According to the Car Insurance Guidebook, if you have an at-fault accident and file a large claim, you should expect your insurance rates to go up about 10 percent when it's time to renew your policy. This is per-claim, so if you have more at-fault accidents with large claims, expect an even larger increase. Some other factors can affect increases, so consider the following five questions and discuss them with your Atlanta-area insurance agent when shopping for coverage.
- Will premiums go up after filing small claims? Some companies do not raise your rates for small claims around a few hundred dollars. Ask your agent for details on the insurance company's policy on forgiving small fender benders and low-cost accident claims.
- Will rates go up for filing comprehensive claims, such as for chipped windshields or damage caused by a downed tree limb? Normally, your rates should not go up for a comprehensive claim, but make sure to discuss this detail with your agent because each policy can be different.
- Will rates go up for filing at-fault accident claims and for getting traffic tickets? This is where you should expect to see rate jumps of around 10 percent for each incident. It's a good idea to get as many specific details on your insurance company's policy as possible before you have to file a claim.
- Will rates go up for filing large claims if the other driver is at fault? As a general rule, your rates should not go up if the other driver is at fault because the at-fault driver's insurance has to pay. In some circumstances, though, your rates can go up even if you're not at fault, so make sure to ask your agent about this possible scenario.
- Will rates go up for gross negligence, such as driving under the influence of alcohol? If you are involved in an accident while under the influence of alcohol or during any act of gross negligence, expect it to end up costing you more than your current premiums. Your company can cancel your insurance policy for gross negligence, leaving you to find expensive at-risk insurance. The cost of your current plan will probably not go up, but your overall insurance cost will most likely skyrocket. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is against the law, so you should never do it.
Ideally, you should ask for details about a company's policy on increasing insurance rates when choosing an insurance agent, but it's never too late to discuss the details with your own Atlanta insurance agent.