Insurance companies base NH car insurance premiums on many factors, but a driver’s claims history is among the top issues considered. As a result, your policy’s premiums may increase when you file a claim. Here’s when your rates are most likely to go up after a claim -- and what you can do if your rates increase.
Does Making a Claim Make My New Hampshire Car Insurance Increase?
Generally speaking, your car insurance premium is likely to increase if you are found at-fault in a car accident. How much the premiums go up depends on multiple factors including the extent of damage and/or injury caused and how much is ultimately paid out by the insurance company.
That said, even if your insurance company pays out the maximum of coverage limits, there is a ceiling that dictates the maximum possible increase for a single claim. Your rates will likely increase though, because you’ve caused an accident and are now considered a higher risk.
Whatever the increase is, it’ll probably remain on your policy for 3 to 5 years. If you cause another accident during this time, your rates will rise even more.
Can an Insurance Company Cancel My NH Car Insurance Policy if I File too Many Claims?
Like most things in insurance, yes and no. An NH insurance company selling car insurance may non-renew your existing policy and re-write it in a different program; however, the company must typically offer coverage of some sort.
Can My Premium Increase If I am Not-at-Fault in a Car Accident?
Your premium could increase if you file a claim, even if not found at-fault. The reason is because insurance premiums are essentially based on probability and statistics and insurance actuaries use large amounts of claim data in an attempt to predict the likelihood of a future claim. Even though you might not be responsible for the claim, you were in a position where it happened and thus could happen again.
If an insurance company can justify a rate increase with the NH Insurance Department from an actuarial basis, it will be allowed.
What About Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness is a feature often advertised in insurance ads that protects your car insurance premium from increasing due to an at-fault accident. Though this sounds great, there are limitations such as:
- Not every insurance company offers accident forgiveness
- Not every driver qualifies for accident forgiveness
- It is not always free
Like anything you buy, you need to consider the cost of this protection with the benefit of not having your rate increase after a claim. You also need to keep in mind that even though your rate may not increase with this feature, the incident remains on your driving record and would be used as a rating factor should you decide to switch car insurance companies.
Should I Not Submit an Auto Insurance Claim?
While a potential rate increase might seem like a reason not to report an accident, you should still report all accidents to your insurance company as soon as possible.
This is critical because most policies have time frames during which incidents must be reported. If you don’t notify your insurer of an incident, coverage may be denied.
It is also suggested that you don't offer to pay for a claim out of your own pocket to avoid filing a claim with your company. This could open Pandora's Box. For example, say you "tap" the car in front of you in stop-and-go traffic, which results in a small dent in the car in front of you. You apologize and offer to pay for the damage and write the person a check. A few days later you get a letter from the person you hit, saying that they took their car to the shop and the whole bumper needs to be replaced and their neck hurts ...
You admitted fault, but the insurance company, who pays for your legal defense, did not have the opportunity to investigate the claim and resulting damage, potentially causing a coverage issue.
The full extent of people’s injuries or vehicles’ damages isn’t typically known at the time of an accident, and you’ll want to make sure you’re still protected if medical or repair costs arise later. This can be done by filing the claim with your insurance company in a timely manner.
Compare Policies with an Independent New Hampshire Agent
HPM Insurance is an independent insurance agency, which means we represent many insurance companies, not just one or a few. As independent agents, our team can get quotes from multiple insurance companies on your behalf so you can see which company will give you the most reasonable premiums even after a claim. If switching insurers is financially advantageous, we can help you do that.