How long do accidents stay on your record?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: JANUARY 10, 2023 | 2 MIN READ

Have you ever wondered how long an accident stays on your driving record? Will it affect your insurance rates in the future? The severity of the accident and even if it’s not your fault, some factors can affect your insurance policy in the future.

How long does an accident stay on your driving record?

An accident will stay on your driving record for several years. How many will depend on your state and the accident’s severity? An accident where alcohol is involved will remain on your driving record for many years longer than a minor accident. If it’s a minor accident, the length that an accident stays on your driving record is usually three to five years.

What if the accident wasn’t your fault?

Your automobile insurance rates can increase depending on your state, insurance company, and any prior accidents within the last few years. It won’t matter if you aren’t at fault for the accident.

No-fault states

Twelve states are “no-fault” states. In these states, you must carry your personal injury protection auto insurance. The minimum amount varies by state. Your insurance company will still pay for your medical coverage up to your policy limits, even if the accident isn’t your fault.

Some states prohibit auto insurance companies from raising your rates if you aren’t at fault.

Accident forgiveness

Many auto insurance companies have different views about accidents. Your insurance company may have an accident forgiveness clause for your first auto insurance claim. Accident forgiveness usually means they will not increase your insurance premium on the first accident. You will need to discuss with the auto insurance agent the requirements.

State DMV points system.

Several states use the points system through the Department of Motor Vehicles records. The points system is based on your driving record; your insurance could increase if you receive too many points. Your policy could be non-renewed or canceled. You may also have your driver’s license suspended.

How Does a Car Accident Affect Your Insurance Rates?

When you’re in an auto accident and are at fault, your rates can increase considerably with certain auto insurance companies or states.

When you are issued a traffic violation by the responding police officer, such as a speeding ticket, DUI, or another moving violation, in an accident, that’s usually considered an at-fault accident.

If there is significant property damage or medical injuries, your insurance rates can increase quite a bit.

A small surcharge could still be added to your auto insurance costs if you weren’t at fault for the accident.

Do accidents affect your insurance rates if they weren’t your fault?

In certain states, accidents can affect your auto insurance premium even if you were not at fault. However, the surcharge would be considerably less than if the accident was your fault.

It’s best to compare insurance providers to determine the different regulations regarding surcharges that may affect your finances regarding their auto insurance policies.

How To Deal With Car Insurance Rates Increases After an Accident

After claiming an auto accident on your auto insurance policy, you receive a rate increase. This increase is due to being considered high risk; you can do a few things to reduce the rate increase.

Some recommended actions include reducing your coverage amounts, raising the deductible, checking your discounts, and working on increasing your credit score.

Changing your coverage

All states have a minimum liability coverage amount. You can lower your auto insurance policy limits to these minimums for the time needed to clean up your driving history. You can also raise your deductible to reduce auto insurance costs.

Are you receiving all the discounts available?

Discounts on your auto insurance policy can reduce the insurance rates. Many discounts include bundling your homeowners and auto insurance policies with the same company. There are good student discounts and safe driver discounts if you use the auto insurance company’s monitoring device. These devices plug into your vehicle and record your driving patterns.

How is your credit score?

In most states, your credit score is a consideration when purchasing auto insurance. If you have poor credit, your auto insurance premium will likely be higher than someone with a good credit score.

FAQs

How long do accidents stay on your record in Colorado?

In Colorado, accidents stay on your driving record for three years. Depending on the severity of the charge, tickets can remain on your record for an average of seven years.

How long do accidents stay on your record in Arizona?

In Arizona, accidents stay on your driving record for three years. Depending on the severity of the charge, tickets can remain on your record for an average of five years.

How long do accidents stay on your record in NJ?

In New Jersey, accidents stay on your driving record for three years. Tickets can remain on your record indefinitely. New Jersey is also a “no-fault” state.

How long does a wreck stay on your record in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, accidents stay on your driving record for three years. Tickets can remain on your record indefinitely.

How long does an accident stay on your driving record in Texas?

In Texas, accidents stay on your driving record for three years. Depending on the severity of the charge, tickets remain on your record for an average of three years.

Note: All of the above states have driver points-based systems

Finding Car Insurance After an Accident

It’s a good idea to shop for car insurance after an accident causes your insurance rates to increase. Auto insurance companies and different states have different requirements and additional fees of auto insurance companies and how they vary.

The states sometimes have different auto insurance requirements and the same length of time that accidents and tickets will remain on your driving record. Educate yourself on the points system if points will affect your driver’s license or auto insurance rates.

Review your coverages, deductibles, and discounts when shopping online for auto insurance. Fill out our online rate form to get the best rates from the top carriers in your area.