Regardless of all the driving rules, car accidents continue to happen every year. This is because everyone is not a skilled driver. You may be involved in a car accident while you are not at fault yourself.
All car accidents are not of the same nature. Many times, an accident occurs when a car driver crashes into a stopped car or poles. Whatever may be the reason, such accidents can put your life in grave danger with long-term consequences. That is why you should make sure you have a car insurance policy to bear the financial burden created due to auto accidents. However, you need to purchase the right type of insurance for proper coverage. You also need to understand how different types of car accidents can affect insurance in several ways.
Below, we answer some of the most important questions regarding car insurance and accident issues. So, you will be fully aware of how much compensation you will receive and what to expect after an accident.
How Long Do Auto Accidents Affect Your Insurance?
The report of a car accident stays on the driving record for several years. You may want to forget everything about an auto accident in which you were involved, the DMV will not. Most importantly, this will impact the premium rates of your car insurance for a longer period than you may think.
The duration for which an auto accident will continue to affect your insurance depends on multiple factors, which include:
- The state in which you live
- Serious of the violation
- Whether or not it was your fault
Different states in the US have different laws related to auto accidents. If you reside in California, for example, the information of a car accident will remain on your driving record for a period of three years.
For a detailed history of the car accident, you can go and check out the official website of the Motor Vehicles Department in your state. Even if the auto accident occurred due to no fault of yours, your driving record will carry the information for as long as the law mandates. If the violations during the accident were more serious, you can expect to stay on record for longer than three years. In most cases, the duration of the reporting of an accident is between 3-5 years.
Was It Your Fault or Not?
How an auto accident will actually affect your insurance premium also depends on whether it was your fault or someone else’s. An accident becomes chargeable and it makes your premium increase if you are 50% or more at fault and the accident leads to property damage and physical injuries or death. However, not all accidents will make the insurance premium go up. For example, your insurance premium will remain unaffected if your vehicle was damaged while it was legally parked. The insurance will not be affected if the accident happened due to the other driver’s fault and the other driver was convicted of moving traffic violation.
If you live in a state with no-fault insurance, you should expect higher premium rates even if it was not your fault. There are some states where the concerning laws prevent insurance companies from increasing your premiums after an auto accident where you were not at fault. The insurance premium increase varies from one state to another. Maintain a clean driving record after the accident so that the surcharge (insurance increase) can decrease over time.
Do Insurance Companies Make a Settlement Offer?
A settlement offer is made by the insurance company for the at-fault driver to end the dispute. If the accident happened due to the recklessness of the other driver, you will possibly receive a call from the insurance company with which the driver holds the car insurance. The adjuster will offer you financial compensation to settle the dispute and resolve the injury claim.
But be advised not to sign the settlement agreement in haste. Do not make the mistake of settling the claim too fast, as it can potentially affect your legal rights and the injury compensation can be much less than you actually deserve. The best idea is to seek the help of a personal injury attorney who has several years of experience in handling a wide range of car accident claims. If you are looking for an expert consultation, you should reach out to the Accident Injury Law Center (TAILC) in Orange, CA. Here, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with Mr. Yneges, who is a highly competent and experienced personal injury attorney.
What Happens If You Sign The Agreement?
Keep in mind that after you have signed the settlement agreement and accepted the offer from the insurance company, the resolution for your claim is final. You can no longer receive any more money, even if the settlement amount does not cover all your financial losses due to the accident.
An insurance company is actually a business entity. They make all the efforts to pay the lowest amount of money to settle an accident claim. Usually, the first offer they make is a lot less than what you actually deserve. Until your medical treatments have been completed, you will never know for sure how much financial loss you have suffered. That is why you should never rush to enter into a settlement agreement. First, you need to evaluate all the damages and discuss your case with an accident injury attorney. Then, you can respond to the offer. An experienced attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. The lawyer makes the company pay the maximum compensation that you rightly deserve to get your life back on track.
Can the Insurance Company Cancel the Policy after an Accident?
After a car accident, the insurer may cancel your insurance policy. However, this will depend on certain factors.
If you are involved in multiple car accidents within a short period, the insurer may drop you as a customer. In fact, the insurance company can cancel your policy even after a single car accident as well. Once you have filed multiple accident claims within a certain timeframe, the insurer will consider you a high-risk driver. As a result, they will drop you as a customer. Cancellation of a policy means you are no longer a customer of the insurer. Therefore, you are not covered anymore. There are some state laws which insurers are required to follow in this regard.
In some states, insurance companies have the authority to cancel your policy within the first 60 days of taking you in as a customer. After that, the insurance company cannot drop you as a policyholder. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as well and it is better to stay informed.
Insurance Company Reasons to Cancel Your Policy
There are various grounds on which an insurance company decides to cancel you as their policyholder. These include:
- Failure to pay the premium
- Misrepresenting yourself on the application
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Heavy history of car accidents
- A long history of moving traffic violations
- DUI/DWI conviction
While one accident can affect your insurance rates, many of them will ultimately lead to the cancellation of your policy altogether. When the insurance company finds that you have a history of involvement in a series of moving violations, they will put you under the high-risk driver category. In some cases, the insurance company will wait until it is time for the renewal of your policy and then drop you as their customer. Or, they may decide to increase your insurance premium.
How Much Time Do You Have After the Accident to File a Claim?
When filing a car accident claim, time plays a key role. Time can affect the kind of coverage you will get. It is easy to delay a filing claim due to the complexities involved in each auto accident occurrence.
It certainly takes time to evaluate the extent of damages. Until you are done with all the medical tests, it will be difficult to tell what type of injuries you have sustained. All of this will prolong the time taken to file the claim. However, you should never wait for too long to file the accident claim. Whether you are filing a claim with your own insurer or with a third-party insurer, you should always see to it that the claim filing is not delayed beyond the stipulated time limit.
If it is your policy, you should go through the claim filing terms carefully. After the accident, you should immediately report it to the police as well as notify the provider about the same. Most insurance companies want the accident victims to file a claim within a period of 30 days.
Your accident claim may be denied by the insurance company if you take too much time to file it. So, make sure you understand the entire process of claim filing and prepare yourself for the same in a proper manner. Take all the necessary steps for your claim to get fast approval from the insurer. Reach out to an accident injury attorney to follow each step of the claim filing process effectively and make your case a strong one. An experienced attorney will guide you through the entire process and set all things right so that you can receive maximum compensation.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt in an auto accident and do not know much about how insurance works here and how exactly you should file an accident claim, you should seek the expert legal advice of Mr. Yneges at the Accident Injury Law Center. We continuously help clients who were involved in an auto crash, collision, or rollover and suffered severe damages as a result. All you need to do is let us know about your particular case as quickly and as possible. We will take care of all the issues right from the start till the favorable settlement of the case. Mr. Yneges will make sure you receive the maximum compensation to restart your normal life.