Each year in the United States at least 43,000 people die due to injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents, and almost 3 million people are injured. You hear about car accidents all the time, but that doesn't make it any easier when it happens to you.
If you got into a car accident, chances are you're pretty concerned about your insurance rates increasing. Even one accident can be enough to see higher auto insurance quotes, especially if it is determined that you were "at fault".
If you're never been in an accident before, you do have options. You might even be able to prevent an increase in your insurance. But it's important to note that this is generally only true for your first accident. If you've had several at-fault accidents recently-- for example, three in the past year-- your insurance is going to increase drastically. This cannot be avoided; you will be deemed a high-risk driver, and your payments will reflect that.
But if you're a first timer, you might get lucky.
Even if you weren't at fault, some insurance companies will try to raise your auto insurance. They will label you as a high-risk driver simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If this happens to you, then it's time to start shopping around for some new auto insurance quotes.
If you were at fault, things get a bit more complicated. If you've been driving for many years and have a clean record, you might qualify for what is called "accident forgiveness." This means that the insurance company will not punish you for your first at-fault accident; it's a freebie! However, if you're lucky enough to qualify for such a service, you must be very careful from that point forward. If you get into a second accident your insurance company will recognize both that accident and the first one, and your payments will increase accordingly.
If you don't qualify for an accident forgiveness service, chances are your insurance will go up, at least a little bit. And, it will stay that way for a while; an accident can stay on your driving record for up to 10 years! That being said, don't let yourself be taken advantage of. Make sure you shop around and get multiple auto insurance quotes. One company might try to raise your rate by 40%, but if you go somewhere else, you might only see a 10% increase. Once you find a decent rate, pay it for a while then try again. As more accident-free months and years pass, insurance companies are more willing to lower your monthly payments.