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Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After an Accident?

The most common query that we get asked from our customers after an accident is: “Should I pay my deductible or go straight out of pocket?” It's a dilemma and a very good question, so all of us at Collision Works Of Wichita West are hoping to answer this question for our blog readers in Wichita and all over the State of KS.

First step first--unless a claim has already been made on your behalf, it may be wise to get several estimates from a handful of reputable body shops prior to deciding what the optimum course of action is.

The purpose of insurance is obviously there to provide insurers with financial assistance while repairing your vehicle, property or personal injury. If the damage to your car is not serious (less than the cost of your deductible), you should just pay for the repair out of your pocket.

This scenario usually then proceeds to this next question--“How much will my rates actually go up?”

Characteristically, insurers have two thresholds when it comes to filing a claim. If the damage is less than $1,800, your rate will probably not go up, but if it ends up between $1,800 to $2,800, your premium will likely increased.  

The most significant number for most insurance companies is around $2,800. If that amount of damage meets or exceeds that figure, you could definitely see a seriously noticeable hike in your premiums. Not every insurance company is exactly the same, but these amounts fit almost all insurance companies in this country.

Please remember that all of these numbers are based on a clean driving record. If you have previous claims, you will undoubtedly see hikes in your premiums. 

The really frightening thing is what happens after you have two or more claims. Each insurance company's approach is different, but you should expect to find a 50% increase in your premium, which means that your $800 annual premium would balloon to $1,200 per year rather easily.

The amount of a premium increase varies by state to state. In Massachusetts, for example, drivers might see a shocking spike of 76% after filing one claim. But Maryland drivers might notice that their premiums rise by just 22%.

In California, the average premium increase after such a claim was 86%. The leaders include Massachusetts: 83%: New Jersey: 69%; North Carolina: 58% and Minnesota: 52%.

These following states had the smallest average premium increase for bodily injury claims: Maryland: 22%; Michigan: 25%; Montana: 27%; Oklahoma: 27% and Mississippi: 28%.

So, if you get into an accident, do not fear. Call your insurance company and look carefully at all of your options before making any decision.

Sources: Forbes, Consumer Report and USA Today

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