Being involved in a car accident and dealing with the resulting injuries and expenses is stressful. Adding to your stress and worry may be concerns surrounding how an accident will affect your auto insurance rates. Given your situation, you likely cannot afford to have your premiums skyrocket, so you may consider not reporting the incident to your provider.
However, it's important to know that if you fail to report an accident you effectively forfeit your right to file a personal injury claim and therefore, cannot pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Don't make this mistake.
While a hike in your insurance premiums is a valid concern, there are many factors that affect whether or not your rates will increase including:
- Accountability — The party responsible for the accident will have the higher risk of increased premiums, especially since Ohio is not a no-fault state. However, regardless of whether or not an accident was your fault, if this is your first accident, your provider may offer forgiveness.
- History — A clean driving record makes it all the more likely that your insurer will grant you accident forgiveness because one incident does not automatically tag you are a greater-liability driver. If you have a history of crashes and claims, whether this accident was your fault or not, your insurance rates will likely increase.
- Severity — The extent of the accident and damage matters. Major collisions leading to severe damage and injury will probably result in higher insurance rates.
- Company — The insurance provider you choose may ultimately be the biggest deciding factor in determining whether or not your insurance rates will increase. Every company has different policies regarding the relationship between accidents and rates. The specific type of coverage you have will also likely play a role.
Do not let the chance of increased premiums prevent you from reporting an accident. Being honest and up front with your provider can only help your case. However, when it comes to insurance settlements, it's never advisable to accept a settlement offer without first speaking with an attorney who can help ensure that you are getting a fair amount.