Will my car insurance company raise my rates after an accident that I wasn’t at-fault for?
This is a common question we get from our clients. They are concerned that their car insurance rates will go up even though they were not at-fault in their accident. Some are even concerned that their insurance will cancel them. Luckily, section 626.9541 of the Florida Statues offers some protection from these situations from happening. Under this law, insurance companies cannot raise rates or drop a policyholder without a valid reason. If an insurance company is found to have committed an unfair or deceptive act, they could be fined up to $10,000 per act. In general, if an accident was not your fault, the majority or the time rates should not raise.
So How Exactly Am I Protected?
Under this law you are protected in a number of ways.
- Your PIP coverage (Personal Injury Protection), medical payments or collision coverage are all considered “first party” coverages and your insurance premium cannot be raised and you cannot be dropped for using these coverages. The only exception is if the insurance company has undeniable information that the policyholder was considerably at-fault.
- No matter if you were at-fault or not, your insurance company cannot drop you (unless you have three or more accidents in the last three years, no matter the at-fault party).
- The cost for your Uninsured Motorist coverage cannot increase because you had a crash.
- Unless you have a ticket for speeding over 15mph over the speed limit or the ticket is your second one in 18 months or third in 36 months, the insurance company cannot increase your premium or drop you.
An important part of all of this is to know that if you ask the insurance company why your rates were raised, or you were dropped, they have to tell you why and provide proof for their reasoning. So if the insurance company does raise your premium or drop you, you can get your coverage and/or money back by showing one or more of the following:
- Your car was lawfully parked when hit.
- You were hit by a hit-and-run driver and reported the accident to the authorities within 24 hours.
- You were rear-ended by another car and were never convicted of a moving traffic violation, but the other driver was.
- The at-fault party reimbursed you.
- You beat any other ticket surrounding the accident issued to you.
Now, insurance companies raise rates for completely different reasons, for reasons which may be outside the scope of your accident. So, fair warning.