How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on My Record?
Many people involved in car accidents in Nova Scotia are afraid to report the accident to their automobile insurance company. They fear that the car accident will increase their insurance rates and they’re not sure how long a car accident will stay on their record.
It is true that causing a car accident will likely result in an increased insurance premium. But this isn’t a life long increase. Insurance companies only go back a few years in looking at your driving history.
It’s important to know that simply being in a car accident won’t automatically result in increased insurance rates. When the accident is another driver’s fault, your rates generally remain unaffected.
Causing a car accident will likely affect your insurance rates:
Most insurance companies in Nova Scotia will go back to check for at-fault accidents. They will usually check to see if a driver was responsible for any car accidents over the past six years. Some insurance companies will review a driving history as far as ten years back.
If you have caused an accident within that time, it’s likely that your insurance rates will be higher. The insurance rate will stay high as long as the at-fault accident shows on your driver records. However, heightened rates reduce each year that passes. For example, an accident that happened six years ago will result in a lower rate increase than one that happened two years ago.
How do insurance companies determine fault for an accident:
Insurance companies decide just how much of the accident was your fault by looking at regulations set by the government. These laws are contained in the Automobile Insurance Fault Determination Regulations. This is basically a giant flowchart that insurance companies are required to use to determine how much a person is responsible for an accident.
How do car accident claims impact insurance rates?
After an accident, if you decide to pay for the damages and either of the parties doesn’t file a claim, your insurance rates may not change. Many people would rather pay out-of-pocket than file a claim that could increase the rates.
If you’re involved in a car accident, it is recommended that you call your insurance company to get information. Know that your insurance rates may not increase simply by telling the insurer about the accident. After getting the information, you will be in a better position to decide whether you would like to file a claim or not.
Many insurance companies allow for one at-fault claim without increasing premiums. Maybe you have this kind of policy. Additionally most companies consider the good driving record of the driver. If you have 20 years of good driving behind you, and have made one mistake, it’s unlikely that your rates will be dramatically increased.
Accident history is only one factor in determining car insurance rates:
There are many things that play a role in calculating car insurance premiums. As discussed above, an at-fault car accident may stay on your driver abstract for at least 6 years and up to 10 years. But it’s only one factor.
Insurance premiums are based on your risk factor as a whole. Driving history is important but insurers also look at the type of car you drive, where you live, who else drives the car and how you drive it. All of these things combine to create a risk factor upon which rates are set. A DUI conviction will obviously result in high insurance rates. On the other hand, certain claims for car theft, vandalism, and fire may not affect premium rates at all.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, and you have questions about fault determinations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced car accident lawyers for a free consultation.