What will happen to my car insurance after a New Mexico car accident?

Adjuster Looking at Insurance Rates With a Magnifying Glass After an AccidentMany people believe their car insurance rates will go up if they even ask their agent a question. While it’s true that if you file a claim for damage that you caused by crashing into a pole or sideswiping your garage door, you could be considered a high-risk driver, and your premium could go up.

However, this is not true with every incident, particularly if the crash was not your fault. We take a look at the kinds of crashes that will not increase your insurance rates and how an Albuquerque car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve from the liable party if you are the victim of a crash that was not your fault.

What Will Increase Your Car Insurance Costs

Insurance rates and rules about penalties and surcharges vary from company to company. It’s important that you understand the terms of your specific policy to determine how you will be penalized for an accident or ticket, but, generally speaking, the following kinds of incidents will incur a surcharge on your premium:

  • Traffic ticket for a moving violation
  • Accident in which you were found to be at fault
  • DUI conviction
  • Administration issues, such as late payments, coverage lapses, and adding a vehicle

The amount of the surcharge will depend on the seriousness of the offense—in other words, the riskier the adjuster thinks you are to insure, the higher the surcharge. Surcharges can be as much as an additional 50 percent or more over your base premium.

You cannot be surcharged in the middle of a policy period, so the increase will occur at renewal time. It will not do you any good to simply not report these incidents because your insurer will find out about them.

When You Don’t Have to Worry About an Increase

If you get into a fender bender that doesn’t involve the police or you back into a pole in a parking lot and fix the damage yourself (or don’t fix it at all) without filing a claim, your rates will not be affected. In addition, you will not be penalized if your car is damaged in one of the following ways:

Depending on your policy, your insurance company should cover repairs related to these incidents after the deductible is paid, and your rates should not increase when you renew the policy. However, when another driver is at fault for the crash, you will be expected to recover damages from their insurance company.

Getting Another Insurance Company to Cover Your Costs

While your insurer might pay for repairs upfront after a crash that was not your fault, they will expect to be reimbursed by the insurer for the at-fault driver. You will have to contact that insurance company, and if their client was ticketed in the incident, you should not have a problem recouping your losses.

However, if you were seriously injured in the crash, the process becomes more complicated. The other driver’s liability coverage should pay for all of your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses, but the insurer will push back on the value of your personal injury claim.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller