Some of the consequences of an accident on your insurance may come as an unpleasant surprise. For example, you may already know that if someone files a personal injury claim against you, it can cause your insurance rates to go up. However, what you may not know is that even if you file a personal injury claim, it can also cause an increase in your insurance rates.
The following is a look at how personal injury claims, whether your own or someone else’s, can impact your insurance premium.
Personal Injury Surcharge
If you are at fault for an accident, you may not see an increase in your insurance right away. However, when your policy is up for renewal, the insurance company may assess a penalty called a surcharge. The insurance company can impose a surcharge when someone files a personal injury claim for an accident that you caused. It can also impose a surcharge if you file a first-person claim under your own policy for an accident that you were at least partially responsible for causing.
The good news is that surcharges do not remain on your policy forever. Your insurer can impose a personal injury surcharge for three years at the most. However, during that time frame, the surcharge may increase your insurance rates significantly.
Allocation of Fault
After an accident, an investigation will take place to allocate fault for the accident. Sometimes the investigation shows that one party or the other is 100% at fault. Other times, the investigation will show that both parties bear at least some of the responsibility.
If this is the case, then it becomes important to determine the percentage of fault that each party bears for the accident. The accident will be reported on your insurance record as “not-at-fault” if the other party is allocated at least 51% of the fault.
In other words, you can bear up to 49% of the responsibility for an accident and your insurance company will still decide that you are not at fault. This is important because your insurer cannot impose higher premiums for an accident for which you were not at fault, neither now nor in the future.
Bear in mind that different laws may apply in different states regarding the allocation of guilt and how much responsibility you can bear for an accident without it affecting your insurance.
Dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident can be tricky. It can be difficult to give them the information they need to make a fair assessment without saying anything that could turn the tables against you. It is typically a good idea to hire an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Trenton, NJ, before speaking with an insurance adjuster. Contact our office for more information.
Thank you to Davis & Brusca, LLC for their insight into personal injury law.