For most car drivers who have been in car accidents in California, the practice of insurance companies increasing auto insurance rates even when they were not at fault for the accident may seem bizarre, if not outrageous. “It does not make any sense!” you may think.
And while you are completely right, and this practice does seem quite outrageous at first sight, your insurer may not actually be violating any laws depending on the circumstances of your case and the area where the accident occurred. In fact, as our experienced San Diego car accident attorney at Hiden, Rott & Oertle , LLP, explains, there is actually some logic behind this practice.
Why do insurance companies increase premiums?
Let’s imagine that you were injured in a car accident and everyone involved in the crash, including the other driver, his/her insurance company, and even your own insurer, agrees that the other party was clearly at fault for causing the crash. But soon after you receive the much-deserved personal injury settlement, you get a letter from your insurance company saying that your auto insurance premium rates are going up.
At first, I imagine your train of thought to be something along the lines of, “Are you serious right now? I was not at fault for the car crash, and now you are raising my insurance premiums?” Breathe. Relax. Let us explain.
As you may or may not know, almost all car insurance companies in San Diego and elsewhere in California consider a range of factors when it comes to determining how much you are required to pay for your auto insurance. These factors include:
- The area where you operate the vehicle
- How often you drive
- The model and condition of your vehicle
- The types of coverage you chose for your policy
- Your age and health
- Your car accident history
Is it illegal in California to raise insurance rates after a not-at-fault accident?
When it comes to deciding whether or not to raise your insurance rates after a not-at-fault accident, the lawfulness of that decision depends on where the accident occurred. While a large number of states do NOT prohibit the practice of insurance companies raising premiums for those who were not at fault for car crashes, California laws actually consider it illegal for insurers to engage in this practice.
Our experienced car accident attorney in San Diego explains that California state laws prohibit insurers from increasing insurance rates for auto drivers who did not cause a motor vehicle crash. However, even if you were partially at fault for the collision, you may expect your insurance rates to go up after your case has been settled.
Does this practice make any sense?
But hold on a second. Wouldn’t it be fair if the person who was at fault for the accident was the only one whose auto insurance rates climbed after the crash? Yes and no.
The rationale behind the practice of insurers increasing premiums for those who were not at fault for car accidents in other states is that those who get into one accident, regardless of whether they caused the crash or not, are more likely to get into a second accident, and then another accident after that. As a rule of thumb, policyholders who get into more collisions than others end up costing the insurance companies more money, which is why insurers choose to increase insurance rates for a larger group of their policyholders.
Have your insurance rates go up after a car accident you were not even partially at fault for? Get a free consultation from our San Diego car accident attorneys right now. Contact Hiden, Rott & Oertle , LLP, by calling at 619-630-0205.