Will my car insurance be affected from a single vehicle accident?

Your car insurance company will usually find you at fault for a single-car accident. Your rates may increase by $137.75/mo on average, depending on the damages.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Whenever your car insurance company has to pay money out for a claim, you could expect to see a rate hike
  • Single car accidents happen through a vehicle malfunction or collision with an animal or tree
  • Usually, a minor traffic incident will stay on your driving record for only  a short time

It doesn’t matter if you are in a 10 car pileup or a minor accident, if you make an insurance claim with your insurance provider, you could expect an insurance rate increase.

Many people don’t understand that their accident doesn’t have to be the cause of reckless driving in order to see an increase in auto insurance rates.

If the auto insurance company has to write you a check, you are going to have to pay!

How could a single vehicle accident happen?

There are a lot of reasons for different types of accidents that might occur. Your brakes could go out, you could try to avoid hitting an animal, you could lose control of your vehicle, and more.

Although a single auto accident aren’t as common as multi-car accidents, they are certainly common enough!

Not everyone will have a rate increase if they have a one-car accident.

Liability insurance isn’t designed to protect your vehicle. Liability insurance is coverage for other vehicles that are damaged in an accident that you cause.

It may be important to understand this distinction because only collision insurance provides coverage for damage to your vehicle.

If you hit an animal, a tree, wall, or flip your vehicle, if you don’t have collision coverage, then you will be responsible for the costs.

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Why will my insurance increase if no other vehicles were involved?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that their insurance goes up after an accident because they get a ticket or are at fault in the accident.

The truth is, however, that the insurance company will determine an increase based on what they have to pay out after an accident.

If you are in a single-car accident and you dent your fender, then you don’t even need to make an auto insurance claim. In fact, unless the damages far exceed the amount of your deductible, then you don’t want to make a claim.

If you make a claim, even if the insurance company doesn’t have to pay you any money, you may see an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

The increase should be minor if the insurance company doesn’t have to write a check but expect an increase nonetheless.

When you report you have had an accident, it goes on your record and counts against you in terms of being a safe driver.

Keep that in mind because, in a single-car accident, the insurance company can only assume you are responsible for the accident occurring.

Will I get into trouble if I don’t report a single car accident?

First of all, if you hit a property fence, mailbox, or even a tree in someone’s yard, you need to talk to the owner about making restitution.

If you hit a deer or other animals, you don’t have to call the police and report the accident, even if there are damages to your vehicle.

You should, however, call your insurance company immediately if you are sure that you are going to file a claim.

If you aren’t making a claim and you haven’t harmed anyone else or damaged any personal or city property, then you don’t need to report the incident.

If you strike a road sign, you will be expected to make restitution. The truth is that the police aren’t likely to be breaking down your door in an effort to get money for the damages that you cause to a sign.

However, if you are caught without having reported the incident, then you could be in much deeper trouble than just hitting a sign would cause.

How long will my increase last if I make a claim?

Like with most auto accidents, it takes about three years for an accident claim to no longer affect your insurance premium.

The good news is that the smaller the claim is the less your premiums will be increased.

If you didn’t get a ticket for the accident, then you may want to consider switching car insurance companies.

If an insurance company didn’t have to pay your claim, they are more likely to give you a lower rate sooner than the company that had to pay the price for the accident.


  1. https://www.thebalance.com/will-my-insurance-go-up-527283
  2. https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/liability-coverage.aspx
  3. https://www.libertymutual.com/auto/car-insurance-coverage/collision-insurance
  4. https://www.esurance.com/info/car/the-pros-and-cons-of-high-deductibles
  5. https://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53422
  6. https://www.ehow.com/about/

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