How Long Does a Car Accident Stay On Your Insurance Record?

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Lauren Lewthwaite 27-09-2021

How Long Do Accidents Stay On Insurance?

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If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are your premiums went up. It might be a significant increase, depending on a few different factors, which can be frustrating and expensive. Luckily, it’s likely not permanent. We’ll answer the frequent question, “how long do accidents stay on insurance?” below while also helping you save money right away on car insurance premiums. 

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Understanding Your Driving Record

Every driver has an MVR — a motor vehicle record. This is a detailed history of your driving and includes any accidents, driving violations, and more. The good news is, records on your  MVR don’t last forever. They’ll eventually disappear after a certain length of time, depending on where you live and how serious the violation was. For example, a DUI will typically last on your record longer than a speeding ticket. 

The average length a violation or accident will stay on your record is three years, but that can vary greatly by state. Even if a state keeps a lifetime record of your driving, insurance companies only look at the past few years to determine your insurance rates. 

How Long Does a Car Accident Stay On Your Insurance Record?

If you’ve ever wondered, “how long does a car accident affect insurance?”, you’re not alone. You’ve probably noticed an increase in your insurance premiums after the accident and are ready to go back to paying the lower rate. While there’s nothing you can do to accelerate the process, driving carefully will help accidents disappear from your record as early as possible. 

You can expect a car accident to stay on your insurance record for at least three years, but it could be longer. If you’ve had a series of accidents in a row, these will be on your insurance record for even longer. Your best bet after an accident is to do your best to avoid another accident or any driving violations for six years. This will give your insurance record a chance to reset and allow your insurance premiums to stabilize. 

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The True Cost of Accidents

Many factors go into determining your insurance premiums, such as:

  • Your location
  • Your age
  • Your vehicle make and model
  • Your credit history
  • And more

Your driving history is just one component of the algorithm that calculates your insurance premiums. While you can expect your insurance premiums to go up after an accident (either right away or after your policy term ends), you’re not necessarily stuck with that rate. The increase could be as much as 30-50% on top of what you’re already paying, but it’ll vary significantly by state, insurance provider, and the severity of the accident. 

Paying an additional 30-50% for three or more years on car insurance can sound pretty grim. Luckily, you have options. If your insurance provider raises your car insurance, get a competitive quote from multiple providers. This will help save you money immediately, because insurance companies are in direct competition with each other. 

You can also work on the other factors that determine your insurance premiums, such as improving your credit history, driving a safer vehicle, and taking precautionary steps to secure your vehicle such as storing it in a garage or installing anti-theft devices. 

These can all help to lower your car insurance premiums as you also drive safely and carefully to avoid any more accidents or driving violations that would raise your premiums even more.

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So, How Long Do Accidents Stay On Insurance?

Again, it will really depend on a variety of factors. How serious the accident was (whether anyone was injured, whether there was vehicle or property damage) will be the most significant determiner of how long the accident will stay on your insurance. The good news is, eventually they will disappear from your record and you’ll be able to reduce your car insurance premiums if you continue with good driving habits.

Lauren LewthwaiteLauren Lewthwaite has been freelance writing for almost five years writing content that ranges from health to insurance and everything in between. Lauren is also a trained translator in French and English and is a dog-mom to an adorable Australian Shepherd.