One reason that people fear reporting a car accident to their insurance company after an accident is the fact that often times, car insurance rates will increase after a claim. If you have been in a car accident in the state of Georgia, here are some factors what you need to know about insurance, including how your insurance rates may be impacted:
Insurance Requirements in the State of Georgia
First, it is important to note that the state of Georgia requires all drivers to carry liability auto insurance. That insurance is designed to pay for the injuries and damages to others caused by an at-fault driver. Unlike no-fault states, you simply cannot not report your injuries to your insurance company if you do not want your insurance company to pay for them. Because you are responsible for paying for the injuries you cause to others, a car accident resulting in damages will almost always go through your insurance company.
According to the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, the minimum limits of liability required under Georgia law are $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability insurance.
Other types of insurance coverage are offered in the state, but are not mandatory. These include coverage to pay for damage caused by uninsured and underinsured motorists, collision coverage and medical payments coverage.
Do I Have To Report An Accident To My Insurance Company?
Many people wonder whether they have to report a car accident to their insurance company. As stated above, if you cause any damages to another party, the chances are your insurance carrier will learn about your accident through police accident report entered into the state of Georgia’s accident reporting system.
You are required to report any vehicle accident to the police involving injury, death, or property damages totaling more than $500. The law is found in Section 40-6-273 of Georgia Code. If you are reporting the accident to the police, then it is serious enough that you should report it to your insurance company as well. Failing to report an accident to your insurance company can have negative effects at a later date.
Insurance Rates After a Car Accident
If you report your car accident to your insurance company, your premiums may change. You may be re-categorized as a higher risk driver if you caused the accident. However, this usually depends both on your policy and the fault of the accident. The following considers situations and how your insurance premiums may be affected.
- A crash that you cause that results in damages to the other driver. In a crash that you are found to be at fault for, and that results in damages to the other driver, you can assume that your insurance premiums will go up. According to Consumer Guide for Automobile provided by the Office of Commissioner of Insurance, any marks on your driving record—such as getting a ticket for causing a wreck—can have a negative effect on your insurance premiums. Your premiums are also likely to be negatively impacted if the other driver files a claim against your insurance company.
- A crash that you were involved in, but did not cause. In the event that you are the victim of a crash rather than the cause of one, your insurance premiums should not increase, because the insurance of the at-fault driver should cover your losses.
- A crash with an uninsured driver. While an at-fault driver’s insurance is typically responsible for paying for damages, not all drivers are insured. If you have to file a claim under your own insurance’s uninsured/underinsured or medical payments policy, will your premiums increase? As long as you were not at fault, your rates should not be increased.
Understanding car accident insurance premiums can be complicated, especially in situations where you were partially at fault for the accident. You can use of the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s page on frequently asked questions to learn more about insurance premiums.
How Much Will My Rates Increase?
You are probably wondering how much your rates could increase after a car accident. According to study covered by CBS.com, drivers who file just a single claim with their insurance company may end up paying a rate that is 41 percent more than was their previous premium. Bodily injury claims are the most expensive types of claims for drivers to file.
How a Lawsuit May Prevent Your Insurance Rates From Going Up
To be clear, insurance rates go up when drivers file a claim against an insurance company or/and receive a mark on their driving record. If you are found to be at fault in a crash, then, you can almost guarantee that your insurance premiums will increase.
However, drivers who are found to be at fault by a police officer or by an insurance adjuster are not always found to be at fault in a civil court. In certain circumstances, you may still have a right to file a personal injury claim, even if you were partly at fault in an accident. A civil court makes an independent determination of fault based on the evidence presented. By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover monetary compensation to cover your injuries and other losses in some instances..
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an Atlanta car accident or/and have been blamed for causing an accident, you should consult with a Georgia car accident attorney as soon as possible. The sooner that you call an attorney, the more quickly at attorney can gather and analyze that evidence surrounding your case.
At The Millar Law Firm, our attorneys know how disruptive a car accident can be, and understand the effect that increased insurance premiums can have on your finances. To help you prove the fault of the other driver and recover the compensation that you deserve after a car accident, do not wait to contact us. A consultation with our Atlanta car accident lawyers is always free. You can schedule your free case review by calling our offices directly or by using our online form.