How Long Does Accident Stay on Insurance?

Finding car insurance coverage can already be difficult. You have to consider different quotes and coverage options, and it can get pretty overwhelming. But do you know what makes it harder? Getting into an accident.

Car accidents can make your car insurance sky rocket, so it can be a challenge to find new car insurance cover once you’ve been in an accident. The last thing that you want is to get a new provider that essentially makes your car insurance cost the same as your monthly rent.

It’s only natural, then, that you would want to know how long a car accident is likely to stay on your insurance. The answer is not clear cut as there are a few things that can influence the answer, so here’s all that you need to know. 

How Long Will The Accident Stay on my Record?

Unfortunately, car accidents will always stay on your record to a degree. Not fun. It will stay on your record whether you were the cause of the accident or not, and tickets will also stay on your record.

While they will usually remain on your record, there are some insurers that will ignore claims beyond the scope of around 5 to 10 years, depending on the offence.

As a whole, you can usually expect an accident or a ticket to remain on your record for around three years. They will last significantly longer than this if you committed a major offence such as a DUI of hit and run.

Of course, these are general guidelines. You will also need to consider the laws of your individual state. Certain states, such as California, will have points systems in order to keep track of any traffic violations. Two states may also differ in terms of the penalty that they give for certain offences.

How Does this Affect My Insurance?

When you’ve been in an accident you should get in touch with your insurance provider. There are some companies that may excuse first time offences - something known as ‘forgiveness.’ Your insurance rate will most likely be increased if your insurance company doesn’t offer this.

You could expect it to increase by 34% after your accident, though this really depends on where you live, how severe the accident is, the number of claims that you’ve recently put in and your loyalty to the insurance company.

Some may increase it up to 50 or 100 percent after your accident. It’s certainly worth your time to clarify this with your provider as soon as possible.

If you have committed a very serious offence such as a hit and run, there are some insurance companies that may refuse to renew your insurance.

Why Does Insurance Go Up After Accidents?

You may think that your provider is raising their premiums as a way to scold you for getting into an accident, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

In some circumstances, a car accident can indicate to an insurance company that you drive recklessly, and so they increase your car insurance charge. After a while these increases will reduce after a couple of years, however.

I Didn’t Cause the Accident - Will My Insurance Rates Still Increase?

Sometimes we just get into accidents that aren’t our fault. This can be pretty stressful already, as it can take an emotional and sometimes physical toll on the victim. But will it take a financial toll?

Unfortunately, the answer can often be yes unless you have forgiveness in your insurance. Certain companies may raise their insurance premiums by up to 17% for driers involved in a collision who weren’t at fault.

With that being said, there are some states that don’t allow this. For instance, Oklahoma and California have laws in place that can stop insurance providers from increasing insurance rates for drivers who were not at fault in an accident.

How Can I Lower My Insurance Rates After an Accident?

It can be hard sometimes to change providers - perhaps you like who you are currently with and they’ve served you well through the years. This can be a good thing sometimes, as rates can occasionally drop back down to their previous rates after the accident starts to fall off your record.

With that being said, if you aren’t quite prepared to wait for that then there are certainly ways that you can save yourself a few extra bucks on car insurance.

Check with your provider, as they may give you discounts to make your rates lower. You should double check what sorts of things you are eligible for.

Certain things can lower your premiums too, such as paying the whole premium upfront, or taking a defensive driving class. Some other things include getting home and car insurance with the same provider.

Of course, sometimes this simply isn’t enough and it may be time to say goodbye to your car insurance provider. Look around for other providers, as not every company will charge extra following an accident.

You can also take some time to look at your credit rating, as this can have an impact on your insurance in certain states. You can also think about getting a different car, as expensive vehicles generally tend to cost more money to insure.


In short, unfortunately accidents can have a habit of looming over your head for quite a while after the event has occurred. This can sometimes have a negative impact on your insurance, resulting in you needing to pay more money every month. This is the case whether you were at fault or otherwise in many states.

However, you don’t necessarily need to stay with your current provider after an accident, and sometimes shopping around may be the better option to help to lower your premium.

Before you buy your next policy, it’s also worth considering whether the insurance company will provide you with accident forgiveness so that your charges don’t increase after the accident. All in all, there are ways to make your accident a little less stressful on you financially.