If your insurance company raises your rates after a car accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t take it lying down. You pay for insurance to protect you financially after a wreck. You don’t expect to be punished for someone else’s mistake.
After a car accident in Conyers, Atlanta, or anywhere else in Georgia, call the Weinstein Firm for the help you need.
Do Rates Go Up After a Car Accident?
The answer depends on several factors, including your insurance company’s policies and the specifics of your situation.
Typically, insurers evaluate rates based on the policyholder’s risk profile, considering things like driving history, vehicle type, location, and other factors within one’s control. Car accidents outside of the policyholder’s control are often excluded from risk assessments since they do not reflect one’s actual likelihood of filing a claim.
Rates Usually Increase If You’re at Fault
If you are deemed liable for a car accident, it’s almost certain that your insurance premiums will rise. However, the extent of the increase may depend on the monetary value of the damages incurred.
Georgia is an at-fault state. An accident for which you are at fault could affect your record for three years. Interestingly, even if you are not at fault, your insurance provider might still raise your premiums, albeit not as significantly as they would for an at-fault accident.
Rates Shouldn’t Go Up If You’re Not at Fault
If the other driver is determined to be at fault and their insurance covers the costs, your rates should not be affected. However, this can vary depending on the accident’s specific circumstances and your insurance company’s policies.
In the state of Georgia, the law outlined in O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40 forbids insurance companies from increasing premiums or canceling policies due to a policyholder making a claim after a crash, provided that the insured individual was not responsible for the accident.
If you find your premiums have risen following an accident where you were clearly not at fault, you do have recourse. You can challenge the rate increase with your insurance company, providing evidence to substantiate your claim of not being at fault.
Georgia’s Dual Rate Filing System
Georgia has a dual-rate filing system. Under this system, the Insurance Commissioner only has the authority to approve or disapprove minimum limits policy filings, while all other filings can go into effect immediately under what is known as “file and use.” This means that insurance companies can increase premiums without seeking approval from the state’s insurance commissioner.
A recent bill passed in the Georgia General Assembly aims to keep auto insurance rates under control by ending the practice known as “file and use. This bill gives the Commissioner the ability to review all car insurance rate filings before they go into effect, closing a loophole that insurers had previously exploited to increase rates.
Factors That May Not Trigger a Rate Increase
Certain insurance companies may not increase your premiums if they ascertain that you were less than 50 percent culpable for an accident. You generally would not be considered at fault in the following scenarios:
- Your vehicle was legally parked.
- Your vehicle was hit from behind, and you were not issued a citation or found guilty of a moving traffic violation related to the accident.
- Your vehicle was struck by a hit-and-run driver, and you reported the incident to the authorities within a 24-hour window.
- The other driver involved in the accident was convicted of a moving traffic violation.
While not-at-fault car accidents typically do not warrant premium hikes, some insurance companies may still increase rates in certain situations. As a policyholder, you have the right to dispute unfair rate increases and file a complaint.
By contacting the Weinstein Firm at 770-HELP-NOW you can help prevent unnecessary costs following an accident that was outside of your control.