Do Texas Car Insurance Rates Go Up After an Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
Some insurance companies raise rates after a not-at-fault crash
Getting into a car accident can be a disorienting and overwhelming experience for seriously injured victims in Texas. While deciding whether to file a claim, not to mention repairing vehicles and potentially dealing with injuries, many end up wondering about the impact of the accident on their car insurance premiums. They may ask: “Will my car insurance rates increase even if I was not at fault in an accident?”
A “not-at-fault" or “no-fault” accident means the victim was not the party who caused the crash that injured them. And, importantly, they are not responsible for the damages. However, in Texas, car accident victims who in no way contributed to causing a crash can still see their insurance premiums rise – even if they don’t file a claim.
According to the Consumer Federation of America, companies typically raise premiums by about 10% after a no-fault accident. Rates are raised much more if the accident is the policyholder’s fault, but even if you weren’t at fault, it is very possible your rate will increase.
Injured car accident victims can reduce the risk of being blamed for a crash and manage rate hikes with the help of an experienced Houston car accident attorney. An attorney who understands how to help not-at-fault car accident victims can explain the factors that contribute to rate adjustments, protect accident victims’ rights, challenge unjust rate increases, and fight to maximize injury compensation.
How car insurance premiums are calculated
Car insurance premiums are the regular payments policyholders make to their insurance company in exchange for coverage and protection. In Texas, the average yearly car insurance premium for a “good” driver with no accidents is about $1,750-$2,020, according to insurance price research.
Premiums are determined during the underwriting process based on several factors, including:
- Claims history. Insurance companies get a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) before deciding to issue a policy. Companies charge more if an applicant has accidents or traffic violation tickets on their CLUE driving record.
- Where a vehicle is driven and garaged influences car insurance rates. In general, rates are higher in cities because accidents and theft are more common in cities than in rural areas. For example, drivers in Houston pay about 10% more for car insurance than the state average.
- Vehicle make and model. Some types of vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident.
- Age and gender. Young, inexperienced drivers are more likely to be in accidents and, therefore, insurance companies charge more to insure them. Young male drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents than young female drivers, so their premiums are often higher.
- Credit score. Some insurance companies check credit scores to decide what to charge.
You may also qualify for various discounts on your insurance premium, such as safe driver discounts or low mileage discounts.
How a no-fault accident affects car insurance prices in Texas
Fundamentally, car insurance premiums are about anticipated risk. An insurance company may argue that if you’ve been in one or more accidents, even if they were not your fault, then you are nevertheless more likely to be involved in future accidents. Unfortunately, Texas does not have a law prohibiting insurance companies from raising your premium for a not-at-fault accident.
However, not every insurance company has the same approach to rate increases after not-at-fault accidents. Some companies will only increase rates if the driver is 50% at fault or more. Others offer “accident forgiveness” programs for an extra fee or as a perk for good drivers. Depending on the policy language, someone with accident forgiveness could be excused from a rate hike after one not-at-fault crash.
Regardless, it’s certainly better for your insurance premiums if you are not at fault than if you are. In Texas, a minor not-at-fault wreck may increase your annual premium by about $200 – but an at-fault crash may increase your premium by $900 or more. So, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, even if you are sure it wasn’t your fault, it’s in your interest to have an attorney protecting your rights.
An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can deal with the insurance company
Injured victims of Texas car accidents can demand maximum compensation with the help of an experienced Houston car accident attorney. At Smith & Hassler, our no-nonsense lawyers have been aggressively negotiating and litigating on behalf of Texans injured in car wrecks for more than 30 years. We take into account the whole picture of how the accident will affect your life, including your insurance premiums, and fight for the best possible resolution that meets your needs and helps you rebuild your life.
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, don't wait to learn more about how to protect your rights and insurance rates. Contact Smith & Hassler for a free case evaluation today.
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