Marissa Hayes

Insurance Writer & Expert

Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

Insurance Writer & Expert

Daniel Walker

Licensed Insurance Agent

Daniel Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has run his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for over 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an insurance agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, life, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. To ensure our content is accura...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2024

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The Short of It

  • In 2011, about 13.8 percent of drivers in the United States lacked car insurance.
  • A car accident may cause your car insurance rates to increase.
  • The best way to resolve an injury claim is by not committing the fatal error of a rushed agreement.
  • To get the most money from a car accident, enroll in full coverage.

Can I get cheap insurance with accidents on my record? Cheap car insurance with accidents on your record will be difficult to come by. Car accident insurance is generally more expensive than the standard auto insurance policy.

You may not be able to send a cheap demand letter, but you can receive discounts that will give you cheap insurance after accidents. Read through our car accident insurance guide to learn about buying insurance after an accident from the cheapest car insurance companies.

Find the best insurance after an accident by entering your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool above. For more information about car accident insurance, continue reading.

Car Accidents Without Insurance

In 2011, 13.8 percent of U.S. drivers had no car insurance.

This is a considerable risk to take because even if you don’t get involved in an insurance claim, getting caught without the minimum mandated coverage will lead to penalties for driving without insurance, like stiff fines.

Watch this video to learn more about car accidents without insurance.

It is essential to know what happens after a car accident if you do not have insurance. If it was not your fault, you could go after the party at fault, but it should be a warning to you that you should buy the insurance immediately and legitimize your presence on the road.

If you’re hit by someone who also doesn’t have car insurance, and it’s not your fault, you have the option of suing that person, but you’ll have to spend money on legal and court fees.

Keep in mind, there are around 20 states that are planning to ban “pain and suffering” lawsuits by non-insured drivers.

A car accident, no insurance case is always a tricky situation.

There are “he said-she said” cases where a lack of witnesses makes it difficult to lay blame on the other party. Having no insurance immediately puts you on the defense for breaking the law on minimum insurance coverage. It puts a question mark on your credibility.

If the other party can prove that you’re at fault, that person can sue you and go after your assets, including your paycheck, savings, or even your home if the damages or injuries are extensive. You will have problems buying insurance, as you may be tagged as a high-risk client and required to join a risk pool with expensive insurance rates.

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Getting Affordable Car Insurance With Accidents

Risks on the roads have immensely improved in the past decades with better road conditions, technology, and awareness. However, car accidents and the number of fatalities are still considerable, with over 35,000 deaths and more than 3.8 million people injured from road accidents in 2013 alone. (For more information, read our “Auto Insurance Companies That Assist Customers With Accidents“).

This certainly justifies the law requiring car insurance for every vehicle. Unfortunately, one of the effects of a car accident is having to face a review by car insurance companies and the possibility of a premium increase.

An increase in your premium is not automatic, but auto insurance claims usually lead to a review.

Car insurance companies will assess the circumstances of the accident and determine fault.

If you’re not at fault, the increase is unlikely. Also, if you have a good history of safe driving, your insurance provider may consider it a one-off and not raise your premium. But if you’ve had multiple accidents, you may be considered a high-risk driver. (For more information, read our “Auto Insurance Companies That Accept Drivers With Multiple Accidents“).

Let’s compare the cost of auto insurance between a clean driving record, driving violations, and accidents.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Driving Record
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with a Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 Speeding ViolationAverage Annual Rates with 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUI
Liberty Mutual$3,344$3,633$3,922$6,427
State Farm$1,996$2,199$2,402$2,199
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A clean driving record can save you the most on auto insurance, while DUI convictions increase your rates the most.

If you have a Safe Driving discount, you may find out after the accident that the discount will no longer be applied when you renew your insurance. If that’s the case, you will have to pay a higher premium.

One of the other effects on car insurance after an accident is the length of time of the increased rate. The history of the car accident will follow you on your driving record for at least a year.

If the car accident is severe, the effects will last much longer and gradually decrease, provided you do not get involved in other road violations or accidents. The average length of time that the increased rate is imposed is about three years for serious car accidents.

Read more:

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What to do after a car accident that’s not your fault?

No-fault car insurance claims, which are the same as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance claims, are passing on the responsibility for personal injury damages to the other party.

Thus, if you’re in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, ask the other party for details on their PIP insurance coverage and demand that they settle with you using this insurance coverage.

No-fault insurance can be bought in states that have no-fault laws. This means if you’re from Florida, which is one of the states with the no-fault laws, you have to buy minimum PIP insurance coverage. (For more information, read our “Are no-fault states better for auto insurance?“).

If you do not get PIP coverage, you will be charged with high fees and could risk losing your privilege to drive in that state until you can show proof of coverage.

PIP insurance is not liability, so if you don’t also have liability insurance, you will have to buy it. The problem you’ll be facing is that having been caught driving without insurance, you’re now a higher risk to insurance companies and will be charged a higher rate.

What happens if you are at fault in a car accident?

If you are at fault and you don’t have car insurance, you have very few options available. If the damage is minimal, you could just offer to pay for the damages on the spot and hope the other party accepts and drives away.

Unfortunately, most responsible drivers would like to have the damage assessed first before agreeing to anything, and this means going through the insurance protocol.

Aside from paying for the damages, you may also be held accountable for towing, personal injuries, loss of income, and paying for an alternate mode of transportation while the car is being repaired. You may even have to face a lawsuit for emotional distress.

If the insurance company is involved, a police report will be required, and your violation of not buying liability auto insurance will appear on your driving record.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, every state has a unique minimum requirement for auto insurance.

In short, you may have a ton of bills to pay and a high insurance rate that may extend up to three years for a serious accident. Not having insurance means that the other party or their insurance company will have to file a court case to get you to pay for damages.

Once you receive this kind of demand letter or court order, get a lawyer to help you present your case and fight for your rights. You’ll still have to pay the fines for not having insurance, but you may be able to reduce the other expenses.

On the other hand, if you feel that the other party had some fault in the accident, you can contest the charges and expenses.

Car Accident Insurance Claim Settlement

Settlements for car accidents are tedious at best, which is why it’s very important to consider the settlement procedures of insurance companies before you buy insurance from them. Settlements can involve personal injury, liability, or both. In all cases, the settlement is based on fault. For instance:

  • If no one was injured and the other party caused the accident, you can ask that party to pay for damages.
  • If you were injured through no fault of yours and you do not have personal injury insurance, you can file a lawsuit against that person and get them to pay the expenses for medical treatment.
  • If there are damages and the accident was your fault, you have to settle with the other party, whether it is through your insurance company or personal assets.

Thus, you can only file for a PIP settlement against your insurance provider if you’re at fault. If you’re not at fault, you have to prove damages because there can be no settlement if there are no damages.

There are no standard guidelines for all insurance companies in all states, so you have to expect slight differences depending on your location. However, you should ask your insurance company for their guidelines and try to follow their direction as much as possible to avoid delays.

Car Accident Insurance Claims Process

In case of a lengthy delay, you may seek help from a lawyer to mediate with the insurance company about the delay in processing the settlement.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, policyholders should also take pictures as part of the claims process.

There are cases when the court has found insurance companies deliberately slowing the process unfairly, and this has cost them in fines and penalties. That being said, the delay in the settlement would depend on the nature and severity of the car accident.

In a nutshell, the process is:

  • File your claim
  • Submit documents to support your claim
  • Wait for the adjuster to process the claim and submit a report
  • Get your copy of the report and settlement
  • Accept or reject the settlement
  • Bring your case to a lawyer if you need help
  • Go through the court system and wait for the decision

First, find out who is in charge of insurance settlements at your insurance company. Get the designation and correct spelling of the person’s name.

Second, compile all attachments you think are relevant. Make sure you only submit copies of the original documents.

Third, write your letter. You can get sample letters online. Include all the important data relating to the accident and the current status of your claim.

Be sure to include your insurance policy number, complete name, contact details, and other pertinent information. Include the expenses you’ve incurred thus far, the details of damages and/or injuries sustained, and the amount you need to fully recover from the accident.

Fourth, make copies of the letter and have your copy received by the insurance company either through hand delivery or registered mail.

Finally, follow up on your letter and confirm that the letter has been opened and read. An auto adjuster or claims adjuster is the person assigned by the insurance company to assess the validity of the claim. They are tasked with investigating and determining if the insurance company should pay an insurance claim.

Here’s a video from Allstate that explains its claims process. Keep in mind the process can vary slightly by insurance company.

Part of the adjuster’s job is reviewing the police report and talking to witnesses and all parties involved in the accident.

There is nothing to prepare if you submitted all the documents when you filed your claim. Just be honest and avoid embellishing when describing the incident. However, you should consider the following before you are interviewed:

  • The insurance company pays the adjuster, so that person works for their best interests.
  • If you have injuries, present an updated medical report on your status.
  • Do not answer blanket questions like “How are you?” with a generic reply like “Fine.” It may be used by the adjuster to mean that you are back to normal and fully recovered.
  • The adjuster may offer you an on-the-spot settlement. Avoid making an impulsive decision and request more time to think about it. If you’re uneasy, consult a lawyer.

If there’s a dispute, find out the reason for it. There may be documentation or administrative problems that can be fixed. Request any decisions from the insurance company be put in writing so you can study them.

Read on to have more car accident insurance questions answered. Or, if you’re ready to buy car accident insurance, enter your ZIP code to locate car accident insurance companies in your area.

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What should I do if I get into an auto accident?

What do I do if I need to make a car accident insurance claim? First of all, whether you think you’re at fault or not, never drive away. Make sure you and any passenger(s) in your car are not injured. Request that the other driver do the same. Try to calmly confront the other party with caution.

If you feel like you might be in a dangerous situation, call 911. If there is no imminent danger, you’ll need to discuss who is at fault, and exchange contact information and insurance provider details. You should also check the driver’s license of the other party to confirm his or her identity and take down the license number.

If there’s a dispute regarding fault, ask for the police to mediate using 911.

You will need the police report if you plan on filing a claim with your insurance company.

Try taking photos of the accident and gather as much evidence as possible that would prove you’re not at fault. Seek medical clearance as soon as possible and contact your insurance company.

If you drive, you should have the state minimum car accident insurance coverage. This will protect you, but you may have to pay out-of-pocket if the damages exceed your insurance coverage limits. As far as how much coverage you should buy and the type of insurance coverage you need in case of a car accident, you can go as high as you want and pay the price. The types of insurance you’ll need to protect you after an accident are PIP and liability.

Personal injury is insurance that will pay for injuries you sustained in an accident. Liability has a 2-pronged coverage: bodily injury and property damage.

If the other party is insured, it should be a simple case of exchanging details, contact numbers, and a general agreement of what happened. If there’s a disagreement on the accident details, you’ll need a third party to negotiate.

On the scene, the third party would be the police. After the accident, you can rely on the insurance companies to assess the situation and come up with their own conclusions. If you’re not happy with their results, you can contact an attorney who handles these kinds of cases.

Whether you’re at fault or the other party is responsible, it’s important to establish facts. Take photos and document the scene. You should also exchange information like telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and names, and try to get a police report.

The person at fault should admit their error and sign a piece of paper (if there are no police around) stating that they admit their fault and are willing to cover the damages.

There are several ways insurance companies can reach an amicable agreement:

  • The settlement can be reduced or increased
  • Through legal means
  • Through a shared settlement

If there are witnesses, ask them for their version of the accident. If you’re certain you are not at fault and the other driver is not under the influence (and they do not appear to be dangerous), you should seek ways to establish fault.

You can ask that the car of the other party be checked for malfunction or look for a CCTV system that may have caught the accident on video.

After the interview with the adjuster, you’ll have to wait for their official report. Once this is out, you can decide to accept or reject their findings.

You may negotiate with the adjuster if you feel the payout is insufficient. The worst-case scenario would be to reject the report and seek legal help. Personal injuries caused by the negligence of another person means that the other person pays for treatment and loss of wages, among other potential damages.

Your insurance is not affected because you are a victim. In insurance, it’s the one who is negligent who is accountable.

Once negligence has been assigned to the other party, get their contact details and driver’s license number, confirm their identity, and request the police report before filing your claim. Your insurance company may compensate you and pursue the case for you with the insurance company of the other party to get reimbursed.

The best way to resolve your injury claim is by not committing the fatal error of a rushed agreement. These errors are:

  • Agreeing to the offer even though you know it’s not fair just to “get it over and done with”
  • Agreeing to the offer of the insurance company without doing some research on your rights and their obligations
  • Not seeking expert opinions, especially if you’re inexperienced with injury claims

You can approach the insurance company to appeal, or you can hire an attorney to provide you with legal representation in your car accident insurance settlement. If you decide to appeal on your own, get a copy of the settlement report and all necessary documents.

Do research on what a fair settlement is, look for inconsistencies in the report, and present them to the insurance company. You can also seek assistance from an independent appraiser, request a mediator, or propose arbitration.

What is the Insurance Process after an Auto Accident?

What is the car accident insurance claim process? After or as you are recovering from your car accident, you can file an insurance claim to help you with the expenses. All claims should lead to the approval and payment of a car accident settlement. You have to expect that the insurance company, through a claims adjuster, will investigate the following:

  • The seriousness of the accident and the people affected
  • The nature of the accident
  • The extent of the claim vis-à-vis your policy and the insurance company’s policies
  • Your social media accounts to see if you have posted anything about the accident

You will have to provide the police report, contact details of the other party, photos of your car, and medical records or damage reports.

The insurance company will then go through the process of indemnification, which is a payment that will cover damages and anything else covered by the insurance policy. If you’re not at fault, the insurance company will seek subrogation (payment or compensation) from the insurance company of the other party.

If you are found to be at fault, the accident and the settlement amount will have a direct effect on the increased rate, if any. Sometimes, the two insurance companies will agree to split the cost if both parties are responsible.

Making the Process Easier

Car accidents are traumatic, and filing auto insurance claims can be a lengthy and painful process. The more information you can give to your insurance company, the easier things are likely to go for you.

Make sure you provide the following with your claim:

  • Details of your insurance policy
  • Accident details: date, time, location, and a brief description
  • Name of other party and his insurance company
  • Police, auto repair pricing, and medical reports

Naturally, it’s important to be as objective as possible, because the more colorful your story is, the more reason the insurance company has for doubting your version of what happened.

If you’re having a tough time with your current insurance company, use our FREE comparison tool to find cheap car insurance in your area.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Car Accident Insurance

Let’s wrap up the guide by answering a few frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the internet. If you need car accident insurance quotes right now, enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool below to find affordable car accident insurance.

#1 – How bad does an accident affect your insurance?

An accident can increase rates. However, accident forgiveness can keep your rates from going up. Ask your car insurance company how you can be eligible for accident forgiveness.

#2 – What happens when you get in a wreck with insurance?

If you get into a wreck, the not-at-fault driver can file a claim with the other party’s insurance company. The at-fault driver will have to file a collision claim to receive coverage for property damage.

#3 – How much is pain and suffering for a car accident?

That depends on the policy limits of the responsible party. Each state has different minimum limits, so familiarize yourself with your state’s minimum requirements for car insurance.

#4 – What happens when you have a car accident and it’s your fault?

At-fault accidents often involve a moving violation ticket, an insurance claim, and sometimes a trip to the hospital. When you’re at fault, you’re the responsible party. Therefore, your insurance coverage should cover the cost of damage to the not-at-fault party. Expect your rates to increase.

#5 – How do I get the most money from a car accident?

To get the most money from a car accident, enroll in full coverage. With collision added to your policy, you can receive compensation for property damage even if you’re at fault. Think about getting uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, PIP, and Medical Payments added to your policy to ensure you’re protected.

#6 – What is a good settlement offer?

A good settlement offer pays for the cost of the vehicle and all of your medical and personal injury expenses.

#7 – How does car insurance work when you are not at fault?

When you’re not at fault, the other party is responsible for damages. You can file a claim with your insurance company or the other party’s insurance. Your rates can still go up, though.

#8 – Someone hit my car. Whose insurance do I call?

You can call your insurance company or theirs. If you call your insurance company, your insurer will cover the damages and receive a reimbursement from the other party’s insurance.