How Long Does an Accident or Violation Impact My NH Car Insurance?

Written by April Weismann on 06/27/2024 05:24 PM in Car Insurance,. save money.

It is not a secret that moving violations and accidents impact what is paid for NH car insurance, but how much and for how long? Though insurance companies can have various guidelines, here are some basic facts to accident 72

How Long Does an Accident Remain on My Record and Impact My Car Insurance Rate?

The time an accident stays on your insurance record depends on your New Hampshire insurance carrier's policies and practices. Most insurance companies go back three to five years, while a few go back as much as six years. 

Thus, you can usually expect an accident to increase your premiums for 3 to 6 years. The increase will likely be reflected when your policy is renewed. 

If you have a six-month policy term, you will see the impact of the premium increase faster than if you have an annual policy. In the same vein, the accident will also fall off faster.

Example: Say you have a policy effective January 1, 2024. On February 1, 2024, you have an at-fault accident. If you have an annual policy, your premium will increase as of January 1st, 2025.  If you have a six-month policy, your premium will increase on July 1, 2024. As the incident falls off your record upon renewal, the impact may still be the same because though the annual policy reflects the incident later, it also falls off your record later. 

Major vs. minor car accidents

How much impact an accident has on your premiums also depends partly on the accident's severity.

A minor accident may cause a slight jump in premiums for however long the carrier looks at the claim history. A loss under a specific limit in paid expenses often determines this. Unfortunately, as cars get more expensive, even a minor fender bender that used to cost a couple of hundred dollars can now quickly add up to thousands of dollars, increasing the chances of being considered a major accident.

To Avoid Having an Accident on Your Driving Record- Should You Consider Paying for the Damages Yourself?

The easy answer is No! Given the cost of vehicle repairs today, you could be in for much more than expected between unseen damage, rental expenses, and potential injury. If you decide to pay independently without filing a claim, you have essentially admitted guilt and prevented your insurance company from defending you. This is why every policy requires you to notify your carrier "as soon as possible" if there is a loss. 

There is also the chance that even if you don't file a claim, the accident can still appear on your driving record if the police file a report. That is a lose-lose situation!

For more information on this topic, visit Does My NH Car Insurance Go Up If I Make a Claim?

How Do Moving Violations Impact My NH Car Insurance Rate?

Like accidents, insurance companies follow different guidelines on how long they factor in moving violations. That said, if the carrier looks back five years for claims history, they will likely look back five years for moving violations.

Be aware that some moving violations impact premiums more than others. Like accidents, there are minor moving violations (such as taking an illegal u-turn, speeding less than 25 mph above the speed limit, or rolling through a stop sign) and major moving violations (such as DUI, speeding more than 25 mph over the speed limit, reckless driving, etc.)

Parking tickets usually have no impact on your insurance rates. Parking illegally isn’t recommended, but insurers generally don’t consider it a factor when assessing accident risk.

Do Not-at-Fault Accidents Factor into what I pay for NH Car Insurance?

"Back in the day," say fifteen years ago, before predictive analytics, agents could say that not-at-fault accidents do not increase premiums; however, that may not still be the case.  

The rating factors and variables companies use are proprietary, so we can no longer say with 100% confidence that a not-at-fault accident will not impact your rate (mainly if multiple not-at-fault accidents occur within a few years.) That said, an at-fault accident would undoubtedly impact your premium more than a not-at-fault accident.

The same holds for comprehensive losses (windshield damage, fire, vandalism, etc.)

What you can do

If you’re in a car accident, there are several ways you might mitigate any increase in premiums. Some tips are to:

  • Drive Safely: Drive safely to reduce the risk of future accidents and to hopefully avoid having another go on your insurance record within 3 or 5 years.

  • Accident Forgiveness: Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, which may prevent one accident from increasing your rates. Although accident forgiveness isn't always offered, HPM Insurance does have a few carriers that do offer this benefit. This must be obtained before an accident happens, and it is often a small fee.

  • Volunteer to have a carrier's telematics in your car—but drive carefully! Telematics is a great way to qualify for a reduced premium, as you allow the insurance company to review your driving history in real time. Speak with your agent for more information on reducing your premium.

Speak with an independent agent

Contact an independent insurance agent. An independent agent can compare quotes from multiple insurers to see which company will give you the most affordable coverage even after being in an accident. Contact us at HPM Insurance to speak with an independent car insurance agent in New Hampshire.

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