If I am rear ended, does my insurance go up?
An auto accident with or without any responsibility on the driver’s end is always a very unpleasant situation considering all its side-effects. This includes dealing with Insurance. Figuring out the insurance side of an accident can be a drag if you hired the wrong insurance company or brokerage agency. Here are a few scenarios that can result in getting rear-ended and the difference that determines which driver is the responsible one for the accident:
Accidents involving a single car
Accidents can happen any time for a multitude of causes. Someone driving his well insured car in a heavy downpour or over a patch of black ice may have much less control than regular days and hit something (a tree, another car on the parking lot etc.) to get the car rear-ended.
In this case, although the situation was not 100% under the control of the driver, the accident would still be his fault as he might have avoided this with even finer driving qualities or just by not driving under those conditions, so as to say. That is how the insurance companies would most likely look into the matter anyway, when the claim is filed to pay for the auto damages. Translate it as: a sure increase of premium rates.
States with ‘No-fault’ laws
In many states (such as Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan etc.) No-fault laws hold good. This means simply that the fault of the accident doesn’t need to be completely attributed to only one of the parties involved in the accident. As for example, an accident between Drivers A and B where Driver A rear-ends Driver B’s car, the accident can be 80% Driver A’s fault and 20% Driver B’s. Thus the insurance company will always find Driver B as an At-Fault party in the accident and presumably will increase the rates on grounds of increased risk factors.
If the ‘victim’ driver caused the accident in some way (example: bumping with another car while driving backwards, so that his car gets rear ended) or if the non-victim driver does not have insurance coverage to pay up the money required for repairing the damages, then the victim driver is considered to be At Fault. This only means that the victim driver’s insurance company identified him as a reason to pay money from the policy instead of being able to subrogate it from the other’s insurance company. This poses a greater risk of losing money for the insurer than the victim driver was assessed earlier. This is significant reason for them to increase the premium rates on the policy.
Being prone to accidents
Being considered as ‘At Fault’ or not, in either cases, if a driver’s records show up a trend of accidents every now and then, the insurance rates will obviously go up with every new entry. This is an output of continuous risk assessment by the insurer and every new entry just makes the driver a bigger risk to the insurer than the earlier. Hence even if the latest entry was that of an accident where his car got rear ended without any of his fault, the rates would almost surely be hiked again.
No One Is At Fault
This is the last but not the least important scenario for drivers getting rear-ended. If any of the above 4 scenarios is not applicable for a driver who got rear ended in the accident and the claim amount for the damages and recovery etc. is quite higher than the policy’s deductible amount, then the insurer is most likely to pay up the money without pushing the rates up. Although, this will surely be noted and the victim driver’s records will be monitored carefully afterwards, in order to find out any plausible trends or tricks.
So, in a nutshell, the victim driver, who sustained damage in the accident to the rear end of his car, is generally not held liable for being rear-ended in an accident. In most jurisdictions, the fault in a rear-end accident is assigned to the “second” driver.
Though, there are instances of occasional exceptions to these general guidelines, as described above. Similarly, some incidents other than the direct cause of the accident (fault) like a speeding ticket or other traffic violation tickets issued to the victim driver while his car got rear ended by someone else’s car may result in increased rate of insurance premium again.