Getting into a car accident is jarring enough without the added stress of an insurance rate hike. There's no guarantee that you'll win any dispute with your car insurance company, but knowledge of state laws and a willingness to change insurance carriers may help you keep your rates from rising.
Research policies similar to your own offered by other insurance carriers. If you can find a carrier that does not always increase rates after an accident, you can use this as leverage in your discussion with your auto insurance company. Try nicely requesting that the company not increase your rates. If this doesn't work, point to policies other companies offer and ask why you shouldn't switch to those companies. Some companies are willing to keep rates stable to keep a customer's business, particularly if they've worked with that customer for many years.
Go to court if you receive a ticket for the accident, and consider hiring an attorney to represent you. If the judge or jury finds that you're not at fault in the accident, you can use this as leverage to convince your company not to hike your rates. Similarly, if the other party gets a ticket, consider going to court to testify as a witness. If you have evidence that the other party was particularly reckless, this might also serve as leverage with your insurance company.
Check your state's laws. Some states prohibit rate hikes when an auto insurance consumer is not at fault in a car accident. If this is the case in your state, your insurance company cannot legally change your rates. Point this out to your claims adjuster, and if you don't make progress, contact your state attorney general to notify them of the violation.
Review your auto insurance policy, which is a legally binding contract. It may outline specific instances in which your rates will rise or place limitations on the amounts by which rates can increase. If your insurance company attempts to do something that contradicts the policy, cite the specific policy language prohibiting the insurance company's rate hike.
An attorney who specializes in auto insurance claims may be able to help you more effectively negotiate with your insurance company.
- USInsurance.com: How Accidents Affect Your Car Insurance Premiums
- Esurance: Rates Automatically Rise After a Claim
- Esurance: How Car Accidents Can Affect Your Rate
- Insure.com: How Much Will My Insurance Go Up After an Accident?
- 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: Will Your Auto Insurance Premiums Go Up After an Auto Accident?
- Texas Department of Insurance: Consumer Bill of Rights
- An attorney who specializes in auto insurance claims may be able to help you more effectively negotiate with your insurance company.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.