Can my car insurance rates go up even if I wasn’t to blame for the accident?

Mon Feb 27th, 2017 on     Insurance Law,    

Right now, there is currently a vigorous debate taking place in Tallahassee as to whether the longstanding requirement that all motorists carry personal injury protection — or PIP — should be repealed. Indeed, much of this push for PIP to go stems from the fact that Sunshine State drivers pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the nation.

As if car insurance wasn’t a difficult enough topic already for Floridians given this reality, it’s not likely to get much better following the recent release of a study by the Consumer Federation of America, which found that drivers may end up paying more — sometimes hundreds of dollars more — for accidents that are not their fault.

How was the study structured?

As part of the study, the CFA secured rates for hypothetical driver profiles from five insurance companies located in 10 different metropolitan areas, including Queens, Baltimore, Chicago and Jacksonville.

Specifically, they set out to determine the degree to which the premiums these hypothetical drivers would pay would be affected by their involvement in a minor fender bender that was not their fault.

What did the study find?

Somewhat shockingly, the study found that when the hypothetical driver had a lower income, they were more likely to be penalized by premium increases, while location also played a huge role in these increases.

For example, hypothetical drivers in Queens saw premiums increase as a result of not at-fault collisions by $401 per year, while those in Baltimore saw a $258 increase and those in Chicago saw a $98 increase. Closer to home, a not at-fault accident would cost hypothetical Jacksonville drivers $132 dollars more per year.

What else did the study find?

Interestingly, the CFA found that accident forgiveness varied considerably among the five insurance companies with annual premiums raised by the following average percentages:

  • Progressive – 17 percent
  • Geico – 14 percent
  • Farmers – 11 percent
  • Allstate – 5 percent
  • State Farm – no penalties assessed for not at-fault accidents

What’s the answer?

While two states — California and Oklahoma — prohibit insurers from raising rates in the wake of not at-fault accidents, some experts indicate that this might not necessarily be the best solution. Indeed, they theorize that it could serve to limit competition among car insurers as it relates to service and price to the detriment of consumers.

What are your thoughts on this study?

If you believe your insurance company has unnecessarily delayed payment in connection with a car accident claim or otherwise underpaid your claim, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your options.

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