Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely stressful and painful ordeal. Not only could you face physical injury from the accident, but you will likely be dealing with property damage, as well, to your car. The last thing you want to think about is higher insurance rates after a car accident. However, just because you were involved in a car accident, does not always mean your insurance rates will go up.
Under Florida Statute § 626.9541, car insurance rates should not increase after an accident unless you were “substantially at fault.” The law defines “substantially at fault,” as being more at fault than not, which normally means at least 51 percent to blame for the accident.
Florida is one of a dozen states that has no-fault insurance laws on the books. What this means is you file a claim with your insurance provider after being in an accident, regardless of fault. However, your insurance company will then look at the circumstances involved in the accident and determine how your insurance rates will be affected. If you are not to blame for the accident or are substantially not to blame for the accident, your rates should not be affected, even after you file a claim.
Factors That Determine Rate Increases
Like so many things in life, how much your rates increase depends on the facts of your accident. The first of these factors is, of course, whether you are mostly to blame for the accident. Additional factors include: How many accidents you have been in, your overall driving record, and any other insurance claims you have filed in the past.
If you have caused several accidents, resulting in property damage and personal injury, you can expect your insurance rates to increase. For the most part, you can expect your insurance rates to increase by approximately 30 percent after being involved in an accident that was substantially your fault. However, depending on the severity of the accident, your rates could increase anywhere from 12 percent to 80 percent.
If the accident resulted in injury to another person, or even a fatality, you can also expect your insurance rates to increase. Even if this is your first accident, if someone else was hurt, resulting in personal injury claims from the accident, your rates will be affected.
If the accident involved a moving violation, the insurance rate increase will be higher, even for first-time offenders. A moving violation is any type of traffic offense, such as speeding, running a red light, and failing to yield to traffic. Along these same lines, if the accident was the result of a criminal offense, such as driving under the influence, your insurance rate increase will likely be more significant than it would have been had you not been intoxicated.
Insurance companies look at reckless and criminal behavior as an indication that the driver is a risky investment and will increase that person’s insurance rates as a result of this assessment. The lower the risk you present as a driver, the lower the increase will likely be.
If you have an otherwise good driving record and this was your first accident, some insurance companies will allow one-time “accident forgiveness.” But, be warned: With “accident forgiveness coverage,” auto insurers say they will not raise your rate solely due to an at-fault accident claim. Some offer it as a free loyalty perk for long-term customers with clean driving records, while others make it an optional “add-on” you can purchase. In either case, a clean driving record for three to five years is required.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident, our Orlando auto accident attorneys are here to help. The Benenati Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its injury clients and accident victims. In Orlando and throughout Central Florida victims injured in accidents or through negligence need only hit the 7s to reach the personal injury offices of the Benenati Law Firm. Our oath to you is handling your case from start to finish effectively, competently, and aggressively. Allow us the opportunity to give you the personal attention you deserve in your case. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at 407-777-7777 for a free legal consultation. Abogado Hispano con experiencia en juicios sirviendo las necesidades legales de la comunidad de la Florida.