When your insurance company claims your car is a total loss after an accident, it not only means that you will need a new car, but it can also affect how much you pay for your insurance. The applicability of the increase depends on factors such as your previous complaint history and whether you were found to be at fault. Each insurance company uses its own criteria to determine the rate increase, and these criteria can vary greatly between companies.
In general, your insurance company will determine your car as a total loss if the cost associated with repairing the vehicle is greater when replacing it. You will be compensated based on what the company determines is the actual cash value of the vehicle, which is its current market value at the time of the accident minus depreciation. Each insurance company has its own method of determining value.
Did you make a mistake?
An important factor in determining whether your premiums will rise is whether you were found to be at fault in the accident. If you’re not at fault, your state’s law could prevent your insurance company from increasing fees or limiting increases. As a general rule, you can expect an accident due to an error that will affect your premiums more than a one you crashed while sitting at a stop sign.
Severity and frequency
The total loss almost always means that the damage to your car is huge and your insurance company needs to pay thousands of dollars to you. Some auto insurers consider the extent of the damage when determining whether to increase your rate, so the total loss can increase your chances of increasing. If this isn’t your first accident, the company may start treating you as someone at poor risk and consider canceling your coverage if your state’s law allows it. Cancellations can mean you need to get high-risk, much higher-cost coverage.
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Many auto insurance companies would forgive an accident due to the first error regardless of how much that was paid. Forgiveness means that the company will not charge a surcharge after an initial accident provided you have been covered with the company for a period of time. You may be charged for any subsequent accident and the company will still consider the severity of the accident that has been forgiven for assessing you as a risk, meaning it is more likely to cancel your contract if you continue to have an accident.