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Aug 31

How Long Does an AccidentViolation Affect Car Insurance

There are some folks that are perfect drivers. They never get any traffic violations. They have never caused an accident. In fact, they have never even been involved in an accident, let alone cause one. These are the clients insurance companies love to have. Insurance companies do all they can to entice these perfect drivers to purchase their policy. They are showered with praise and discounts and discount double checks.

But what about the rest of us? What happens when you cause an accident or you get a moving violation? Are you doomed to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the rest of you life for car insurance? Well, your rates will not immediately go up.

The only time the price can increase during the policy period is when you fill out the application incorrectly in the first place. Policies are contracts that insurance companies must honor for the life of the contract (usually 6 or 12 months). But your renewal will reflect your new accident or moving violation and it will most likely cause your premium to increase. There are exceptions. Accident forgiveness programs are offered by many insurers, for example.

If you do not have the benefit of having accident forgiveness do you have to pay for that accident or violation forever? Do you have to pass that accident on to your children and your children’s children? Is your future ruined? Different insurance companies will treat accidents and moving violations differently. Most insurers will charge for at-fault accidents and moving violations for at least 3 years. Moving violations usually drop off after 3 years and at-fault accidents are still considered, but the affect is much less after 3 years. Usually after 5 years at-fault accidents have no effect on your car insurance rate.

Not-at-fault accidents can also be a factor for some insurance companies for up to 5 years. Not-at-fault accidents are not charged against you, but can prevent you from having certain “accident free” discounts. Most companies will only consider not-at-fault accidents for 3 years and not five.

If you have had an accident or moving violation, your rates will most likely increase. But you will not have to deal with that rate increase forever. Now, if you find that rate increase unbearable, it may be time to shop around for new car insurance. There are some companies that forgive an accident if you fall within certain criteria. Call around and make sure you contact an independent agent.

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