One of the most frequent questions I receive from new clients is, “how will this accident affect my insurance premium?” If the accident was not the client’s fault, then the answer is simple: it will not affect that client’s insurance premium.
Insurance premiums and accidents
Why do people believe that using their insurance to help cover an accident will cause their premiums to rise? The exact reason for this belief is unclear; perhaps the insurance company has scared its customers about using their own coverage. Or, perhaps people have heard that others had their insurance premiums increased after a collision (even though the increase may have been unrelated to the collision). This belief has restrained many people from making a claim even when they are not at fault. As an attorney, I try to dispel this common fear as soon as I meet clients to reassure them the accident, which was not their fault, will not affect their insurance rates. I also remind clients that they have paid for this coverage over the years and it does not make sense to pay for the coverage, whether it be medical expense payments or uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage, and then not use it when it is available.
Virginia law and insurance premiums
Clients should be assured that the law is on their side. Part A of Virginia Code § 38.2-1905 states that “no insurer may increase its insured’s premium or may charge points under a safe driver insurance plan to its insured as a result of a motor vehicle accident unless the accident was caused either wholly or partially by the named insured.” The statute also provides that if an insurance company raises an insured’s rate because of an accident, the insurance company must give the insured person written notification and also explain in that notification that they may appeal that decision to the Bureau of Insurance.
Accident victims should be assured that Virginia law prohibits automobile insurance companies from punishing their policyholders and/or raising premiums when the collision was not their fault. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, call Allen & Allen for a free consultation at 1-866-388-1307.
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