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Can I Switch Car Insurance After an Accident Where I Was At-Fault?

After people have been involved in an at-fault car accident, they may wonder whether or not it is a benefit to switch car insurance companies right after. Common questions are "Can I switch car insurance after an accident where I was at fault?" and "Should I change car insurance companies after an accident?"

People send in these questions and many other similar questions often, so now it is time to explain the answers and give you the facts about switching car insurance after an at-fault accident.

You Can Switch Car Insurance Companies At Any Time

First of all, you can switch car insurance companies at any time. Even if you have already paid for a portion of your policy in advance, you are free to change companies. It is essential to keep in mind that the old insurance company will be the company that is dealing with the accident, as it was the car insurance company you had when the accident occurred. Your new automobile insurance company will cover you from the time the new policy is purchased forward. In most cases, there is no penalty to switch car insurance companies. In fact, car insurance companies often refund part of your monthly premiums if you have paid in advance.

Is It a Good Time to Switch to a New Car Insurance Company?

Now that you know that you can switch to a different car insurance company, even after an accident where you are at-fault, the likely follow-up question is whether or not switching to a new car insurance company is a good idea in this case. Knowing whether it is the best time to switch insurance providers is a good thing to research, and the answer is right here.

Whether or not it is a good idea to change car insurance companies after an at-fault accident is dependent on a number of variables, one of which is how much your rates are going to increase after the accident. Some automobile insurance providers offer accident forgiveness, and others do not, as one example. If they do not, your rates for car insurance could go up as much as 45 to 80%.

If it looks like your car insurance rates are going to go up that much, it may be a good idea to shop around and get free car insurance quotes from other companies. Each company weighs the many variables used to determine prices differently, and car insurance companies are generally very competitive when looking to get new people purchasing insurance policies. In these cases, it may make sense financially for you to buy car insurance from a new company. While penalties for switching auto insurance providers are rare, you will want to check with your insurance company to get clarification before changing policies.

It May Not Be In Your Best Interest to Switch Insurance Companies After An At-Fault Collision

When it comes to researching car insurance companies to find the best rates, there really is not any time that is a bad time. Automobile insurance providers have a lot of competition with one another, and as people's age, driving record, credit, and other variables change, it has a unique effect on the rates each car insurance company out there offers. Car insurance rates can fluctuate both over time and between companies, and saving money after switching car insurance companies is not to be expected after an at-fault collision. You might save money, and you might not. Compare rates and choose the best car insurance company for your needs at any given point in time.

Avoid Committing Insurance Fraud

After being involved in an at-fault collision, some drivers decide that they're going to switch car insurance companies before the accident appears on their permanent record, which is held by the state's DMV. This is considered misleading your new insurance company deliberately and can be regarded as insurance fraud. Even if it seems that you have successfully purchased the policy from a new insurance provider, it may end up being voided if you need to file a claim in the future. Lying to your car insurance company can be considered fraud and can be a reason for them to avoid/cancel your automobile insurance policy. Trying to switch insurance policies specifically because you do not think they know about an accident is a bad idea.

The Impact On Premiums

The largest benefit of switching car insurance companies is to save money on auto insurance premiums. The formulas insurance providers use to set insurance plan prices can change from one year to the next, meaning that people should revisit which auto insurance providers they use every few years. It is possible that you will be able to get a better rate with another automobile insurance company.

Even if you have an open claim, you can still switch car insurance providers. Keep in mind, however, that your current claim will not switch car insurance companies with you. You will need to deal with multiple auto insurance providers at the same time until the claim is paid out. If the preference is to deal with only one car insurance company at any given point, waiting until your open insurance claim is paid may be ideal.

Keep in mind that shopping for car insurance plans from other companies can be done at any given point in time. That said, people are less likely to save money on car insurance plans if they have recently been in an accident or have been recently convicted of making a traffic violation. Auto insurance providers generally recalculate premium prices at renewal time. If your policy still has another five months on it, you will likely be paying a lower rate for that time. Waiting to switch auto insurance providers until renewal time can be the best decision.

Average annual insurance rates after an accident

Insurance provider No accident Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Allstate $1,888 $3,017 $4,147 $5,276
Farmers $1,525 $2,226 $2,928 $3,629
Liberty Mutual $1,647 $2,358 $3,068 $3,779
Nationwide $1,347 $2,174 $3,000 $3,827
Progressive $1,604 $2,772 $3,941 $5,110
State Farm $1,313 $1,617 $1,922 $2,226
USAA $948 $1,288 $1,629 $1,969

How To Switch Car Insurance Providers

There are many times when a person should consider switching auto insurance providers. Before purchasing a new car, researching prices for that vehicle can be a smart plan. The result can be saving 10% or more on your auto insurance plans. Each time you move, especially if it is to a different state, you should also compare car insurance companies. Adding or removing a driver can mean additional benefits from comparison-shopping for car insurance as well. Each time your auto insurance policy expires, shopping around can also save you money.

Step 1

The first step for saving money on car insurance is to compare prices from multiple companies. Take the insurance quote you will be getting from your current auto insurance provider and compare it to multiple other companies. In addition to comparing prices, also take into consideration the customer service of the companies you are considering, as well as each of the policies you are considering line by line to make sure they are offering the same things.

Step 2

Once you have taken the time to compare car insurance plans, make a decision about which policy is the best for your situation. If you have recently been in an accident, keep in mind that your current rate may be less than the quotes you are receiving for a new policy. If this is the case, it may make sense to continue to pay your current premium price until your policy is about to run out. After selecting a policy, it is time to purchase the policy and get proof of insurance.

Step 3

Make sure that all of the discounts you qualify for are being applied to your policy and determine how to make a payment. Many auto insurance providers give discounts for paying for a policy in full that are pretty significant.

Also, consider whether you can bundle your auto insurance policy with other types of insurance, like life insurance or homeowners insurance. This is another fantastic way to save money on your auto insurance plan. Once you have verified that all of the discounts you qualify for have been applied, make your payment on the policy. Your auto insurance company will send or email you a proof of insurance, and when you have it, you are ready to drive legally.


The main aspects of car insurance that people often compare when choosing a policy are price, service, and reputation. Each company, however, has a predetermined premium increase that is charged if you are at fault in an automobile accident. Knowing how much car insurance policies go up, as well as other variables regarding insurance prices and accidents, is essential.

How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident?

Many professionals say that it is critical to consider surcharges when determining which car insurance plan is best for you. Some insurance companies, like State Farm, charge an 8 ½% surcharge for a person’s first accident. Other companies, like American Family Insurance, can charge up to 15% or more, with younger drivers listed on a household's policy having a larger surcharge.

Each company has a surcharge schedule, which you will want to take a look at. The documents include both percentages and points, and you may have to do your own math to figure out increases for your specific situation. In many states, auto insurance providers are required by law to give you a copy of the surcharge schedule. In other states, you will need to request it.

How Much Money Do You Need To Save To Switch?

Switching car insurance providers are generally very easy to do. You can cancel your auto insurance policy with your current company at any given point, but remember to have an auto insurance plan approved and set up before making the switch. You will need to be able to make your initial payment to the car insurance provider you are switching to, even if you have not received the refund from your current auto insurance company for the insurance that you are not using from their company

Different companies have different requirements for the amounts of money you need to pay for your initial payment on car insurance. Your individual situation can also have an impact on how much a car insurance provider asks for. Make sure to shop around to multiple auto insurance providers using the tools at American Insurance to find not only the best rates but how much you would have to pay for your first payment on a plan.

Final Notes

The overall point is that depending on your unique situation, it may or may not be better to switch car insurance companies after an at-fault accident. Review your particular case, compare prices, and make sure you are honest with your car insurance company. These are all extremely important and will keep you having the best experiences possible with car insurance.

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