The internets are abuzz about car insurance rates rising by a national average of 38% after just one claim, but consider this before you begin bargaining with your tree shade mechanic about replacing your car's entire backside.
The uproar was caused by a recent report by insurancequotes.com, where the title "Making One Auto Insurance Claim Can Increase Your Rate By Up To 67%" put a lot of people in a tizzy. While the headline is admirably attention-grabbing, the article quickly clarifies with these words:
It's important for consumers to note that rate increases only apply to bodily injury and property damage claims where you are at fault. If you are rear-ended by another driver, their insurance or your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your claim and your rates won't be affected.
A little more comforting, right?
More good news: If a rouge elephant executes a perfect (but denting) rolling slide over your car as it evades the police, you won't pay much extra after you make that claim for Elephant Butt Damages. Events such as hail or a fallen tree that have nothing to do with your driving but still damage your car are covered under your comprehensive coverage. The same source tells us that 11 states have no premium increase for these occurrences, 20 states have an increase of less than one percent and Nebraska tops the list with a 10 percent increase.
So, where did the 67% and 38% national average increase information come from?
This eye-catching number is gathered from the average of bodily injury, property damage and comprehensive claims over $2,000-- in Massachusetts. Here are the top five states that boast the highest average premium increase for all claims that reach or exceed $2000:
1. Massachusetts: 67%
2. California: 62%
3. New Jersey: 59%
4. North Carolina: 47%
5. Minnesota: 45%
The top five states with the lowest average premium increase round it off to get that 38% national average mentioned earlier:
1. Maryland: 20%
2. Alabama: 22%
3. Michigan: 23%
4. Wyoming: 23%
5. Oklahoma: 25%
So, don't fret; it's not as bad as it looks. Just be very sure that you aren't at fault (or live in Massachusetts) to avoid being a part of these high average premium raises. If it is your fault, you still have a chance to avoid high increases if the damages are under $2000. If you missed that mark, it's best to file a claim-- especially if you received a ticket for the collision. When your insurance company reviews your driving record and sees an unclaimed accident, then you can definitely be sure that your premiums will take on breathtaking altitudes…or you could be left stranded with no insurance at all.
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