If you’re involved in a car accident you probably have a number of concerns, namely making sure that you are safe and that your injuries are taken care of. Once the initial shock of the accident has worn off and you’ve gotten medical treatment however, you’ll probably start wondering what will happen in regards to your automobile insurance.
Will my rates go up even if it wasn’t my fault? How much will I have to pay? Will my insurance company drop me? Those are all important questions and we are going to try and help you answer them here in this post.
What Determines If My Rates Go Up After an Accident?
There are several factors that determine your car insurance rates, but when it comes to rate hikes after an accident, there are essentially two factors that will determine whether or not your rates will go up, your type of coverage, and whether or not you were at fault for the accident, or how much of the accident was your fault.
At Fault Insurance
All drivers must carry a certain level of coverage in case they cause an accident and injure someone. This is typically known as at-fault accident liability coverage. While you must carry a minimum level of coverage, the maximum level of coverage you carry is up to you.
When you are in an accident that is your fault, your insurance company will generally raise your rates by a percentage based on how bad the damage was, your accident history and a number of other factors. This means that if the accident was minor and it was your first claim, you could only see a small increase in your premium. However, if you have a history of accident claims and the accident was major, you may see quite a large increase in your premiums or your insurance provider may stop covering you entirely.
Conversely, if you are in an accident that was not your fault, you would not see an increase in your premium as your insurance would likely sue the at-fault party for the damages incurred. However, it is important to have legal representation as proving fault in an accident can be a difficult and complex process and the opposing side will likely be working to disprove or deny your claim as well.
Ontario operates under a system of no-fault accident claims. What this means is that each party in an accident is assessed for the role they play in an accident and fault is determined on a percentage basis, rather than simply holding one party responsible for the accident.
In this type of case there are certain rules that apply. Firstly, if you are determined to be 0% responsible for the accident, then obviously your premiums would not increase as you bear no responsibility for the accident. However, Ontario takes it a step further to say that if you are below 25% responsible for an accident, your insurer cannot raise your rates.
Anything over 25% responsibility for an accident and your insurer may increase your rates based on the factors we discussed earlier, driving history, number of claims, etc.
That’s why it’s important to have a personal injury lawyer on your side to help fight for you to prove you weren’t at fault in the accident and to keep your insurance company from raising your rates due to someone else’s negligence.
Whether or not your auto insurance premiums increase after an accident is dependent on a number of factors. If you are in an accident, it is important to review your insurance policy to see how your coverage might be affected and to get a personal injury lawyer on your side right away to help you deal with the insurance company.