While millions of Americans get to their destinations safely every day, tens of thousands of others find themselves in auto accidents. One eventual consequence for drivers is seeing their insurance premiums rise after a wreck occurs, but did you know that not all accidents cause that cost to go up? For certain accidents, your insurance rates might not change at all.
Understanding Chargeable Accidents
In the insurance industry, a chargeable accident is one that will increase your rates. While this can vary from one state to the next, it often requires you to be 50% or more at fault for the accident. That can include collisions with other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians.
Some states use dollar amounts for chargeable accidents. Minnesota, for instance, allows an insurance agency to charge the driver if the company paid over $500 in any category of coverage. Massachusetts raises that price to $1,000 in any claim but both have exceptions.
Since the rules can change from one state to the next, it’s in your best interest to rely on a car accident lawyer to navigate these often complex and wordy rules. This is especially true if you’re looking to reduce increases in your premiums or prove that you were not responsible for causing the accident.
There are various types of non-chargeable accidents that will not increase the rate of your premiums. Keep in mind that these can also change by state, making it vital to hire legal aid as you navigate the law and the courtroom. Examples of non-chargeable accidents include:
· Your car was legally parked when the damage occurred
· Your car was struck from behind and you were not convicted of a moving traffic violation
· Hit-and-run accidents, most of which must be reported within 24 hours of the incident
· You were not convicted of a moving traffic violation, but the other driver was
· Damage caused by animals
· Damage caused by falling or thrown objects
· Accidents taking place if you were responding to an emergency (fire, EMS, police)
· At least 80% of the cost was recovered through subrogation/the other driver’s insurance
· You were reimbursed by the other driver
· The court rules against the other driver
· Personal injury protection (PIP) payments are collected instead of liability or collision
Fault is often the determining factor in chargeable accidents, but how does an insurance company determine who was at fault? They rely on a number of things, starting with the police repot of the accident.
Statements from the you and the other driver through their insurance company also come into play. Any legal documents showing reimbursement for damages and written statements under penalty of perjury also count. Through all of these methods, fault is determined.
Fault isn’t a one-way street, either. Drivers often share fault in an accident, especially when both receive moving traffic violations. It is then up to the insurance companies to determine how much fault rests with both drivers. This is split up into percentages, with a higher percentage having a greater affect on your rates in most cases.