A question often asked is whether a person’s auto insurance premiums will go up if they file a claim for an accident that was NOT their fault. This is a common dilemma for Arizona drivers, and it even influences many people to avoid reporting their accident to the car insurance company altogether.
In Arizona, the answer is NO. Insurance companies can raise your rates when you ARE at fault for an accident based on the assertion that the accident you caused demonstrates your risk as a driver. Insurance companies, however, cannot make the same assertion if the auto collision was NOT your fault. Insurance companies are prohibited by law from increasing your rates if you did not cause or significantly contribute to the accident.
Arizona Law Protects Car Insurance Premiums
The law states “No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured.” If an insurance company increases your rates as a result of an accident, the law requires the insurance company to notify you of the reason for the increase.
See the complete statute below.
A.R.S. Section 20-263 – Vehicle insurance; prohibited act by insurer; hearing; penalty
- No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured. Any insurer which increases the premium as a result of accident involvement shall notify the insured of the reason for such increase.
- The director, after a hearing, shall order an insurer that has raised the premium of an insured in violation of subsection A to refund the amount attributable to such premium increase and shall impose a civil penalty not to exceed three hundred dollars. In determining whether an insurer has violated subsection A, the director may conduct such investigation as he deems necessary and the costs shall be paid by the insurer pursuant to section 20-159.
Factors that Contribute to Car Insurance Premium Increases
While Arizona prohibits car insurance companies from increasing rates for an accident that was not your fault, many other factors can influence a rate increase; some of which are entirely out of your control. These include:
- The Number of Uninsured Drivers in Your Area: When uninsured motorists claim payments go up, insurance companies offset the difference by raising the rates for insured drivers.
- Local Weather Conditions: Your insurance premiums are likely to increase if you move to an area known for its extreme weather conditions like wildfires, tornados or hurricanes.
- Rising Repair and Medical Costs: Insurance companies will increase rates parallel with the increase in costs for medical treatment and property repair.
- Credit Score Change: A noticeable drop in your credit score will almost always result in a spike in your insurance rates.
As long as you own a car in Arizona, you will have to deal with insurance companies and even more so when you’re involved in a car accident. In such instances, it is essential that you have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side who can protect your rights every step of the way.
The Tucson car accident attorneys at Karnas Law Firm have over 50 years of experience successfully guiding personal injury victims through the claims process. Car insurance companies will often implement tactics to unnecessarily lengthen the financial recovery process and offer a subpar settlement at the end of it all. We can engage in negotiation with the insurance company to ensure that you are accurately compensated for all accident-related damages. Contact us today at (520) 571-9700 for a free case evaluation.