Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After My Accident?

–By Les Brock–

Many clients ask if their insurance rates will go up as a result of an accident that was not their fault.

It’s important to note that Virginia is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who is found to be at fault for an accident is responsible for paying for the damages. If the at-fault party is covered by insurance, then that person’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for the damages, up to the limits of the policy.

If you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company cannot legally increase your insurance premiums.  Virginia Code Section 38.2-1905 prohibits an insurance company from increasing your premium or charging you with points under a safe driver insurance plan as a result of a motor vehicle accident unless the accident was either wholly or partially your fault. However, if someone driving your car was at fault for the accident, then your premiums may increase even though you were not the driver and had no fault for the accident.

Often times, people prefer to go through the at-fault party’s insurance company for vehicle repairs out of fear that their insurance rates might go up if they use their own insurance company. This can result in a lot of frustration and delay while you wait for the other insurance company to properly adjust your claim. However, you have the option to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have collision coverage and you want to have your vehicle repaired more quickly.

Any time an insurance company increases a premium or charges points as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company is legally required to notify you in writing and inform you of your right to appeal.

If you believe that your insurance company has unfairly increased your rates after an accident, you may want to consult with an attorney or contact the State Corporation Commission for guidance on your options.

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