How Much Does Insurance Increase After an Accident? (2023)

Updated May 9, 2023

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The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful. Not only are you potentially recovering from injuries, but you may also have to take your car to a repair shop — or replace it entirely. Plus, your car insurance premiums will likely increase after an accident.[1]

But you can still lower your post-accident car insurance rates by searching for discounts, comparing insurance quotes, and exploring telematics programs. Here’s how much you can expect your car insurance to increase after an accident and what you can do to mitigate it.

Quick Facts
  • An at-fault accident can cause your rates to increase by 26% on average.

  • Drivers with an accident on their records pay an average of $336 a month for auto insurance.

  • Accidents can stay on your record for three to five years.[2]

  • After an accident, shop around for auto insurance quotes to compare prices and potentially lower your premiums.

How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

Depending on who’s at fault, the severity of the accident, and how long ago the accident occurred, your insurer may decide to raise your rates by a little, a lot, or not at all. Here are several of the most common factors that can affect your car insurance premiums in the aftermath of an accident:

You were at fault: 26% increase

If your driving decisions are what caused the accident, your insurance company is likely to raise your rates. Drivers with clean driving records pay an average monthly premium of $267, while drivers with at-fault accidents on their records pay an average of $336 per month. So you can expect your rates to go up by about 26% after an at-fault accident.

You were not at fault

What happens if you were driving safely and another driver caused the accident? Even though it may seem unfair, insurance companies will often raise your rates even when you’re not at fault. Insurify’s database indicates that the average driver in a not-at-fault accident will pay $295 per month for auto insurance premiums — a nearly 10% increase over the $267 monthly premiums that drivers with clean records pay.

California and Oklahoma state laws protect drivers from such rate increases after a not-at-fault accident, according to the Consumer Federation of America.[3] In those states, consumer protection laws prevent insurers from raising rates on safe drivers who are in accidents caused by someone else.

No-Fault Insurance: What You Need to Know

No-Fault Insurance: What You Need to Know

Accident severity

The severity of your accident will help determine how much your insurance company decides to raise your rates. A low-speed accident in a parking lot will usually result in a smaller rate increase to your insurance premiums than an accident that caused extensive property damage to multiple cars.

No one filed a claim

If you don’t file a claim, your insurance company will have no reason to increase your rates. This is a common course of action for drivers who are in a single-vehicle accident with minimal damage. For instance, if you scrape the side of your car while backing out of your garage, you might choose to pay out of pocket for the repair, especially if the repair costs less than your deductible.

But if you’re in a multi-car accident, it’s best to report that accident to your insurance company. If you fail to report an accident soon after it happens, your insurance company may choose not to honor your policy.[1]

How long does an accident stay on your record?

Most insurers will raise your rates for three years after an accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute.[1] If you remain accident-free for those three years, your rates will generally go down again. However, your insurance company may keep your premiums high for as long as five years after a major accident.[2]

Insurance companies may also use LexisNexis Comprehensive Loss and Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) reports, which collect auto and property claims data for the past seven years. For auto insurance, insurers provide and aggregate claims information, including policyholder name and birthdate, date of loss, type of loss, amounts paid, and vehicle information. More than 99% of auto insurers report data to this exchange, so it’s highly likely that your insurer reports your claims information to CLUE.[4] If you have an accident on your record, it could stay in the CLUE system for seven years, and insurance companies may be able to access it.

Additionally, state motor vehicle departments provide motor vehicle records (MVRs) to insurance companies and potential employers that include your personal information, driver’s license number, accidents, suspensions, citations, and DUI convictions. MVRs include information from the past three to 10 years, depending on the state. For example, California MVRs can have data for three, seven, or 10 years.[5]

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When does insurance go down after an accident?

You can expect your insurance rates to decrease three to five years after an accident. For example, average rates three to five years after an accident are $316 a month but decrease to $261 a month five to seven years after an accident. However, the severity of the accident and the cost of damages affect how long your rates stay higher.

Insurify’s proprietary data of more than 70 million quotes can help give a sense of how much your premiums could increase and for how long. Take a look at these average quotes based on the time after an accident:

Time After an AccidentAverage Monthly Quote
Less than one year$313
1–3 years ago$310
3–5 years ago$316
5–7 years ago$261
7–10 years ago$281
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Car insurance rates for drivers with an accident on their record

Car insurance companies vary in how they set rates for the different driving records, including those with an accident on record. The following data from Insurify’s proprietary database of more than 70 million quotes can help you understand the average quote each insurer offers to drivers with an accident on their records:

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote 
State Farm$160
21st Century$161
American Family$215
National General$228
Liberty Mutual$270
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheap car insurance after an accident by state

Factors like population density, accident rates, and common severe weather events can affect the cost of car insurance in different states. Location can also affect car insurance after an accident.[6]

For example, data in the table below, which shows the state-by-state average monthly car insurance rates after an accident, indicates that drivers in Louisiana pay some of the highest premiums in the country. Louisiana’s location on the Gulf of Mexico means it’s exposed to frequent severe storms that can lead to costly weather damage insurance claims. (Note that not all 50 states appear in the table below.)

Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

How to reduce your car insurance rates after an accident

You can take several steps to reduce your rates after getting into an accident, including:[7]

  • Take a defensive driving course. Many insurance companies offer a premium discount to drivers who complete an approved defensive driving course, which teaches you safe driving techniques and strategies for avoiding collisions. Taking such a course after an accident may not result in a discounted rate, but it could ensure any accident-related rate increase is more modest than it would have been.

  • Increase your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible typically means a lower premium. Increasing your deductible can help you keep your post-accident insurance premiums affordable. But this option is only a good idea for drivers who have a robust emergency fund or can otherwise afford higher out-of-pocket costs when they file a claim. 

  • Reduce your coverage. Removing some coverage from your auto insurance policy can help lower your monthly rate. Almost all states require drivers to purchase liability insurance, but you may be able to cut other optional coverages, like comprehensive and collision coverage, if you have an older car that’s worth less than its repair costs. Just make sure your policy covers common losses.

  • Shop around for a better price. Insurers have unique ways of determining your monthly premium, so you may be able to find a rate that fits your budget by switching to a different insurer. While not all insurance companies are willing to take on a high-risk driver — which is how many companies will categorize you post-accident — some companies specialize in such drivers. Getting quotes through a quote-comparison platform can help you identify which one will give you the best deal.

Car Insurance Discount Guide

Car Insurance Discount Guide

Consider enrolling in an accident forgiveness program

Accident forgiveness is an optional coverage that will prevent rates from increasing one time after an accident. With this add-on, insurance companies typically forgive one accident per three to five years, depending on the insurer. While your insurance company may forgive your first accident in that time, it will not forgive subsequent accidents, so your rates can still increase if you have more than one accident.

In addition, not all accidents are eligible for forgiveness. Depending on the severity of the accident or contributing factors (such as drunk driving), an insurance company can decline to forgive an accident, even if you’ve paid for an accident forgiveness rider.

Accident forgiveness isn’t available in every state, and many insurers only offer the program to drivers with at least five years of clean driving experience — meaning no accidents or traffic violations.

Which companies have accident forgiveness?

If it’s important to you to have access to accident forgiveness, the following car insurers are among the many companies that offer it:

  • Allstate includes accident forgiveness in its Gold and Platinum “Your Choice Auto” packages. Under the Gold package, Allstate forgives your first accident if you’ve been accident-free for the previous three years. The Platinum package will forgive an unlimited number of accidents.

  • A good driving history can earn you accident forgiveness from GEICO, or you can add it to your policy for an extra cost. GEICO will only forgive one accident per policy (regardless of how many cars or drivers you have on it), and it isn’t available in California, Connecticut, or Massachusetts.

  • If you haven’t had an accident or traffic violation in five years, you may be eligible for accident forgiveness from Liberty Mutual.

  • Accident forgiveness is a paid add-on with Nationwide, and it covers just the first accident for every eligible driver on your policy.

  • Progressive has three levels of accident forgiveness, and each has some stipulations. All new customers get forgiveness for small accident claims of up to $500. If you’ve been a Progressive customer for five years and remained accident-free during that time, you may qualify for accident forgiveness for claims of more than $500. And, if you pay for Progressive Accident Forgiveness, you can have one accident forgiven per policy period.

What Is Accident Forgiveness in Car Insurance?

What Is Accident Forgiveness in Car Insurance?

Car insurance after an accident FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about accidents and car insurance.

  • When do insurance companies raise rates after an accident?

    Insurance companies can’t raise (or lower) your rates until you renew your policy. This means your premiums will remain the same after an accident for the duration of your policy contract. The higher rates will go into effect when you renew your policy for the next term. This gives you time to shop around for a less expensive insurer or find ways to reduce your rates before renewal.[2]

  • How long do you have to file a claim after an accident?

    The insurance industry doesn’t have a hard-and-fast standard for claim deadlines after an accident, though most insurance policies state that drivers should file a claim “promptly” or “in a timely manner.”

    The insurance company needs to investigate your claim, and it becomes more difficult to determine aspects of the claim (such as who is at fault) the longer you wait to file it. It’s wise to file your claim as soon as you can after the accident.

  • Should you not file a claim if your car insurance rates will increase?

    It depends. If the repair costs after a single-vehicle incident — like scratching the car’s paint while backing out of the garage — is less than the deductible, you may not need to file a claim. However, if you’re in an accident with one or more other drivers or a weather event causes substantial damage, then you should file a claim to accurately report damages and receive reimbursement for repairs and any injuries.

  • How do you find cheaper car insurance after an accident?

    Shopping around for quotes is the best way to find cheaper car insurance after getting into an accident. By comparing multiple insurers, you’ll be able to find the coverage that meets your needs at a price you can afford. You may also want to consider quotes from car insurance companies that specialize in insurance for high-risk drivers. Since these insurers are geared toward drivers with a less-than-stellar driving record, you’re more likely to be approved for coverage.

  • Can you cancel your car insurance after an accident?

    Auto insurance policyholders have the right to cancel their car insurance policy at any time, including after an accident. Your insurance company will continue to process your claim, as long as your policy was in place as of the day of the accident.

    This is also true if your car is totaled in an accident. In that case, you’ll only have to pay premiums on that policy until you and the insurance company agree on a settlement amount and you sign over the title to the insurer.

    However, it’s not necessarily advisable to cancel your policy after an accident, in case you have a gap in coverage. Any gap in coverage, no matter how short a duration, will likely result in higher premiums in the future. Before canceling your policy, make sure you have another policy ready to start on the same day as the original policy’s cancellation.

  • Does car insurance increase after a no-fault accident?

    Rates can increase by 10% after a no-fault accident, according to Insurify data. While it may seem unfair, filing a claim — regardless of fault — likely increases your rates. However, rates won’t increase as much after a no-fault accident compared to an at-fault accident.

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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.


  1. III. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?." Accessed May 2, 2023
  2. NAIC. "A Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance." Accessed May 2, 2023
  3. Consumer Federation of America. "Major Insurance Companies Raise Premiums After Not-At-Fault Accidents · Consumer Federation of America." Accessed May 2, 2023
  4. LexisNexis. "C.L.U.E.® Auto Discover Vehicle and Driver Loss History." Accessed May 2, 2023
  5. California DMV. "Driver's Record Request." Accessed May 2, 2023
  6. III. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?." Accessed May 2, 2023
  7. III. "Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs." Accessed May 2, 2023
Emily Guy Birken
Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson.

Her work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Kiplinger's, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.

She is the author of several books, including The 5 Years Before You Retire, End Financial Stress Now, and the brand new book Stacked: Your Super Serious Guide to Modern Money Management, written with Joe Saul-Sehy.

Emily lives in Milwaukee with her family.