You’ve recently been in a car accident and now are considering aspects other than injuries and repairs—will my accident be forgiven? How long will the accident stay on my driving record? How will my car insurance be affected?
On How Severe The Accident Is
The accident’s severity also plays an integral role in how long you will struggle with an accident on your driving and insurance record. A more severe accident stays on the record for a longer span of time, while a less severe incident may not cause your rates to upsurge, even though you were at fault.
Typically, most accidents remain on your driving record for 3-5 years in Florida but could remain for an exceptional period, such as 10 to 15 years or for life, if the accident resulted in severe injuries, death, or extensive property damage or if other factors were at play—such as driving under the influence, speeding, or other unlawful infraction that led to the accident.
If Your Car Insurance Company Offers Auto Accident Forgiveness
If your car insurance company does not offer accident forgiveness or you have already used this benefit within a specified period, your car insurance rates could be affected by your accident; especially when other factors are considered that could affect how your car insurance company rates you as a “safe driver.”
If your car insurance company offers accident forgiveness, and you have not used this benefit yet, then your rates are likely to be unaffected; particularly if the severity of injuries were minor and no alcohol was involved. However, this policy benefit may have limitations based on the amount of damage accrued during the incident or length of time you have held your policy.
Also, if you shop for a car insurance quote elsewhere, the accident is still on your driving record and can affect the quoted rate you are given by another carrier.
If You Were Determined To Be At Fault
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so each party in an accident first goes to their own car insurance provider to make a claim for coverage. This is why drivers are required to carry a minimum of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their own potential medical expenses immediately after an accident. Injuries and damages beyond your own coverage can then be filed against the other party’s insurance through a liability or personal injury lawsuit.
So, your insurance premium isn’t likely to increase solely because you were determined to be the at-fault driver per an accident investigation, unless you were substantially at fault (e.g., drinking and driving, speeding, negligence, etc.). These actions can categorize you as a risky driver and increase your risk for future claims, so your insurance rate could go up based on this revised judgement of your driving record.
If Alcohol Was A Factor
In Florida, car accidents that result of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substance that can impair your vision or response time will remain on your driving record for much longer than a regular fender bender. These types of accidents will remain on your driving record for 75 years and further increase your perceived risk as a driver and can cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket.
There is no way to officially remove a car accident from your driving record. There is, however, a way to lighten the blow against your rates: take a safe driver or a defensive driving course. Though, this excludes criminal moving violations such as a DUI.
By taking a driver education course, your car insurance company may reduce the hike in your rate, although the infraction will still show on your driving record if you get a quote from other car insurance carriers.