All drivers dread a car accident, not only for the possible injuries and hassle, but also for the inevitable rise in their car insurance rate that occurs after making a claim. Insurance companies take a hit to their profits when a claim is made, and they know that statistically, drivers that have been involved in one claim are more likely to be involved in another claim. Some drivers see their rates shoot up drastically after an accident, to the point where car insurance coverage becomes difficult to afford. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to decrease the impact of an accident on your premiums.
First of all, file the claim as soon as possible. If you're not at fault in the accident, provide the necessary paperwork and evidence to prove your innocence. Take pictures of the accident, and stay in contact with your insurance agent until the claim is resolved. If you are at fault, ask your insurer if there's anything that you can do to keep your car insurance rate at an affordable level. Their advice can be quite valuable.
Many state courts and insurance companies allow drivers to take safe driving courses. These can keep the points off of your record and help minimize the damage to your rates. They're usually fairly easy to complete and tend to be free or very inexpensive. Some insurers have other programs that offer discounts. If you're reading this before you've gotten into an accident that resulted in a claim, look into accident forgiveness. This special option keeps small claims off of your insurance record as long as you stay with the same insurer. It usually costs a little bit extra for each period of insurance, but in many cases it's well worth the money for safe drivers.
You should also look for car insurance quotes in the weeks following your accident. Use online price comparison websites to get a sense of what you'd pay at other companies. You might want to threaten a switch if your insurer refuses to budge on your premiums. Never underestimate the power of a bit of comparison shopping. Insurance companies are well aware of their competitors' prices, and they will often try to work with you. If they're still unwilling to lower your rates, and you've got a less expensive option for the same amount of car insurance coverage, go ahead and make the switch. After a few years, the accident will be off of your insurance record, and your rates should fall back to their normal level.