I've been in a car accident. How does that affect my car insurance rates?
If you have been in a car accident in Texas, you may have questions about how it will affect your car insurance.
After an accident, "you may need to file what is called SR-22 insurance […]. Texas being a tort state means that regardless, the accident will be investigated and those at fault are responsible." In Texas, an SR-22 is a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate that certifies" an individual has the minimum liability insurance as required by law."
If your driving privileges have been "suspended or revoked as the result of a car crash, conviction or judgment," you are required by law to file an SR-22 with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Contact your local insurance provider if you need to obtain an SR-22.
If you are a "high-risk" driver, you still have options for getting insured. The term "high risk" means you have a less than perfect driving record. If you have been in an accident that was your fault, have traffic tickets or DUI's, the state of Texas views you as a "high-risk" driver.
If you have been refused insurance by at least two standard insurers because you’re "high-risk", you may be able to get a policy through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association, also known as TAIPA. This coverage is more costly than normal insurance and the coverage is limited.
In order to qualify for TAIPA insurance, you must "possess a valid driver license or request an SR-22 to obtain a valid license," "be a resident of Texas or have a vehicle registered in Texas" and certify that you have been "rejected for insurance by two companies within the last 60 days."
If you have been in an accident, it doesn't always mean your insurance premiums will go up but it typically means your insurance company will review the case. If you are found to be at fault, your rate will probably go up but if the accident was not your fault, a raise in your rate is not likely.
However, "if you have a Safe Driving discount, you may find out after the accident that the discount will no longer be applied when you renew your insurance.” So, in a way, you might have to pay a higher premium.
Whether you’ve been in an accident or not, make sure you understand what is expected of you when it comes to insuring your car in Texas.