Car Insurance Raising Premiums for Accident Not Your Fault

This is my understanding: If someone rear-ends you and you claim it, your premium/payments go up. Even more specifically, if you claim anything, if you simply USE your insurance, the payments increase no matter what.

I’m not sure if this is universally true. But if it is, or even if it is mostly true, WHY???

Question is, how do the companies get away with this? What logic do they use to raise your premium based on the mistake of someone else? Why can’t I just go straight to his auto insurance and get the compensation from them? Why does my driving record get tainted because of ignorant drivers? Isn’t it unjust to say that an accident is an accident, whether it was my fault or not?

Well, I was rear-ended, had my car fixed and my neck and back fixed and my premiums stayed the same.

Sooo - there’s a bit of anicdotal evidence. I should point out that I’m in Canada. (Alberta, to be specific.)

Texas, my wife had an accident or rather someone else had the accident and hit her from behind. Their fault and her insurance premiums went up. Better yet, try this…due to some health problems we have been in financial trouble. I have never had an accident and no tickets in over ten years. My wife has never had a ticket and only the one accident (not her fault) we are both 40 w/ two kids and own our home.

Because of our financial problems (doctors bills) our insurance is HIGHER regardless of our driving records. NOW that sucks! :frowning:

This is not true in my experience. I have had two high dollar value accidents (over $7000 each) – one covered under collision and not my fault and one covered under comprehensive. In neither case did my premiums with Allstate go up.

OTOH, if you were to switch insurers, they do usually make you disclose ALL accidents, which may and probably will affect your new rate.

I’m in California and my premium’s have actually gone down since I got rear-ended last year. It was time to renew the policy a couple of months ago, so I ended up with a better deal and the wreck wasn’t my fault, so my insurance company didn’t hold it against me.

I don’t believe it’s mostly true (unless you’re talking about no-fault states which I don’t know a lot about). I’m sure some companies do but I doubt if it’s anything close to “most.” The company I work for doesn’t do it. The accident has to be your fault and they have to have paid more than a certain amount before you’ll be surcharged.

Unless something is prohibited by state regulations and the regulators don’t question it when the rates and rules are filed, they can make whatever rules they want. And before you go gettin’ your undies in a bunch over that, there are plenty of rules. Believe me.

If a company did use that logic it might be because, if you’re making a claim against your own company instead of the other operator’s company, you’re costing your company money. Even if they subrogate against the other operator’s company for the damages, they’ve still coughed up money on your behalf in the form of expenses by handling it for you. Again, I don’t believe most companies would surcharge you for it anyway.

You can. But if you have collision insurance on your vehicle it makes more sense to let your company handle it because you’ll get it settled a lot faster and then you can let the insurance companies fight it out over the money.

Your driving record doesn’t have to be “tainted.” When you go out to buy insurance that’s one of the questions you should ask. If you don’t want to buy insurance from a company that’s going to surcharge you for an accident that wasn’t your fault, then don’t. It’s a free market.

t-keela, do you know for sure that her rates when up because of the accident? Does it specifically indicate on her policy that she’s being charged more because of an accident? I ask because insurance rates have been on the rise for a couple of years now and I’m wondering if her premium would have gone up regardless of the accident.

Yes, I called and asked…that is exactly why her rates went up. It was also w/ Allstate. I don’t know what’s up w/ Texas insurance but we have had a lot of trouble here in the past few years.
That wreck is “outdated” now so it doesn’t really matter. Now it is the credit reports that are killing me. My wife and daughter BOTH have Muscular Dystrophy so needless to say our medical expenses are a bitch. MDA is a fucking joke. Thank GOD for Texas Childrens and Shriners(Scottish Rite) hospitals. They see our daughter at least.
We finally got in w/ them but not before our credit was utterly destroyed by unpaid medical bills (no choice). My insurance cancelled due to pre-existing condition. Anyway, sorry about the hijack…my point being, for the most part the insurance companies have fucked me but good.

It depends on what level of risk you are at, in my experience. Once upon a time we were shopping around for insurance and were told by one company that we weren’t elgible at all since Mrs. FtG has been hit by another car, whose insurance fixed it. (I.e., we made no claim on our insurance.) To get the best price, you have to have a truly spotless record.

Weird, but yesterday I was backing out & a car ran into the back of me & kept going & never came back.

I asked the cops about it & they said they only do reports if you want one for the insurance company & it has to be more than $500.00.

When a friend ran into a new truck on Maui I took her to the insurance agency & they paid for it (had to be more than $750 for it to count against her insurance). When she got her next insurance statement, it actually went down a little.

Here in CA (and I have heard in many/most states) if you show an accident is not your fault, the Ins co cannot use it against you. And- they don’t, at least in my experience. I don’t know about Texas, but they are considered rather 'wacky" along those lines, so …

So - it sounds like the OP is basicly correct. They can’t “justify it” as “they don’t do it”.

That’s “basicly INcorrect”. sigh. Oh for an edit function.

Here in NJ auto insurance companies are not allowed to raise your rates for accidents that are not your fault. When you ask for a quote, they will require information about AT FAULT accidents, plus any traffic violations. I personally (unfortunately) was involved in a number of accidents, none of which were my fault. For a couple of years, people just seemed to drive into the back of my car while I was stopped at traffic lights and stop signs. The final one was someone who simply decided she had waited long enough at a stop sign and pulled out in front of me. In this incident, my car was totalled, and I had significant medical bills and lost wages. My insurance company paid all expenses, then went through a process called “subrogation” in which they went after the persons who had caused the accident, and recovered the damages from them, through their insurance company. My rates never budged. In fact, after the subrogation was completed, my insurance company got enough back to cover my deductible, too, and they refunded it to me. (I hope the rates of the people who hit me got raised, though. ) A few years after that, my daughter was at a red light and someone drove into the back of her car at about 40 or 50 mph, having either fallen asleep or simply not noticed the red light with the line of cars at it. (BTW, she was wearing a seat belt, and was in a Saturn.) The car was totalled, crumpled front AND back, but she had not a single injury. Neither the at-fault driver nor his passenger was wearing a seat belt. Both smacked into their windshield and suffered significant injury. Again, our rates did not increase.

Obviously, these things differ from state to state.

Here in Ontario its been a big problem over the past year or so of insurance compaines flat-out dropping people who are involved in accidents but not the ones at fault! They cite your being “high-risk” and you can only hook on with another insurance company at a huge premium. Lots of hubub about it on the radio cal in shows but so far nothing seems to be happening in Queen’s Park to fix the problem. Moral of this story: drive very carefully if you live in Ontario.

I think they mean “high-risk” as in “high-risk” of costing the insurance company money.

Once you’ve cost an insurance company money, they will do anything they can do to charger you more - unless it seems like a better idea to offer low rates to a lot of people and make their profits that way.

I am in a no-fault state, but I can only speak for my own insurance company. No fault means our own insurance company pays our own claims. There’s no such thing as suing someone else (well, beyond $500); you’re responsible for your own property (someone burns down your house, your house insurance pays, right?). Anyway, I’m not trying to debate no-fault vs. the other – that’s in another thread somewhere. I’m just saying I’m in a no-fault state and that’s what it means.

So… accident #1: I rear-ended someone. Legally (and morally) wasn’t my fault. No claim filed, since the damage to my car was a paint scratch and the car I rear-ended was totalled. No rate increase.

Accident #2: I slipped off an unplowed, snowy road. 100% fault, 0% negligence. AAA happily paid the $3500 in damages and I saw no rate increase (in fact a few days later it went down due to my birthday, and they sent me a refund check!).

Accident #3: I backed into a crane (really, the huge behemoth was complete invisible to me, honestly!), and it took out my rear glass and one of the rear pillers. Again, 100% fault, but 0% negligent. So the claim was paid with no rate increase.

In both of the claimed cases, I did have to pay my deductable. But had the fault been less than 50%, I’d not’ve had to pay that, either.

On the other hand, AAA is a not-for-profit group, so this may not apply to other Michigan insurers.

Just out of interest, what were the circumstances of the crash?

I’m having a hard time envisioning a rear-ender in which the person doing the rear-ending bears none of the blame.

I have been told that in some states (MN, for instance), you are presumed to be 10% at fault in any accident.

And I have only had one accident, but my rates went up as a result. The accident was (I think) 50% my fault.


Interesting thread, especially since we just filed a claim on Monday for $3500 in damage after a deer jumped out of the ditch into our path over the weekend.

Does anyone know if the insurance companies consider hitting a deer to be the driver’s fault?

Probably depends on you filing a police report:

“How fast do you think the deer was going? Did he signal? Did he have insurance?”

Should be fairly easy to collect the necessary information, I would think few deer accidents end up as a “hit and run” on the part of the deer…