Not at Fault in an Accident? Too Bad, Your Auto Insurance Will Still Rise

Money

Auto insurance is pretty straightforward. After every accident you’re in, after every speeding ticket you get, your auto insurance rates will increase. Those are just two sure ways to see higher rates. Because drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 generally have the highest rates, adding a young person to your plan is all but guaranteed to increase your auto insurance costs.

However, a new study has shown that auto insurance companies all over the country are raising insurance policies even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

As per numerous insurance companies, the driver or drivers responsible for the crash can expect their auto insurance premiums to rise. But the Consumer Federation of America recently noticed something unusual going on with insurance rates, and so the group decided to collect information on exactly what happens to the policies of the drivers deemed not at fault for the car accident.

The CFA gathered data from five of the largest insurance providers in 10 cities nationwide. They found that generally speaking, drivers who were victims of a crash still experienced multiple hikes on their insurance premiums. Currently, the only states that bar this practice are California and Oklahoma, which both have state laws prohibiting excess charges on drivers in auto accidents who were involved at no fault of their own.

Of the five companies surveyed, Progressive was the worst culprit, raising policies on average 16.6% for every single case. GEICO and Farmers Insurance sometimes raised rates at 14.1% and 11.1% respectively, with Allstate averaging a 4.8% increase. Of the companies involved in the study, only State Farm never raised rates.

And that’s not the only surprising insight of the CFA study. The report goes on to show that the more income a driver has, the lower the penalty they will pay for not-at-fault accidents. Of the drivers surveyed, moderate-income drivers experienced an average of a 12.1% increase, paying $265 more per year. Those with higher incomes paid only 8.3% more, amounting to only $99 extra annually.

“Innocent drivers who don’t cause accidents should not be charged more because someone else hit them,” explains J. Robert Hunter, CFA’s director of insurance and the former insurance commissioner of Texas. “Most people know that if they cause an accident or get a ticket they could face a premium increase, but they don’t expect to be punished if a reckless driver careens into them.”

The CFA recommends for all drivers to comb through their policy on a regular basis, and to contact their insurance companies if there is an unexplained increase in premium cost. They recommend that if this happens, policyholders should visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. There, drivers can investigate and see if this has happened to any other drivers in the area.

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