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The Hidden Cost of an Accident

Most of us are involved in at least one car accident at some time in our lives and we all agree it’s never pleasant. Accidents can range from fender benders to major tragedies with fatalities and injuries; this is when we feel very grateful that we have insurance on our vehicle! But as bad as an accident is, are there other consequences? Will our premiums go up and if so, how much?

It Depends On the Circumstances

There are a number of things that determine how much, if any, your rates will increase after an accident. If you were at fault, especially if you received a citation, you will more than likely see an increase in your premiums. Whether it’s a lot or a little depends on the severity of the accident and the damages your insurers have to pay. In a no-fault state where each person’s insurance pays for their damage regardless of who caused the accident, you won’t see as much of an increase as in other states that require whoever is at fault to pay damages.

If the damages are confined to the car, you won’t see as much of an increase as you would if there are injuries, especially those requiring hospitalization.

There are some insurance companies that offer “accident forgiveness” and if you have a policy with one of those, your rates will not increase if the collision is minor. But if you were issued a ticket for failure to yield, running a traffic signal or other moving violation you may see your rates go up.

MVR and CLUE

Two reports you should be aware of are the MVR and the CLUE. If you do get a traffic ticket, the Motor Vehicle Report will likely have a record of it. The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange will also list it. CLUE is a database of claims history and lets insurers check your history of claims. This allows them to decide whether of not they want to assume the risk of insuring you. These reports contain dates, the amount of the claim or claims, a description of what kind of vehicle you were driving and the dollar amount of the settlement.

Never try to hide an accident from your insurance company! They may not find out about it right away if you pay the damages from your own pocket but rest assured they will check the MVR and CLUE databases before renewing your policy. While the CLUE may not have information on the collision, the MVR will have a record of any citation you receive. Your insurance company will know that you are dishonest and may refuse to renew!

If your rates do increase because of an accident you will likely not see it until your policy comes up for renewal. If you change insurance companies once your rates increase, you probably won’t save much money at that point. The best way to prevent your rates going up is to avoid distractions like cell phone usage and keep your attention on the road and the traffic!

One of the best ways of shopping for low insurance rates is to first get 2-3 quotes online. Once you

have them check with a local insurance agent and ask him to quote you the same. You’ll save time and money.

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