Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

This device is too small

If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.

Skip to main content

How Much Does Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Dana George
By: Dana George

Our Insurance Expert

Ashley Maready
Check IconFact Checked Ashley Maready
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

All drivers require an auto insurance policy that will protect them in the event of an accident. However, If they're in an accident, there's a good chance the price of their policy will increase. The question is, "how much does insurance go up after an accident?" The answer depends on where a driver lives and the insurance company they work with. Here, we take a dive into auto insurance to get a picture of what happens to the price of a policy following an accident.

How much does insurance go up after you're at fault in an accident?

How much more a motorist will pay for auto insurance if they're at fault in an accident depends on a number of issues, including the state they live in and which auto insurance company they use.

How much rates go up after an accident, by state

The amount rates can go up depends on the specifics of an accident. But the following table shows how much rates increase -- on average -- after an at-fault accident in each state. These averages refer to a policy with:

  • $100,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $100,000 coverage for property damage

We've rounded for simplicity.

State Average Rate Increase
Alabama 55%
Alaska 46%
Arkansas 67%
Arizona 53%
California 68%
Colorado 43%
Connecticut 60%
Delaware 38%
District of Columbia 46%
Florida 49%
Georgia 60%
Hawaii 41%
Idaho 46%
Iowa 40%
Illinois 52%
Indiana 63%
Kansas 46%
Kentucky 58%
Louisiana 62%
Maine 55%
Maryland 56%
Massachusetts 58%
Michigan 49%
Minnesota 42%
Mississippi 67%
Missouri 54%
Montana 44%
Nebraska 51%
North Carolina 67%
North Dakota 43%
New Hampshire 54%
New Jersey 92%
New Mexico 40%
New York 38%
Nevada 51%
Ohio 57%
Oklahoma 51%
Oregon 58%
Pennsylvania 72%
Rhode Island 4%
South Carolina 44%
South Dakota 38%
Tennessee 57%
Texas 71%
Utah 55%
Vermont 41%
Virginia 52%
Washington 49%
West Virginia 52%
Wisconsin 57%
Wyoming 36%
Data source:

Here's what these rate increases could mean for someone's everyday budget. Let's say a driver lives in Arkansas and currently pays $1,200 per year for coverage ($100 per month). If they were the at-fault driver in an accident, their premium could go up by 67%. So, instead of paying $1,200 per year for coverage, they would pay $2,004 ($167 per month).

Do insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident?

Typically, no, insurance rates won't increase following a no-fault accident. The insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for all expenses, from vehicle repairs to medical costs. As long as an insurer does not have to pay out any money, it won't increase the policy rate.

How long do accidents stay on insurance records?

The answer to the question "how long does an accident stay on your record?" is three to five years. That said, drivers should do everything within their power to avoid traffic tickets and additional accidents during that time. If a policyholder is involved in another incident within that time frame, their insurance rates are likely to skyrocket.

Should I file a claim after an accident?

It depends on what happened. Let's say a driver lives in California. They slide off the road in a rainstorm, hit a neighbor's mailbox, and dent the front bumper of their car. Now they need to decide if they should file a claim. They were definitely at fault, but there are a couple of things to consider. The first is that filing a claim means the accident (no matter how small) will remain on their insurance record for three to five years.

In addition, because they live in California, their insurance premium may increase by 68%. Say they're currently paying $1,200 per year for coverage. That means it could jump to $2,016 per year (or $168 per month). Multiply that $816 annual increase by three years (the minimum amount of time the accident will remain on their record). That's a total of $2,448 ($816 x 3 = $2,448). Can they repair the mailbox and car for less than that amount? If so, the driver is better off taking care of it out of pocket.

Another thing to consider is their car insurance deductible. Say they have a $1,500 deductible. If they can get repairs for around that price (or less), it makes little sense to file a claim.

Important note:

Any time a driver is in an accident and isn't sure who's at fault, they should call the police. If they're in an accident and it appears the other party is at fault, the police should still be called, even if the other party asks them not to. Insurance companies will request a police report, and it can help bolster the no-fault driver's side of the story if the other driver decides to change their account of events.

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a type of auto insurance that can prevent a driver's rates from going up after an accident. Depending on the insurer, accident forgiveness may be awarded after a period of safe driving, or a driver may pay extra to add it to their policy. If a driver has accident forgiveness, their policy may not go up after their first at-fault accident.

Some of of the big-name companies currently offering accident forgiveness are:

  • State Farm
  • USAA
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Travelers
  • The Hartford

How to lower insurance costs after an accident

If a driver is in an accident and was at fault, it's a safe bet that their policy rate will increase. If that's the case, all is not lost. Here are five possible ways to reduce the price.

1. Rate shop

There's no reason not to shop around with other insurers after an increase in premium. In fact, it's smart for drivers to shop around once a year anyway, just to make sure they have the most complete coverage for the price. Depending on the severity of the accident, the policyholder may find themselves shopping for high-risk car insurance. No insurer is going to ignore an at-fault accident, but some charge less for the premium than others.

2. Increase your deductible

If a motorist currently has a low deductible, they should be able to lower the price of their policy by increasing the deductible. Before doing so, drivers should work their budget to make sure they have enough in emergency savings to cover the deductible if another accident occurs.

3. Search for missed discounts

It's possible to miss a discount when signing up for auto insurance. Or someone's situation could change in a way that makes them eligible for a discount. Here are some of the most common auto insurance discounts offered:

  • College student, away from home
  • Good student
  • Low mileage
  • Senior
  • Military
  • Professional
  • Policy bundling

4. Raise your credit score

Many insurance companies factor in credit score when determining policy rate. If your score was low when you first took out your policy, you can take steps to raise it. Once your credit score has improved, you can request a rate review from your insurer.

5. Take a driver's education course

Taking a defensive driving course or accident prevention course can cut a driver's premium costs. The amount varies by insurer, but it's a discount worth investigating.

The average driver has a lot on their plate. Worrying about what will happen to their auto insurance rate in the event of an accident should not be one of them. If you're concerned about being hit with an insurance increase following an accident, the first step is to contact your auto insurance company to learn whether it offers accident forgiveness coverage. Some insurers automatically apply accident forgiveness after a driver has been accident-free for a specific number of years. Others allow a driver to add accident forgiveness to their standard policy for a small premium increase. Here are some questions to ask once you're in contact with your insurance company:

  • How long do accidents stay on insurance?
  • How much can I save by bundling auto with home and life insurance coverage?
  • Can I lower my rates by raising my credit score?
  • Do speeding tickets affect insurance? If so, by how much?
  • How often will you recalculate my rate?

The first, most important, step is to have insurance coverage. The next step is to make sure that coverage fits the level of risks you are comfortable assuming. If you haven't compared prices from more than one insurance carrier recently, you may be pleasantly surprised by your options.

The Ascent's best car insurance companies

Check out our hand-picked list of the best car insurance companies. Our top picks are packed with valuable perks, such as low rates, bundled discounts, and best-in-class service.


  • Rates will increase for three to five years, depending on the insurance carrier.

  • Auto insurance companies use these factors to calculate an increase:

    • Previous driving record
    • State in which you live
    • Amount of damage
    • Who's at fault
  • Yes, if you can find an insurance company you would prefer to work with, you are free to switch car insurance.

  • Yes, coverage can be canceled following an accident. However, an insurance company is unlikely to do this unless you had previous infractions or the accident was due to something like driving while intoxicated or reckless driving.

  • It depends on the state in which you live, your previous driving record, how much damage the accident caused, and who was at fault.

  • The amount your insurance will increase depends on which driver was at fault, where you live, how much the totaled vehicle will cost the insurance company, and your previous driving history.

Our Insurance Experts