So you explored the many types of auto insurance. Then you bought the right insurance with the right deductible, thinking you would protect your car and occupants from harm by yourself or others. Next, you got into an unfortunate accident.
Well, first of all, it doesn't always matter who is at fault. The number of no fault insurance claims filed on your behalf can have a direct impact on your insurance rates. So your rates can still hike if you have too many claims. In fact, it could be grounds for cancellation or non-renewal.
The answer is it could. Of course, California law requires you to file a Form SR-1 accident report report within 10 days of the wreck with the DMV if the damage is above $1000.00 U.S. So whether or not you're at fault matters not.
When you file a claim, typically your insurance representative will file the SR-1 on your behalf. Or when you hire a car accident lawyer, the firm usually files one.
Even if you don't file a claim with your carrier, they constantly look at driving histories of policyholders during the course of the policy. The problem is that even if you're not at fault, your present and future insurer assesses all risks, not just at fault risks.
If you get into a lot of no fault accidents, you may seem like a high risk as long as those car accident reports remain on your DMV Printout. Get it?
The DMV printout is a time based record of your driving history. The printout records traffic tickets like following too closely, DUI's, no fault and at fault accidents. It contains a point based record of crimes, infractions and accidents.
With the exception of serious offenses like Driving While Intoxicated, minor points will stay on your driving record for 3 years, or 36 months.
How long does a no fault accident stay on your record? Unfortunately, even if you're not at fault, the record of the accident remains for 3 years like an at fault collision would. Seems unfair right? Actuaries will use this information when determining your rates unfortunately.
Before we digress too much here, is it even in your best interest to file a claim? I mean, you got stellar coverage and now you are worried your rates will go up. First off, as discussed sometimes you have no choice but to report this to the DMV. The key here is eliminating or reducing the number of claims you file.
Otherwise, you remain at risk for a minor to substantial increase. A good idea would be to ignore scratches and dings and only file a claim for a catastrophic loss. Even if you remained claim free for years, and never skipped a payment, your insurer still can decline your renewal, or refuse upgrading your coverage after your policy expiration.
In a nutshell, yes, your rates can go up regardless of fault. And this is a future cost factor your lawyer should consider when settling your car accident case. To learn more about auto accidents, contact Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC at (213) 596-9642. We help car accident victims in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Francisco.