How will a personal injury claim affect my insurance?
If you were in a car accident and another person was injured in it, one of your first concerns — after assessing the welfare of both yourself and the people in the other vehicle, of course — is probably going to be how much your insurance premiums are going to skyrocket due to the incident. If your insurance company will be paying out a bodily injury claim on your behalf, you can be certain that your insurance premiums will rise. Even if you file a claim with your insurance company for your own injuries, you will likely see higher insurance premiums.
How insurance surcharges may occur
You might be surprised at how high your premiums jump if you are involved in a car accident that resulted in injuries. If injuries are minor and don’t exceed what your policy covers, your rates may not go up too much. If injuries are catastrophic and you are at fault, though, your rates could escalate significantly. Add a personal injury attorney to the mix, and your rates may double.
When an injury claim is on your insurance record, the surcharge (or rate hike) most insurance companies set will be in place for at least three years after an injury claim is closed, although this varies from state to state (some surcharges stay in place for five to seven years), which means you could be paying much higher premiums for a long time to come.
Why do rates go up?
As we’ve said before, insurance companies – whether health insurance, home insurance, auto insurance or even life insurance companies – are businesses, which means that their main objective is to make money.
When you cause an accident that results in your insurance company having to shell out a hefty payout – sometimes even for long-term health care if a victim is seriously injured – they will attempt to recoup at least some of those expenditures by hiking up your insurance rates. Not all incidents result in a higher premium, however. That largely depends largely on the insurance company as well as the nature of the claim.
When can insurance companies raise my premiums?
Since auto insurance companies can raise your rates when you purchase a new car, move to a new city where car theft is more prevalent or there is more traffic, making a collision more likely, it should come as no surprise that insurance companies will likely raise your rates following an accident, even if the accident was not your fault.
In most cases, however, whoever was to blame in a personal injury accident will be the one whose premiums rise. This is why it is so important to communicate effectively with the adjuster and claims representative so you can prove that you were not the cause of the collision.
If you were the cause of the accident and there were serious injuries, you can expect your insurance premiums to rise. If your driving record was exemplary prior to the accident, you may not see your rates rise as much as expected. If, however, your driving record is spotty, you could see rate hikes that hit your pocketbook harder than expected.
If you were in an accident and believe you are owed compensation, contact a personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL, as soon as possible to help you with your case. This will be the best chance at getting everything you are owed, rather than settling for what an insurance adjuster wants to give you.
Thanks to The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into how a personal injury claim can affect your insurance rates.