Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 17, 2020

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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
  • Changing auto insurance after an accident can be a good way to save money but don’t think that your new insurance company will not find out about your accident
  • 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 the best auto insurance after an accident 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. No auto insurance company will cover accidents from before the policy starts. Drivers with one accident pay $81.39/month more on average for insurance than those with clean records.

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. If you are willing to switch auto insurance after an accident then you might be able to find the best rates. If you are wondering how much auto insurance goes up after an accident with Geico vs how much auto insurance goes up with Progressive or Allstate or some other company, you should know that companies treat accidents differently depending upon a number of factors.

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 follows is 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.

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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 auto insurance 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.

Can I cancel auto insurance after an accident?

Yes, you can cancel auto insurance after an accident. Be sure that you never drive without insurance and that you always get the minimum auto insurance coverage required by the state.

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Can you switch insurance companies 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.

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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!

Can you cancel car insurance after an accident?

You can cancel your car insurance after an accident or at any time. However, if you apply to another company, your accident may cause higher rates.

  • After an accident or filing a claim, your auto insurance premium could potentially go up
  • You have the right to cancel your policy at any time
  • In most states, you are required to have minimum amounts of auto insurance

Car insurance can be quite confusing after an accident. However, ensuring that you have the right types and amounts of coverage can protect you if you ever need to file a claim.

Regardless of whether you’ve been in a car accident, you should never cancel your car insurance until you have coverage with a different company. Otherwise, you would be breaking the law.

Make sure you have appropriate coverage. Enter your zip code above to compare multiple quotes at once!

I was in an accident. Now what?

Chances are that one day you will be in a car accident if you haven’t already. It is important for you, your passengers, and any other involved parties to seek medical care immediately if it is necessary, without regard to how it will be paid.

The health and well-being of everyone involved should be the priority.

As soon as possible after the accident, you will need to notify your auto insurance carrier. Be prepared to describe the accident and the circumstances preceding it.

If available, you should also provide your carrier with the name of the responding law enforcement officer and the police report number. Your auto insurance carrier will help you officially file your claims for the accident.

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Types of Insurance Coverage

Your auto insurance policy is like several mini-policies rolled into one. Together they can give you complete coverage so that you are protected no matter what calamity your car might befall. Here are the different coverage types:


Liability is the minimum type of insurance that most states legally require their drivers to have. Property liability covers the damages you cause to the property of others while bodily injury liability covers their medical or funeral expenses.

It is important to remember that liability only covers other parties for the damages you cause, it will not cover your losses.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

Although insurance is a mandatory requirement in almost every corner of the nation, some drivers still ignore this requirement.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you are covered if you are hit by someone who has no insurance or if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

Underinsured motorist coverage provides additional payments if the other party’s liability coverage does not pay for all of your damages.

Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection

If you have medical payments coverage, also known as med pay or PIP for short, it will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and even hired help around the house that is needed due to your own injuries.

You can use this coverage regardless of who was at fault for the accident.


Collision is an optional coverage that pays for damages to your vehicle as a result of colliding with something else like a car, tree, or building. With this coverage, you select your deductible and your policy limits.


Comprehensive coverage also requires you to choose a deductible and policy limits. However, it differs from collision coverage in that it covers other events such as the following:

  • natural disaster
  • fire, flood
  • theft
  • vandalism
  • hitting an animal


If you lease your vehicle, you likely already pay for GAP insurance within your lease. If you have a financed vehicle, it is also wise to look into this coverage.

Since cars depreciate quickly, it is likely that you owe more on your loan or lease than your car insurance company would give you if they determined that your car was a total loss after you filed a claim. GAP coverage will pay the difference in the amounts.

Will my car insurance rates go up after I file a claim?

The answer to this question varies depending on the following:

  • Your own driving record
  • Claims history
  • The policies of your car insurance company

In general, you can expect your car insurance carrier to raise your rates after a claim if it meets a specific dollar amount and the accident was at least partially your fault.

In most cases, a claim will stay on your driving record for three years. So, when does car insurance go down after an accident? Generally, around three years.

Each auto insurance company has its own limits and requirements for raising your rates, so a claim for one driver that will not raise his rates may be a claim that causes rates to go up with another insurance carrier.

When does auto insurance go up after an accident?

Every company is different. Some companies may hike your rates sooner rather than later, while others may offer you accident forgiveness and not increase your car insurance rates because of an accident at all! Of course, wondering how much insurance will go up for a minor accident or wondering how much your auto insurance rates will increase after an accident for a teenager are all complexities that will affect your situation. Generally speaking, your carrier and the state you live in will have the largest effect on what happens to your insurance rates after a car accident. Learn more about finding auto insurance for teens after an accident.

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Can you cancel your auto insurance after an accident?

As a consumer, you have the right to cancel your car insurance at any time and for any reason. Some people cancel because they have found a cheaper policy, while others cancel because they no longer own their vehicle.

However, most require you to give written notice within a set timeframe. You should check with your auto insurance carrier on their specific requirements and policies. You don’t want to get in a car accident without insurance.

In most states, you are legally required to carry car insurance at all times.

When you get quotes from other companies, you will be asked about your accident and claim history.

If you think your accident was recent enough that it may not show up on your driving record, keep in mind that you are required to tell the truth on an auto policy application.

Sooner or later the carrier could find out about your recent infraction and either raise your rates or drop you as a customer altogether.

Ways to Decrease Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Even if you have a rate increase in your premium after your accident or claims, there are steps to take to try to offset the increased cost such as:

  • Ask about Discounts – Most, if not all, car insurance companies have multiple discounts that drivers can qualify for. This includes multi-car, multi-policy, good student, safe driver, and military.
  • Consider Increasing Deductibles – In most cases, if you increase your deductible, your rate will go down. If you decide to take this step, be sure you can pay the deductible if you ever need to file a claim.
  • Reduce Coverage Types and Amounts – You can also examine your auto policy to see if you can lower some of your coverage limits or even drop certain coverages you do not need. Doing so will likely drop the price of your policy.

Instead of canceling your policy to avoid rate increases after a car accident, shop around and see if you can find better rates. Using a car insurance price comparison tool can help ensure you are paying the best prices available. Get started with our free tool today!

How to Buy Auto Insurance with Accidents on Your Record

Are you a high-risk driver with accidents on your record? Don’t worry. Get quotes from at least three different insurance companies online and save up to $859.

  • Your driving record and number of accidents may play a big part in your insurance rates
  • You should compare at least three different companies before making a final decision
  • How you pay your premium may also be a way to reduce your rates

Comparing at least three different companies is a good way to start your search for cheap auto insurance for high-risk drivers.

Companies typically offer a free estimate or even an instant quote so you can easily compare and contrast what they’re offering. You can also focus on ways to reduce your rates.

Click here to shop around for car insurance by entering your ZIP code in our FREE tool.

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Ways to Reduce Rates After an Accident

You have several ways to tweak your insurance plan with the overall aim of reducing your post accident car insurance rates

While these reduction methods may apply to any driver with any type of record, they can be especially helpful for those who are already paying more due to a bad driving record.

Increasing your deductible for your collision and comprehensive coverage are ideal places to start since you have more say over the type and level of your repairs to your own vehicle than you do for repairing the vehicles of others under your liability coverage.

Washington’s Insurance Department also notes you can pay for smaller claims out of your own pocket, instead of running them through the insurance company.

By not filing claims unless absolutely necessary, your claims history will remain low.

How you pay your premium may also be a way to reduce your rates. Paying for an entire year’s worth of coverage in one lump sum may come out cheaper than paying in monthly installments.

Car insurance companies may offer a discount for paying the entire premium at once and it may also be a way to avoid monthly fees and services charges tacked onto your bill every time you make a payment.

Making sure you are not duplicating insurance coverage can also help you trim some fat off your car insurance bill.

For instance, if your health insurance already covers medical bills if you are in an accident, you can scale back on medical coverage under your car insurance plan.

Types of Coverage

You may be able to scale back on other types of coverage in a bid to save money on your auto insurance.

If your car would cost more to insure than it would to replace, you may be able to forget about comprehensive or collision coverage altogether.

Of course, you do want to comply with state law and obtain the minimum amount of car insurance required for the state, but additional coverage is your choice.

Review state minimums and then decide how much additional coverage you would feasibly need. Also, make sure an insurance company is not automatically including coverage you neither want nor need when they are offering a quote or drawing up a policy.

Also, make sure an insurance company is not automatically including coverage you neither want nor need when they are offering a quote or drawing up a policy.

Make Other Factors Count

Your driving record and number of accidents may play a big part in your insurance rates, but they are not the only factors involved.

You can try to offset the high cost of insurance due to your accident record by making sure other factors on the list get you the lowest rates possible.

While some of the factors are beyond your control, others may be adjusted to keep your rates down.

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Factors Beyond Your Control

Your age and gender are two factors that go into calculating your rates. The highest premiums go to the highest risk group of drivers, which are those under age 25.

Males under age 25 boost the premium even further as they statistically have more accidents than female drivers under age 25 do.

Married couples typically have lower rates than singles, although you may not want to propose just to get an insurance break.

All members of your household are factors that go into calculating your premium.

If you have a job that requires you to use your own vehicle, your rates may be higher than a job that only requires you to drive to and from work.

Living in an area that is known for high crime and car thefts can increase your rates over lower-crime zones.

Congested urban areas typically merit higher rates than sparsely populated rural locations.

Factors You Can Adjust

Even if your driving record is currently trashed, you can keep it as squeaky clean as possible going forward.

That means driving safely, obeying all traffic laws, and paying acute attention to the road should be top priorities.

Other factors you can adjust include:

  • Your annual mileage
  • Type of car you have
  • Your credit record

Lower rates generally come from lower mileage. You can explore taking public transportation, carpooling, or even walking to reduce the mileage on your vehicle.

The make and age of your vehicle are other factors within your control.

Cars that are frequently stolen are on the high end of the insurance cost scale, as are vehicles that cost a lot to repair.

You can ask insurance companies for estimates for insuring a specific type of vehicle before you actually buy that vehicle. They may be able to help guide you toward vehicles that are low-cost on their insurance list.

Your credit record may play a part in your insurance rates.

Like your driving record, you may not be able to fix your credit record in an instant, but you can employ measures to improve it going forward.

Measures include paying your bills on time, paying off as much debt as possible, and not applying for many new accounts at once.

You may also want to review your credit record to ensure there are no mistakes on the record that could be bringing you down.

Make Discounts Count

A number of discounts offered by insurance companies may help shave money off your overall insurance premium.

Companies may give you a reduced rate for insuring more than one vehicle with the company or having more than one policy type with it.

You may be able to choose a single company for your house and auto insurance, which could merit a break.

Your vehicle’s safety and security features can net you a discount, with the more the merrier. Security measures include car alarms, tracking devices, wheel locks, and brake locks.

Special Programs

If a driving record is particularly awful, some insurance companies may refuse to offer insurance at all.

However, just because one insurance company denies coverage, don’t assume they all will.

The Texas Department of Insurance points out that each company sets its own rules and one works for one may not be the same for another.

The Texas DUI also notes that the highest costs of insurance may come from some of the more serious traffic violations.

These include:

  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Criminally negligent driving
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving under the influence

Even companies that refuse to insure high-risk drivers may be associated with other member companies that do.

It never hurts to ask. It also never hurts to look into insurance companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers when comparing your options.

One more area to research if you are having trouble finding high-risk insurance would be programs that may be available in your state.

Texas has a state-run insurance program that may insure drivers that cannot obtain it elsewhere.

California also has a plan, known as the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. Each insurance company in the state is required to take on CAARP applications, according to the California Department of Insurance.

While the rates may be different than you’d find through a traditional program, all CAARP rates are the same regardless of what company offers the insurance.

If you successfully maintain a good driving record for three years under the CAARP plan, you will be eligible to move from CAARP to a standard insurance policy.

Your state’s department of insurance may be able to guide you in the right direction and let you know if such a program exists for you.

State-run car insurance programs usually have very strict requirements and are one of the last places to look for insurance.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE tool below and start comparing auto insurance quotes now

Automobile Accident Statistics

Worldwide, about 1.2 million people die in auto accidents every year. Learn more auto accident statistics with even more facts and data.

  • Over 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents
  • Pedestrians have a 90 percent chance of survival if hit by a car traveling 30 mph or less
  • Approximately 25 percent of all automobile accidents as a direct result of the driver talking on a cell phone

Worldwide, 1.2 million people die in car accidents yearly. Researchers have found many different facts and data to analyze causes of crashes to prevent them in the future. Here are some interesting statistics about car accidents.

Auto accident statistics should serve to remind us to not only drive safely to avoid injury but also to save us some money. The safer of a driver that you are then the more likely it is that you will pay less for auto insurance.

No matter what your accident and driving history is like, driving defensively is what matters most!

Auto accident statistics should serve to remind us to not only drive safely to avoid injury but also to save us some money. The safer you are, the more likely it is that you will pay less for auto insurance.

No matter what your accident and driving history is like, be sure to enter your zip code above and compare auto insurance quotes!

Automobiles and the Environment

Hopefully, the car accident stats above will persuade you to be a safe driver and a conscientious auto insurance shopper. Enter your zip code below for free money-saving auto insurance quotes now!

Can affordable online auto insurance protect me in an accident?

As with any company, make sure you do your homework. Look at several companies, and research their stability, customer service, and claims processing.

  • Affordable auto insurance policies purchased online are as good as the company that backs them
  • Before researching an insurance provider, find out exactly what you need in terms of coverage
  • Choose several insurance companies and compare the same policy from each to find the best deal

Getting free quotes to compare auto insurance and buying your policy online are two ways the Internet makes life easier for those shopping for car insurance.

Virtually all insurance companies will provide free online quotes to those who request them; almost all auto insurance companies offer customers the option of buying car insurance policies online.

Buying a policy online is so quick and easy that some people may wonder if an auto insurance policy purchased online will actually protect them.

Before purchasing an auto insurance policy online or any other way, first shop around for the best auto insurance rates for your particular insurance need.

Get FREE online quotes now by entering your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool.

How to Shop for the Best Car Insurance After an Accident

There are several aspects to shopping for car insurance after an accident. First, decide what type of policy you need:

  • If you own your car outright, meaning you do not make payments for your car, you may opt to carry only liability coverage
  • If you make pay payments on your vehicle, the company that holds the loan for your car will require that you carry full coverage
  • A full coverage policy is a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage and sometimes additional types of insurance

Next, choose a handful of insurance companies to compare, and make note of your selections.

From most online auto insurance shopping tools, you will be able to request a free quote from each of your chosen car insurance companies. Request quotes for similar policies.

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Ask About Discounts

Before you make your final decision, ask each of the car insurance companies on your short list about the discounts they offer.

You may qualify for several discounts, lowering your premiums even more.

Some of the more common discounts include:

  • Multiple Vehicle Discount
  • Good Student Discount
  • Good Driver Discount
  • Multi-Policy Discount

When shopping for car insurance, be sure to consider the discounts that each company on your short list offers and figure the discount into the premium payments.

This will give you an idea of what your rates would be with a policy from the given company.

Read Company Rankings and Reviews

Now that you have a short list of favored car insurance companies that offer their affordable insurance products online, research each company in the list.

Research each of the car insurance companies to discover what consumers are saying about the company. Company ratings are provided by various consumer agencies, such as Consumer Reports and JD Power and Associates.

Check an auto insurance company’s financial strength by researching the company through AM Best. Retain only those companies that are ranked well by independent ranking agencies.

Customer reviews also provide a great deal of insight into the way car insurance companies conduct business.

A customer review is usually one customer’s experience with a given company.

However, if you start to notice a consensus between reviewers about a company, positive or negative, you can assume that the reviewed content should merit your attention.

When you have worked through these steps for shopping for car insurance, you should now have whittled your list down to one or two auto insurance providers that offer online policies.

Select the provider that you feel will provide you with the best rates and the best customer service.

An easy way to see which company offers the best rates and service is to enter your ZIP code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool!