Will Filing a Claim Raise My Rates?
Our clients often wonder, will my rates go up after an accident? At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our Boulder personal injury lawyers have a short and a long answer (hey, we’re lawyers!).The Short Answer
As a general rule, the short answer is that filing a claim with an insurance company after an accident will not raise your rates as long as the accident was not your fault. This holds true when you file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, as well as your own. On the other hand, if you are the person who caused the accident and you are therefore at fault, it is likely that your insurance company will take some sort of negative action against you which can range from raising your insurance rates, excluding you as a driver on your family’s policy, or even dropping you or your family all together. A Boulder personal injury attorney knows that the consequences of being found at fault for a traffic ticket can be serious, and depending on the circumstances of your case, may advise that it is worth fighting your ticket (if you received one) or the insurance company’s decision that you were at fault. This is especially true if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).A Longer Answer on Car Insurance Rates
As noted above, as long as the car, truck, or motorcycle was not your fault, your insurance company cannot directly use the accident to raise your auto insurance rates. In fact, Colorado law (C.R.S. C.R.S. §10-4-611) states that:
No ratings discounts applied to any policy of motor vehicle insurance issued in this state shall be reduced or eliminated as the result of a collision with an uninsured motor vehicle where the operator of the insured motor vehicle is not at fault.
This means that your own insurance carrier cannot remove discounts such as safe driver discounts, good grade discounts, multiple policy discounts, etc., if you were involved in an accident that was not your fault. A Boulder personal injury attorney knows that if you can directly link that your insurance carrier has punished you for an accident that was not your fault, you may be able to bring a civil action against your insurer.
With the general rule being that your insurance carrier such as State Farm, Farmers, GEICO, USAA, Travelers, and Progressive, etc., is not allowed to raise your rates when a single crash was not your fault, there are other legitimate reasons why an insurance company may raise your rates. Simply put, just because you have a good driving record and were not at fault for an accident, does not forever lock you into your current insurance rates. For example, if you have been involved in multiple crashes, even if they were not your fault, your insurance company may legitimately and fairly view you as a higher risk driver and more expensive to insure. Another example that may cause your rates to increase is when there are multiple losses in your geographic area that cause rates to go up due to the sheer number of claims. At Cook, Bradford & Levy, as Colorado residents we know that hail damage and wildfires are common events that can increase our rates compared to people living in areas with low risk of natural disasters like flooding, fires, or hail.
For further reading about how an accident may impact your rates, our Boulder personal injury lawyers think that a good, unbiased place to start is here (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/your-money/auto-insurance-rates-quotes-no-fault-accident.html). Remember, that Colorado is one of the states like California and Oklahoma that prevents rate increases when the crash is not your fault.
If you have been in an accident and have questions about your insurance rates, or questions about how you can best handle your personal injury claim, we invite you to reach out to our Boulder personal injury attorneys at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation about what issues you are dealing with. We are friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced lawyers who are here to help you and your family get clarity and confidence as you recover from your accident.