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Last updated: November 16, 2023

Auto Insurance Claims That Increase Rates

Can you be charged more for car insurance even if an accident wasn’t your fault?

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There are numerous scary things about getting into a car accident. You may have property damage or, worse, bodily injuries, not to mention psychological trauma. But one thing you may face in addition to damages and injuries is increased auto insurance rates.

It’s not only accidents that can increase insurance rates, either. Events completely out of your control, such as natural disasters, can bump up your premiums as well. Let’s see just how much claims may move the needle on your car insurance costs.

Auto Insurance Claims That Affect Your Premiums

In general, the more auto insurance claims you file, the more your car insurance will cost, even if the losses were not your fault.

No-Fault vs. At-Fault Accidents

The most expensive rate hike would be after an at-fault accident as insurance companies will see you as a high-risk driver.1 However, you can still see a rate increase following an accident you didn’t cause, such as someone hitting your parked car. The only time you wouldn’t see an increase is if you had accident forgiveness protection, which we’ll explain more about below.

Comprehensive Claims

Comprehensive insurance covers property damage from events other than collisions, such as vandalism, car theft, inclement weather or hitting an animal. Surprisingly, insurers can increase your rates following comprehensive claims, although much less than for at-fault accidents. Even other people in your area making comprehensive claims can increase your rates as it implies a greater chance of car theft, vandalism and more.2

Factors That Impact Premiums After Insurance Claims

Wondering why the cost of your auto insurance is so high following an insurance claim? Take these factors into account.

Accident Severity

The more severe the accident, the higher your premiums will go.

Claim Cost

Similarly, more expensive claims will cause higher rate increases too.

Driving Record

Someone with a bad driving record could be more affected financially than someone with a good driving record.


You’ll pay more if you were found to be at fault in an accident. The higher your percentage of fault, the higher your rate increase will be.


You’ll also see a higher increase in no-fault states vs. in liability (at-fault) states, as each party is responsible for any medical bills resulting from an accident.3

State Fault system
Alabama At fault
Alaska At fault
Arizona At fault
Arkansas No fault
California At fault
Colorado At fault
Connecticut At fault
Delaware No fault
Florida No fault
Georgia At fault
Hawaii No fault
Idaho At fault
Illinois At fault
Indiana At fault
Iowa At fault
Kansas No fault
Kentucky Optional
Louisiana At fault
Maine At fault
Maryland At fault
Massachusetts No fault
Michigan At fault
Minnesota No fault
Mississippi At fault
Missouri At fault
Montana At fault
Nebraska At fault
Nevada At fault
New Hampshire At fault
New Jersey Optional
New Mexico At fault
New York No fault
North Carolina At fault
North Dakota No fault
Ohio At fault
Oklahoma At fault
Oregon At fault (but requires personal injury protection)
Pennsylvania Optional
Rhode Island At fault
South Carolina At fault
South Dakota At fault
Tennessee At fault
Texas No fault
Utah No fault
Vermont At fault
Virginia At fault
Washington At fault
Washington D.C. At fault
West Virginia At fault
Wisconsin At fault
Wyoming At fault

The Cost of Car Insurance With Accidents

How much will your car insurance go up after an accident?

By Company

Liberty Mutual, on average, increases its car insurance rates the most following an at-fault accident with a whopping 167 percent increase. Travelers and Erie, on the other hand, only increase rates by 34 percent on average.

Company Average insurance rate increase after at-fault accident
Allstate 87%
Auto-Owners 37%
Erie 34%
Farmers 156%
Liberty Mutual 167%
Nationwide 117%
Progressive 72%
State Farm 74%
Travelers 34%
USAA 42%

By State

You can expect the most elevated car insurance rates post-accident in California, where the average increase is more than 70 percent. Increases are less than 20 percent in Rhode Island, in contrast.

State Average insurance rate increase after at-fault accident
Alabama 47%
Alaska 49%
Arizona 56%
Arkansas 51%
California 71%
Colorado 45%
Connecticut 54%
Delaware 35%
Florida 46%
Georgia 57%
Hawaii 40%
Idaho 39%
Illinois 52%
Indiana 52%
Iowa 50%
Kansas 46%
Kentucky 56%
Louisiana 52%
Maine 46%
Maryland 53%
Massachusetts 65%
Michigan 50%
Minnesota 44%
Mississippi 55%
Missouri 51%
Montana 46%
Nebraska 58%
Nevada 44%
New Hampshire 53%
New Jersey 50%
New Mexico 56%
New York 40%
North Carolina 68%
North Dakota 40%
Ohio 52%
Oklahoma 49%
Oregon 50%
Pennsylvania 59%
Rhode Island 19%
South Carolina 43%
South Dakota 41%
Tennessee 52%
Texas 64%
Utah 52%
Vermont 46%
Virginia 44%
Washington 45%
Washington, D.C. 46%
West Virginia 47%
Wisconsin 49%
Wyoming 34%

Why Rates Increase After Accidents

Having an accident, whether you caused it or not, makes you a high-risk driver, someone insurers believe is more likely to file claims in the future. That’s why you’ll likely see an insurance rate increase following a claim of any kind but particularly accident claims.


Not all insurance companies accept high-risk drivers. If you’re having trouble getting covered because of your driving history, check out our picks for the best high-risk auto insurance.

Should I Report a Car Accident?

To avoid inflated insurance rates, some people choose not to report a car accident and don’t file claims for them. They prefer to pay for their losses out of pocket and avoid dealing with premium increases and insurance deductibles. However, if someone sues you over an accident, you’ll want your insurance company to be able to defend you using evidence, so keeping your insurer in the dark is a poor choice. Plus, if you don’t submit claims in time, your company may not be required to cover you, depending on your state’s statute of limitations.

State How long you have to file property damage claims in years How long you have to file personal injury claims in years
Alabama 2 2
Alaska 2 2
Arizona 2 2
Arkansas 3 3
California 3 2
Colorado 3 3
Connecticut 2 2
Delaware 2 2
Florida 4 4
Georgia 4 2
Hawaii 2 2
Idaho 3 2
Illinois 5 2
Indiana 2 2
Iowa 5 2
Kansas 2 2
Kentucky 2 1
Louisiana 1 1
Maine 6 6
Maryland 3 3
Massachusetts 3 3
Michigan 3 3
Minnesota 6 2
Mississippi 3 3
Missouri 5 5
Montana 2 3
Nebraska 4 4
Nevada 3 2
New Hampshire 3 3
New Jersey 6 6
New Mexico 4 3
New York 3 3
North Carolina 3 3
North Dakota 6 6
Ohio 4 4
Oklahoma 2 2
Oregon 6 2
Pennsylvania 2 2
Rhode Island 10 3
South Carolina 3 3
South Dakota 6 3
Tennessee 3 1
Texas 2 2
Utah 3 4
Vermont 3 3
Virginia 5 2
Washington 3 3
Washington, D.C. 3 3
West Virginia 2 2
Wisconsin 6 3
Wyoming 4 4

You’ll want a police report for your claim too. Although it may seem easier to leave both the cops and your insurer out of the situation, it’s best to submit claims for any incidents you have — except those where the expected repairs will cost less than your remaining deductible.

Accident Forgiveness

You may have heard about “accident forgiveness” in car insurance ads, but what does it mean?

What is Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a policy where an insurance company promises it won’t increase the insured’s premium following their first at-fault accident within a given period, typically a few years. Every state except California allows accident forgiveness.4 In California, where car insurance is expensive enough as is, offering accident forgiveness would increase prices too much, breaking Proposition 203, which made insurance companies decrease rates by 20 percent.

Companies That Offer Accident Forgiveness

Does your current insurance provider offer accident forgiveness? The following is a list of companies with accident forgiveness policies; other insurers we mentioned above, like State Farm and Travelers, do not have these policies.

It’s probably not worth switching auto insurance companies just to get accident forgiveness, as these policies will be more expensive, but if you are already at a provider with this policy, take advantage.

Company name Accident forgiveness policy States available Extras
Allstate Rate won’t go up even if it was an at-fault accident. Not listed Safe driving bonus for every accident-free six-month period.

Get $100 off your collision deductible, plus another $!00 each year you drive without having an accident, up to $500 total.

American Family Rates won’t increase after the first at-fault accident, but only eligible for purchased accident forgiveness if you’ve had no at-fault accidents in the past year and no more than one in the past three years. For earned accident forgiveness, must be claim-free for five years. Not listed Not listed
Erie Won’t be surcharged for the first at-fault accident as long as you’ve been a customer for three or more years. Not listed N/A
Farmers Won’t raise premiums due to at-fault accidents; allows one every three years. All except California, Hawaii, New York and South Carolina N/A
GEICO Rates won’t increase following the first at-fault accident; allows one per policy. All except California, Connecticut and Massachusetts Regular accident forgiveness is free for those with good driving records.
Liberty Mutual Price won’t increase following the first accident, but only people with five accident-free years of driving are eligible. Not listed N/A
Nationwide Could help avoid a rate increase after the first at-fault accident; allows one per policy Not listed N/A
Progressive Small accidents: Forgives claims under $500.

Large accidents: Forgiveness available to customers with five violation-free years.

Not listed N/A
The Hartford (AARP) Won’t increase rates after one at-fault accident if all drivers on policy have clean driving records for five consecutive years with The Hartford All except California N/A
USAA Won’t increase rates after no at-fault accidents in several years Not listed N/A

How Long an Accident Stays on Your Record

Accidents will stay on your record for anywhere from three to five years, depending on your state and the severity of the accident.

How to Lower Car Insurance Rates After an Accident

Although rates usually go up after an accident, there are ways to lower auto insurance costs:

  1. Switch carriers: Another provider may offer you a better deal. Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare quotes.
  2. Adjust insurance coverage: Dropping unnecessary coverage will decrease your rates.
  3. Raise your deductible: Similarly, raising your deductible will also reduce premiums.
  4. Check for discounts: Ask your insurance agent what discounts you qualify for or could qualify for. Something as simple as enrolling in paperless billing could save you money.
  5. Improve your credit: In every state except Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan and California, insurance companies give higher rates to drivers with bad credit as they’re more likely to file claims. Improving your credit score could help you get lower rates.


Taking a defensive driving course is often a win-win, getting you a car insurance discount and making you a safer driver. Having no traffic violations for a specific amount of time will result in lower rates as well.


Unfortunately, filing an auto insurance claim will result in an increase in rates in most cases. However, the entire point of having car insurance is to ensure you have coverage in the event of any losses, so if you never submit claims, what is the point of paying for it at all? Let your policy do for you what you signed up for and protect your finances by submitting claims when they arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many car insurance claims are too many?

There is no legal limit on how many insurance claims you can submit. However, having multiple claims in a short period may make insurance companies view you as a high-risk driver, and they may not want to renew your policy at the end of the term. Additionally, you’ll see higher rates with other insurance companies if you have several claims, although there’s no specific threshold.

Why do car insurance companies raise rates after claims?

Insurance companies raise rates after claims because having claims means you’re more likely to have claims in the future, costing the companies more to insure you. To protect themselves against future financial losses, they raise their rates, increasing the chances of gross profit.

What are the costliest car insurance claims?

The costliest insurance claims are bodily injury claims, according to 2021 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That year, the average bodily injury claim cost $22,734 while the second-most expensive type of claim, property damage, cost only $5,314.

Claim type Number of claims per 100 earned car years (frequency) Incurred losses in 2021
Bodily injury 0.78 $22,734
Property damage 2.28 $5,314
Collision 4.2 $5,010
Comprehensive 3.15 $2,042

Is it worth filing a car insurance claim for a dent?

If you want the dent to be fixed, it could be worth filing a car insurance claim. If another party caused the damage, you could make a third-party claim with their insurance provider so that it’s covered under their property damage coverage.

If the damage was your fault or the fault of a noncollision event like hail, you could make a collision or comprehensive claim. However, you’ll have to pay your deductible, so if the repairs will cost less than your deductible, it’s probably not worth it to make a claim, as it’ll make your rates increase most likely.


  1. Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim? Insurance Information Institute. (2023).

  2. Why did my car insurance rate go up? Progressive. (2023).

  3. Will my car insurance rate increase after an accident? Allstate. (2022, Apr).

  4. Information Sheet: Proposition 103 Intervenor Process. California Department of Insurance. (2023).