Will my insurance rate go up if I’m not at fault in an accident?
It is a common fear of victims after an accident to have the fear that your insurance coverage rates might go up. They are not unjustified in believing that since it is a common practice in other states for insurance companies to increase your premiums in the event of an accident.
Even more so when California is one of the places with highest car insurance costs in the country, having a hike in your coverage costs can put a heavy dent on your finances.
While there’s a common myth that just filling a bodily injury or car accident claim will make your insurance carries hike up your rate. This is totally false and is just perpetuated by adjusters and insurance companies to take advantage of your suffering.
There are laws and provisions that protect the consumers in the Golden State against insurance rates hikes.
Our team of personal injury attorneys will help you understand the laws and regulations behind insurance rate increases in California and how they work so you can rest easy that your wallet will be protected after an accident.
Laws in California regarding car insurance rates
Under certain provisions of the California insurance Code 1861.02 car insurance rates for policy holders are determined by the following:
- The insured’s driving safety record
- Years of driving experience
- Miles they have driven annually
When considering these factors, the most important one for determining your car insurance rates is the driver’s safety record. What is considered when making up this record is the following:
1. Being at fault in an accident: If you get in an accident and is obviously not your fault, your driving safety record shouldn’t be affected and there would be no basis for increasing your insurance rates.
2. Having certain traffic violations in the past 3 years: If you have been cited and convicted for traffic violations such as speeding, failure to yield the right of way or running a red light within three years preceding the issuance of your insurance policy it may affect your driving safety record. This can make your insurance rates go up, keep in mind that having dismissals of such violations may also affect your premiums rate.
Negligence Laws in California and how it can affect your insurance rates
We already established that if you weren’t at fault your insurance rates shouldn’t go up. Yet, you must take in account that California is a comparative negligence state. This law argues that sometimes, a crash is not the product of a single party’s actions and both drivers involved can be considered at fault for the crash.
Let us help you understand this better with an example:
Jane is approaching an intersection where she wants to make a left-hand turn. She forgets to turn her lights on to signal the cars behind her and begins to slow down as she approaches the crossing.
John behind her is talking on his mobile phone and not paying full attention to the road ahead, he fails to notice Jane slowing down and rear ends her as they both approach the intersection.
In our case John is clearly at fault for distracted driving, but because Jane didn’t use her turn signals to show others her intentions to turn left, one can argue that she isn’t completely blameless either.
This is an example of how comparative negligence works. Even if John is “principally at fault” for using his phone while driving, Jane not using her turn lights put her “partially at fault” for the accident.
In a California car accident claim when a situation like this happens, the partially at fault party would be assigned a percentage of fault and be charged with the damages accordingly.
Now, coming back to how it would affect Jane’s insurance rates, the operative concept by which California law determines premiums increase is being “Principally at fault” for an accident.
In our example, California insurance code would dictate that the party that had more than 51% of fault in the accident is the one deemed to be principally at fault. In our example, because John being on the phone while driving instead of paying attention to the road he can be deemed to principally at fault.
Sure, Jane is partially to blame for the accident for not turning on her lights, but if John hadn’t been distracted it would have been very easy to see Jane slow down and act accordingly.
Do not worry about insurance rates and seek full compensation
Thankfully for you, regarding your insurance rates California is a very consumer friendly state. Proposition 103 passed in 80’s and protected motorists from having their insurance rates going up when they aren’t at a majority of fault.
You shouldn’t worry unless if you don’t have excessive moving violations or aren’t at a majority of fault (51% or more) in an accident. Filling an accident claim will not affect your premiums.
Insurance companies might try to dissuade you from pursuing a claim even you don’t have most of the blame. This is done not to help you but to protect themselves from the expenses a personal injury claim comes with.
Always pursue your car accident claims in full and seek the rightful compensation you deserve.
Let us help you deal with insurance companies
Insurance companies will try to use dirty tactics to coerce you into not pursuing your rightful claim. Threatening you to raise your insurance rates is one of them. You shouldn’t deal with the stress of being a victim of a car accident on your own.
Farahi Law Firm, APC is here for you! We will not let anyone take advantage of you nor diminish your injury and property damage claim. We will fight to win for you the maximum possible compensation.
Our team of expert lawyers, case managers and medical examiners will help you get the true value of your case without you having to spend a dime. We work on a No fees until we win basis, meaning there’s no cost for you unless we win your maximum compensation! Call us today for free consultation at (844) 824 2955. Your Justice is Our Cause.