Rancho Cucamonga, CA (WiredPRNews.com) — Although motorists may worry that becoming involved in any type of accident will have dire consequences for their auto insurance premiums, actual practice shows that a number of factors influence the extent to which costs will fluctuate for drivers involved in a crash.
The total number of automobile crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, declined by 5.3 percent between 2008 and 2009. While this is good news, drivers involved in the more than 5.5 million crashes that occurred last year still need to understand what it could mean for their financials. To answer the question of how accidents affect auto insurance rates, one needs to take into account a variety of the incident’s details.
A few of the details that may hold the most weight when considering the possible coverage-related repercussions of a crash are who was at fault, how much monetary damage resulted from the incident and whether the policyholder had been involved in other crashes within a three-year period.
Policyholders likely will not see their rates increase if they are found to be not at fault. Even still, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends that consumers ask their agents whether crashes that are not their fault can affect rates. If a motorist is found to be at fault, it’s possible that he or she could lose any good-driver discount that had been previously extended by the insurer.
The monetary threshold that must be met in order for damages to affect costs differs among states and among insurers. In California, for example, a law enacted in 2002 restricted insurers such that they can take into account only incidents that involved damages of at least $750 when determining an insured’s safety record and his or her eligibility for a good-driver discount.
In North Carolina, a policyholder’s rate may not be affected if an accident meets the following criteria: the only damage was to property, the total damages were less than $1,500, the policyholder is not convicted for a moving violation in the incident and no licensed operators in the household have had at-fault crashes or violation in a given period.
For more information on how the details of an accident can determine whether it may impact rates, consumers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/learn/how-accidents-affect.htm where visitors can also generate free car insurance quote comparisons.