When do your auto insurance rates increase? If you ask most drivers, they will probably say "a lot" or "too often." And yes, prices do increase over time, although you can still find the lowest car insurance prices in Virginia on our website. But there are instances when your premium remains unchanged. We have listed below some common occurrences and what impact (increase or decrease) it may have on your rates.
Did Any Of These Happen To You?
You are involved in an accident and receive a citation. We started off with an easy one. Yes, typically, you will see an increase in your rate in this scenario. We're also assuming that your insurer paid property damage or liability damages to you and/or the other party. The amount of the hike could vary since very small payouts may not result in an increase. If your violation is major (6 or more points), then the resulting price increase will be higher.
For instance, if it is the only vehicle on the policy, the increase can't be spread out over multiple cars and therefore it may be higher. It's also possible that your first at-fault accident will be forgiven, and therefore there will be little or no change. However, you may possibly lose a discount, which is essentially the same thing. Luxury car insurance rates will be impacted more than an older vehicle that has just basic liability limits. The difference could be as much as 25%.
You receive a speeding ticket, but are not involved in an accident. Of course, most persons (perhaps all persons!) don't contact their insurance company the next day to tell them, "Hey guys...I just got a ticket!" Typically, your carrier will periodically check your driving record with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. However, it's usually not every year.
If you are receiving a discount for having a clean driving record, you could see an increase. But many times, the speeding ticket will not impact your rate, especially if your company rarely checks your record. And if your carrier only surcharges existing customers that have accidents and claims, instead of speeding tickets, you won't be impacted.
A large stone falls directly from the truck in front of you and breaks your windshield. You should not see any change in your rates. This is considered a "comprehensive" claim since it was resulting from an object that fell directly onto your vehicle. Of course, don't have too many of these types of claims! After the first few, you may be asked to increase your comprehensive deductible. After three or four claims within a 12-month period, you may be shopping for a new company.
You accidentally hit a large stone in the road and it bounces up and cracks your windshield and causes some other damage. This is actually a completely different situation than the previous example. Since the initial contact was with the road, it will probably be considered a "collision" claim and your deductible would apply. The damage could easily be in the thousands of dollars if there is major damage. And there is a strong possibility that this would cause an increase in your premium.
You're hit by an uninsured driver who totals your car. Your insurance company has to pay the damages. Assuming that the police cited the driver of the other vehicle, the premium with your current company should not be impacted. The key term to understand is "legally parked." Of course, if you left your car unintended in the middle of a street and it was hit, that is a different situation. Also, if you did not secure the brake (or parking brake), and the vehicle rolls onto the street, you will be liable for damages. Remember that you are also entitled to a substitute vehicle (up to 30 days) until you are able to find or buy another.
You lend your car or truck to another driver and they are involved in an accident that is not their fault. Perhaps the most important issue is that you legally lend your vehicle and you verify that the person you are lending it to, has a valid license and their own coverage. Assuming these factors, and the vehicle was repaired by another insurer, it should have no impact on your premium. Each situation is different so there could be an exception. However, if this person permanently resides in your household, a surcharge may apply.
You and another car collide in a parking lot with no damages. Assuming that you both got out and inspected each vehicle and nobody was hurt, your premium should not increase. It's always a wise idea to get a written statement from the other party attesting that they are not injured. Their version of the event could easily change in the upcoming weeks or months. If you are able to take pictures (and video) from your phone, they may help you prove your position, if needed months later.
Edward Harris is the owner and founder of this website. Since 1980, he has been helping individuals and families with their car insurance needs. During that time, he has handled more than 10,000 applications and continues to provide service for thousands of clients.
Ed is married with two children and enjoys tennis, golf, and international politics. Reluctantly, he bowls once every 10 years.