Can I get car insurance after an accident?

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Things to remember...

  • If you have an accident, you must have valid insurance at the time of the accident for an insurer to cover your claim
  • Some states allow insurers to deny third-party claims when the injured party was uninsured at the time of loss
  • If you file an accident claim with your insurer, the claim will be investigated before it’s settled
  • If you cancel your policy after the accident, you can get another policy with the accident on your record
  • If the carrier has labeled you as the at-fault driver, you’ll pay a surcharge regardless of where you have insurance

Getting insurance isn’t difficult when you know where to shop. As long as you own your own car, you have a driver’s license, and an acceptable driving record, you’ll be able to find a carrier in the marketplace that will sell you insurance.

What’s considered an acceptable record depends entirely on the insurer and the underwriting guidelines that have been set.

After you get into an accident, it’s still possible to buy insurance. The coverage that you buy post-accident could be more expensive if the accident has been declared at fault.

Consumers who are shopping for affordable insurance with an accident on their record should always compare rates with multiple carriers. You’ll always be able to find coverage after an accident, but here follows what you need to know.

If you are on the lookout for auto insurance coverage, start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code above!

You Must Have Insurance At the Time of the Accident

You can buy insurance to cover you for future losses after you have an accident, but you can’t buy a policy following the accident in hopes of the insurer paying for the damages.

If you’re uninsured at the time of the loss, no insurer is going to backdate your coverage so that you have coverage at the time of the accident.

Backdating insurance coverage is against the law.

The Cost of Being Uninsured At the Time of the Accident

If you let your coverage lapse or you never purchased a policy, being uninsured can cost you.

In most states, when you don’t buy insurance you’ll be penalized. You could be assessed monetary fines or you could even be charged with a Class C misdemeanor that can later be upgraded to a Class B.

Criminal and civil penalties aren’t the only things that can affect you. If you have an uninsured loss and law enforcement arrives at the scene of the accident, it’s possible that your car will be impounded.

In some states, uninsured drivers who get into accidents that result in property damage or injury can be arrested at the scene.

Can you be penalized if you’re uninsured in a not-at-fault accident?

When you’re in an accident with a reckless driver and there’s no question that the other driver is at fault, don’t count on collecting from the other party for your damages.

In some states, insurance companies are legally allowed to deny a claim made by a third-party when the party who suffer damages doesn’t have insurance.

In some cases, you might be able to get away with filing a third-party claim and collecting for your repairs and your medical bills.

What you should know is that most insurance adjusters will use a database to check your insurance status when you’re filing the claim, even if you choose to handle it yourself without involving a carrier. If this happens, the adjuster could deny your claim if they see that your insurance doesn’t exist.

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Can you switch insurance carriers after you file an accident claim?

If you have insurance and you file a claim against your policy to help pay for your expenses after an accident, the case will be assigned to an adjuster and investigated.

The adjuster will look at reports, assess the location of the damage, take statements, and interview witnesses to determine who is at fault for the accident.

The claim isn’t closed until the at-fault party has been declared and the settlement is paid out.

As long as you had coverage at the time of the accident, you’re free to switch carriers in the middle of the claims investigation before the case is even closed.

Most policyholders will wait to make the switch, but if you decide you want to move to another carrier right away, the insurer still has to pay the claim.

What happens if you’re the at-fault driver?


If the fault has been allocated and the carriers investigating agree that you were primarily to blame for the loss, the claim will be classified as an at-fault accident.

When you’re at-fault, the carrier can surcharge your premiums at your next renewal. You won’t see a change in your rates during the current term.

The accident surcharge will raise your rates and could even make you ineligible for receiving good driver discounts.

If you already have tickets and accidents on your record, there is a possibility that the carrier could non-renew your policy at the next term because of your points.

Can the new carrier charge you if you’re at fault for the accident?

If you decide to switch to a new company, you aren’t free and clear of being charged for the accident.

There’s no rule that says only the carrier that pays out the claim is able to surcharge your rates when you have an accident.

Any company that sells you insurance is free to run your driving record and claims record. If they see the accident and it’s been declared at fault, they can surcharge you on the new policy.

How much is an accident surcharge?

Accident surcharges vary by household. Companies who prefer to insurer excellent drivers might have larger surcharges than sub-standard carriers.

Some other factors that can play a role in the amount of your surcharge are:

  • State limits to car insurance surcharges
  • Accident history and if you have other at-fault accidents
  • Your driving record and if you have moving violations
  • Your age, gender, marital status, and years of driving experience
  • The vehicle that you drive
  • Discounts for accident-free and good drivers

You will always be able to find car insurance when you qualify for a driver’s license.

If you’re having trouble finding a good policy at a good price, it’s best to use an online quoting system to compare rates. Enter your information and make sure that you disclose the accident.

Once you look over the instant quotes, choose the policy that’s best.

Start comparison shopping with our FREE online quote tool! Enter your ZIP code below to get started!

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