Updated: Mar 7
If you have ever been in a car accident, you probably are wondering how long that accident stays on your record? The short answer is 3-5 years in the state of Florida, but there are so many other contributing factors that determine how that works. Our accident attorneys are here to answer all of your questions relating to this situation, keep reading to learn more on the subject.
When you are looking to switch insurance companies, accidents are something you want to be mindful of. The amount of accidents you have, as you’ve probably already noticed, can make your insurance costs high. In fact, it's estimated that your rates will go up by an average of 49% after an accident. That's where the question of how long does an accident stay on record for, comes to play. So lets answer all of the burning questions you may have relating to the topic.
Does an accident stay on your record forever?
The answer is simple, no your accident record is not permanent. The length of time in which an accident is on your record, is dependent on what your states rules are. For Florida residents, that time is about anywhere from 3-5 years. This means that after that period of time, the accident is no longer on your record. Although, there is a caveat to that rule, if the accident is a more severe situation, such as a DUI, property damage above a certain limit, or someone died in the accident, the length as to how long it is on your record varies.
What does a car accident mean for my insurance rates?
Even if you have only been in an accident once and it's passed the 3-5 year mark, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your insurance rates will go down again. The insurance companies can look at your driving history and determine your rates based on that. In some states, there is a limit as to how far back insurance companies can look to determine your premiums. That is why even once the accident is off your official record it is still an issue.
What if the accident was not my fault?
If you were not at fault, there is a chance it may not count against you, each state has different sets of rules for this. In no-fault states like Florida, insurance companies are not permitted to raise your premium based on fault. However, they may still consider factors such as your driving record and claims history when determining your rates.
It's important to note that while Florida is a no-fault state, there are still circumstances where a driver can be held liable for damages in an accident. For example, if the accident resulted in serious injuries or the cost of damages exceeds the limits of your insurance policy.
How can I lower my insurance rates after an accident?
Lowering your insurance rates after an accident can be extremely difficult, but it is possible. The key factor here, is being willing and open to doing the research into what you can do. The options available to you are different depending on the state and company you are with.
Some options to try to lower your insurance rates:
Look into a Bundling Policy
when you are speaking to you insurance provider you may want to see if they offer bundling options. This basically means that you can pair your home an auto insurance in one place and possibly save money.
Defensive Driver Courses
Check if your insurance provider offers defensive driver discounts. Many states provide defensive driving classes that can be taken in person or online. Completing these courses and providing proof of completion to your insurance provider may qualify you for a discount on your rates. The duration of the discount varies depending on your state and provider, but it can remain valid for up to three years.
Try a New Insurance Company
You have the freedom to switch insurance providers at any time, and there is no penalty for getting quotes from different companies. Shopping around and comparing rates from various providers can help you find a policy that better fits your budget and coverage needs.
There are always other options to try to lower your rates but it is best to look and see what your own insurance company offers, as well as in your state in general.
What about Accident Forgiveness Programs?
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness programs. What that means is regardless of fault, the accident will not be reflected in your premium.
So how do I know what my insurance company will do?
There is no real way to determine exactly how your insurance company will react to the accident. That is why it is crucial to review and understand your policy to see what it entails. As we stated numerous times, the rules vary based on what state you are in, when it comes to issues like this.
If you have gone through all these stages and are struggling with an accident or insurance claim, you may want to call a personal injury attorney. Consider calling the team at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm at 866-954-MORE (6673). they will help you navigate any accident you have been involved in.