Can I change my car insurance after an accident?

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In a nutshell...
  • Changing an auto insurance policy after an accident is possible
  • Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the new policy may need to be a high-risk one
  • Changing insurance providers without thinking things through could lead to paying much higher premiums

Buying car insurance is relatively easy. Requesting quotes requires little more than putting forth some basic personal identifying information and details associated with one’s driving history.

Ultimately, an insurance company is a service provider in competition with other similar enterprises. This is why online comparison shopping consistently reveals competitive rates. The insurance companies want to attract new clients.

The insurance world is not a one-way venture. Auto insurance customers do have an expectation to be treated fairly and reasonably. Anyone who is unhappy in regards to the service an insurance company is presenting certainly can take his or her business elsewhere.

A person with a perfect driving record and no claims on his or her previous insurance policy would be very welcomed by a new insurance company.

As for those who were involved in an accident, things may become a bit more complicated. The circumstances surrounding the accident are going to factor into how easy or difficult it will be to acquire a new policy at a different company.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best rate for coverage.

No Statutory Bar from Changing Policies

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No law exists that bans a driver from changing insurance policies after being in an accident. No one is forced to remain a customer of a particular insurance policy at any time.

Changing over to a new insurance provider is something that can be done without any impediment.

Granted, concerns may exist over switching to a new insurance provider while the legal issues surrounding the accident remain in effect.

Discussing the matter with an attorney who practices in areas related to insurance law and auto accident liability defense would be strongly advised.

Since the person who caused the accident is being sued for damages, he hopefully will have retained an attorney.

The new insurance provider would not take over any financial obligations regarding the previous accident. As long as the previous policy was valid and active at the time of the accident, the prior insurer should be required by law to handle the claim.

Once again, due to the serious nature of such claims, people who are responsible and facing a personal injury suit for an accident should consult with an attorney.

Insurance is Mandatory

With the exclusion of Virginia and New Hampshire, auto insurance is mandatory.

Specifically, a driver whose car is registered in the state must purchase the state’s bare minimum liability coverage for:

  • Bodily injury
  • Death
  • Damage to property

In essence, vehicle owners are required to protect other people on the road and pedestrians from instances of an at-fault accident. Someone who deliberately chooses to speed down the highway or make an ill-advised and illegal turn will place others at risk.

The mandate of insurance coverage provides some level of financial protection to those who are injured since they may file a claim against the driver who caused the accident.

The claim revolves around a legal proceeding. The injured party opts to sue and the insurance company may pay out on any liability claims.

The insured driver might not be very pleased with how the aftermath of the accident goes. Even someone who was a customer for numerous years could choose to find a new insurer.

Since insurance is required by law, the person at fault for the accident might be able to find a new provider without any hassles. No law dictates that someone who has been in an accident is barred from buying insurance.

Then again, no law dictates an insurance company must sell someone a policy. High-risk drivers might run into such a problem.

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High-Risk Driver’s Insurance

Drivers may be forced to look for new insurance after an accident because their provider dropped them.

A person who is dropped from an insurance policy due to egregiously contributing to an accident or being convicted of a driving-related offense associated with the accident could still find a new insurer. High-risk car insurance caters to such drivers.

Depending upon where the driver is located, the state may be able to assist those unable to find an insurance company willing to cover them. Idaho would be one such state where a program of this nature exists.

The costs would end up being rather significant with such “last chance” insurance coverage. If it is any solace to those looking at high premiums, access to insurance is better than no access.

No insurance in most states means no legal driving privileges.

The Other Party’s Fault

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When the other party is fully at fault for the accident, the driver who was injured escapes the blame. The claims on the liability damages are going to be against the other driver. Hence, the claims go against the insurance policy of the at-fault driver.

If the at-fault driver was uninsured and the person who was injured filed an uninsured motorist claim, then his/her claims history is going to reflect the filing.

Costs of coverage may be affected, but the person would not be considered a risky driver. He or she was the victim of the other driver’s improper conduct.

How the insurance company handles the uninsured motorist claim is going to weigh on the mind and attitude of the customer. A desire to switch policies after the accident may lead to the current insurer to rethink its treatment of the customer.

Avoid Being Unreasonable

Anger at a car insurance company might be misguided. Changes in policies when the car insurance company’s actions were understandable and justifiable might only make a difficult situation more problematic.

If a claim is filed on comprehensive coverage and the insurance coverage offers $1,800 on a totaled vehicle, the figure would be based on the legitimate resale value and worth of the car.

Expecting a $3,000 payment is simply wrong on the part of the insured customer. Switching to a new insurance company is well within the customer’s rights, but why bother doing so?

A new insurance company might not turn out as perfect as the customer hopes. Likely, the decisions of any new insurance company would have been the same as the previous one.

Why would any insurance company pay significantly more than the legitimate resale value of the car?

Understand Claims Have An Impact

Filing claims on a vehicle do have an impact on the premiums one pays. When a person files a claim on an auto insurance policy, the information is logged on an insurance database known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriters Exchange (CLUE) report.

A CLUE report is not too far removed from a credit score in many ways. The CLUE report logs all insurance claims and maintains records for a full seven years.

Anyone who has filed a number of claims in that time period may end up paying higher premiums than someone who has filed no claims.

Jumping to a new car insurance company may be possible, but the CLUE report could make it difficult to acquire less-expensive coverage. Then again, the CLUE report may have no bearing or minimal impact on the quoted price.

Each and every driver/customer is a unique case. Of course, those whose are at fault for accidents are going to look at fairly high rates.

Making a Policy Change and Consequences

Upon procuring a new insurance policy, a few of the cost-saving benefits associated with the old policy may be eliminated. A very common discount falls under the category of loyalty.

Those who renew with the same insurance company year in and year out may find consistent patronage leads to discounts. Such discounts are obviously eliminated once a jump to a new insurance company is made.

Think things through before making any rash decisions or changes.

Changing Policies

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Anyone can change an insurance policy at any time for any reason. Sometimes, making a change to a new provider is the wisest move. At other times, the decision may be improper or expensive.

Think carefully prior to making any decisions and always review as many quotes from as many insurance companies as possible. Doing so may help avoid a regrettable change and, possibly, lead to making a far more beneficial one.

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