance rates. The higher your deductible is, the less you pay in premiums and vice-versa. If you have the financial means to pay a higher out-of-pocket deductible if needed, do so. You get a lower monthly premium as a trade-off.
  • Switch your insurance: Perhaps you just paid off a car loan or you decided to buy a used car. In some cases, you may not need full coverage insurance anymore. When you switch to liability, you can often find far lower premiums, even if you’ve recently been in an accident.

Your Rate Doesn’t Have to Surge as Much as You Think

You can’t control what other motorists do, but you can certainly change your driving habits to become a safer driver. Beyond being more attentive behind the wheel, you can lower your rates by checking insurance quotes every 6-12 months. When you get quotes regularly, you can know you’re getting quality coverage at the best rate possible.

Find Peace of Mind After an Accident With a Lower Rate

Methodology: All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

About’s #1 goal is to save you money. We publish resources that are based on hard-hitting data and years of industry experience to help you make more informed decisions with your wallet.

  • All of’s content is written and reviewed for accuracy by a team of experienced writers and editors who are experts on the topics they cover.
  • None of’s content is ever influenced by the companies and brands we partner with.
  •’s editorial team operates independently of any of the company’s partnership or business development interests. We publish unbiased information strictly for the benefit of our readers.
  • All of the content you see on is based on comprehensive analysis and all data is gathered and vetted from trustworthy sources.

Learn more about us, our team, and what makes us tick.