How Long Does an Accident Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?

An accident can affect your car insurance rates for three to five years and sometimes more, depending on a few factors.

Updated May 11, 2023

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If you were in an accident — whether it was your fault or not — you might wonder if it’ll affect your car insurance rate and for how long. The answer will vary based on your insurance company, where you live, and your driving record. 

A car accident will typically remain on your record for three to five years — or more, depending on the severity of it.[1] Your insurer may raise your rates if you’re in an accident, even if you’re not at fault. You can take steps to lower your car insurance rates after an accident, but it might take time.

How long does an accident stay on your driving record?

A car accident will typically stay on your driving record for three to five years. The length of time depends on your state. For example, in California, a collision stays on your record for three years. New York drivers in a collision will have it on their records until the end of the year the accident occurs, plus three years.[2] [3] But in Florida, violations remain on your record for three to five years or longer, depending on the severity.[4]

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How much will your car insurance rates increase after an accident?

When you get into a car accident, your insurance company considers you a riskier driver. As such, your car insurance premium will typically increase.

The average cost of full-coverage car insurance for someone with a clean driving record is $259, according to Insurify data. If you’re involved in an at-fault accident, the average cost of full-coverage car insurance increases 27%, to $331.

How much your auto insurance premium increases depends on your insurance company. For example, if your insurer is National General, your insurance costs could go up an average of 6% if you’re involved in an at-fault accident. But if your insurer is Erie, your insurance costs could go up 35%, on average.

Insurance CompanyClean RecordAt-Fault Accident% Increase
State Farm$169$22030%
National General$252$2676%
American Family$218$29334%
Liberty Mutual$279$3049%
Direct Auto$218$32750%
Midvale Home & Auto$232$34348%
State Auto$240$38159%
Bristol West$379$47124%
The General$441$56829%
Freedom National$488$61225%
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.

No-fault vs. at-fault accidents

An at-fault accident is when you’re primarily responsible for the collision. A no-fault accident is when you’re not responsible for a collision. If you’re responsible for an accident, your insurance rates will typically go up. If you’re not responsible, you might or might not see a rate increase on your car insurance. It depends on your individual driving record and insurer.

A dozen states are no-fault states, in which drivers’ insurance companies pay the cost of the damages and injuries incurred in an accident regardless of who was responsible.

The current no-fault states are:[5]

  • Florida

  • Hawaii

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • North Dakota

  • Pennsylvania

  • Utah

In addition to liability requirements, these states may also require bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

How accident forgiveness works

Some car insurance companies offer a policy add-on called accident forgiveness, with which customers are allowed one accident in a specified period that won’t result in a rate increase.

The terms of accident forgiveness vary by insurer. Some insurers offer this as a standard feature of insurance policies. With other insurance companies, customers can earn it as a benefit after a period of safe driving or purchasing a premium policy or a policy add-on to get this benefit.

Customers typically have to meet specific criteria to qualify for accident forgiveness, like going three to five years without an at-fault accident. Additionally, some insurers only offer accident forgiveness in select states.

To see if you’re eligible for accident forgiveness, contact your insurer or insurance agent. An agent or customer service representative can walk you through your policy features and let you know whether or not you already have accident forgiveness.

If you don’t have it and you don’t want to purchase accident forgiveness as an add-on, you can switch to an insurer that offers accident forgiveness as a standard feature in most policies.

These major car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness:

  • Allstate

  • Farmers


  • Liberty Mutual

  • Nationwide

  • Progressive

  • Travelers

How to lower your insurance rates after an accident

If you get into a car accident, it’s likely your car insurance rates will go up. But you don’t have to settle for a higher rate. Here’s what you can do to lower your insurance rates after an accident.

Adjust your coverage

Sometimes it can be a challenge to know how much coverage you need for your car. It’s important to not overinsure, especially if you’re driving an older vehicle. At the same time, should an accident occur, having the right amount of coverage can save you thousands of dollars in medical or litigation costs. Speak to your insurance company or insurance agent and ask to review your current coverage levels. Adjusting them could save you money.

Raise your deductible

A deductible is what you’re responsible for paying out of pocket before your insurance company covers the cost of repairs, medical fees, and more. Generally, the higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium is.

But when you raise your deductible, it’s important to know you can afford to pay it if you’re in an accident. Having a $1,000 car insurance deductible can save you 40% on your premium — and sometimes more, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).[6]

Bundle insurance

If you have multiple types of insurance, like home insurance and car insurance, you can bundle them with the same insurer and save. If you’re married or have a long-term partner with a car of their own at the same address, you can often insure both vehicles on the same policy and save with a multi-car discount.

Comparison shop

Although you might be wary of shopping for a new insurance company after an accident, you might be able to find an insurer that offers a lower rate. Comparing several insurance companies is the easiest way to find the best rate for your specific situation. 

Keep in mind that insurers vary in how they handle price hikes after an accident. It’s important to ask specific questions, like when you might be eligible for a lower rate if you have several years of safe driving after your accident.

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Accidents and driving record FAQs

Because each insurer and each state handles accidents differently, it can be confusing to know exactly how an accident will affect your insurance costs now and in the future. Here’s some additional information about accidents and your driving record that can help.

  • Can you get an accident removed from a driving record?

    Probably not. Unless there’s a discrepancy or incorrect information on your record, it’s unlikely you can get an accident removed. Depending on the state, you may be able to complete a safe driving course to restore points and help prevent a license suspension. But even then, the accident can remain on your record for years.

  • Does a no-fault accident go on your record?

    Yes. No-fault accidents typically go on your record. Even if you didn’t cause the accident, there will still be a record of it, and some insurance companies will still raise your rates even if you did nothing wrong. Consult your state’s motor vehicle department to see if there’s a way to prevent an accident from going on your record, especially if you have a police report that indicates you’re not at fault.

  • How far back can insurance companies look in your driving record?

    Depending on your state, insurance companies consider the last three to five years of your driving record when determining your insurance premiums.

  • Who has access to your driving record?

    You have access to your own driving record, but your private information is typically protected from others. Some examples of entities that can access your driving record are insurers and employers.

  • What’s on your driving record?

    Your driving record contains your driving history, including accidents, tickets, and other citations. It also includes personal information like your name, driver’s license number, and address.

  • How long does an accident stay on your record in Texas?

    In Texas, a type 2 driving record request contains information about crashes and moving violations for three years from the date of the offense, meaning accidents are on your record for three years.[7]

  • How long does an accident stay on your record in Illinois?

    In Illinois, moving violations can stay on your record for four to seven years, depending on the severity of the accident. If the violation results in license suspension, the violation will stay on your record for seven years.[8]

  • How long does an accident stay on your record in California?

    In California, collisions will be on your driving record for three years. But if your accident meets certain criteria, like involving hazardous materials or a commercial vehicle, it can be reported for 10 years.[2]

  • How long does an accident stay on your record in Georgia?

    Georgia operates the GDOT Crash Data Dashboard, which contains records of car accidents on Georgia public roads in the past five years. In Georgia, you can also request a three-or seven-year driving history. Employers can even request a lifetime driving history.[9]


  1. III. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?." Accessed May 10, 2023
  2. California DMV. "Retention of Driver Record Information." Accessed May 10, 2023
  3. New York DMV. "Standard driving records (abstracts)." Accessed May 10, 2023
  4. Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. "Questions About Driving Records." Accessed May 10, 2023
  5. III. "Background on: No-fault auto insurance." Accessed May 10, 2023
  6. III. "Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs." Accessed May 10, 2023
  7. Texas Department of Public Safety. "How to Order a Driver Record." Accessed May 10, 2023
  8. Illinois Secretary of State. "FAQ - Driver Services." Accessed May 10, 2023
  9. Georgia Department of Driver Services. "MVR - Driving History." Accessed May 10, 2023
Catherine Collins
Catherine Collins

Catherine Collins is a freelance financial writer and author based in Detroit. She's the co-founder of and, and author of the book Mom’s Got Money: A millennial mom’s guide to managing money like a boss. She has written for US News, Huffington Post, Money, Business Insider, Investopedia, Entrepreneur, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications. She currently resides in Detroit, Michigan with her boy-girl twins and a rescue dog named Julep.