When does car insurance go up?

Car insurance rates increase after traffic violations, car accidents, DUI/DWIs , and lapses in coverage. Car insurance rates increase as driver's risk of filing a claim increases.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 1, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • An accident on your record with make your premiums rise
  • Getting tickets for traffic violations reflects negatively on your status to insurers
  • Your rates will rise for sure if you are convicted of a DUI
  • A lapse in coverage will ensure that you will pay more for your future car insurance coverage

If you are a car insurance consumer, you may be wondering about the answer to the question, “When does car insurance go up?” There are a few situations where you can count on your premiums increasing.

You may be able to qualify for lower rates after one of them, it will take some time before the insurer will classify you as a lower risk again. Count on paying the higher rates for at least three years in any of these instances.

Here are some examples of the times when your car insurance will go up:

  • when your driving record changes because of accidents or moving violations
  • if you are convicted of a DUI or DWI offense
  • when your car insurance coverage has lapsed

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When does car insurance go up?

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If you have been involved in an at-fault accident, you can expect this fact to be reflected in your policy pricing. Some insurers do offer accident forgiveness for a policyholder’s first at-fault accident, but this is not true of all providers.

Being involved in a second at-fault accident within a relatively short time is going to mean paying more for your coverage, whether the company forgave the first one or not.

A car insurance company bases its premium rates on the level of risk that it determines a particular driver presents. The higher the level of risk, the more the company will charge.

Since an insurance company considers past behavior as a way to predict how someone will behave in the future, a person who has several marks on his or her driving record is risky to cover.

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DUI or DWI Conviction

If you have been charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offense, you will be dealing with higher rates for your coverage along with the criminal charges themselves.

Having this notation on your record will put you in a high-risk driver category, and your current insurance company may refuse to continue to cover you when your policy is up for renewal.

Lapsed Coverage

You will be charged higher rates for insurance coverage if your policy has lapsed for any reason. Be careful when you are switching providers; buy the new policy and make sure that it’s in force before you cancel the existing one.

If your insurance policy is canceled by the company, you will be looking at higher rates when you try to buy coverage from a new one.

Before selling you a policy, an insurer is going to pull your driving record and check to make sure that you have no gaps in your coverage.

If you have received a notice that your car insurance coverage will be going up, don’t just pay the higher rate without questioning it. Your insurance provider should explain why you are being charged more for your coverage, especially if the new rate is significantly higher than the previous level.

Each car insurance company uses a proprietary formula for determining the level of risk that a particular customer poses for insurance purposes. For this reason, pricing for the same level and type of coverage can vary greatly between providers.

Taking some time to compare options from several companies can help you save money on your coverage.

Being classified as a high-risk driver means that you may be forced to get your coverage from a company that specializes in providing protection to non-standard drivers. There are certain insurers who specialize in providing coverage to drivers in this niche market.

Pricing will vary, depending on the company, and by taking the time to shop around you can find the best rates for your personal car insurance situation.

The answer to the question, “When does car insurance go up?” is that your rates will change at any time the car insurance company determines that you present a higher level of risk to insure.

Even if you do fall into a riskier category for insurance purposes, you should still shop around to get the best possible pricing.

Spending some time to get quotes from several companies can help you to find out whether the price you are currently paying is fair or if it’s time to move on to a different provider.

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