If you caused a car accident, there's a good chance your rates will go up at renewal time. EverQuote users reported an national average rate increase of 34% due to an accident. Here are examples of rate increases after an accident.

How Much Does An Accident Raise Your Insurance?

State Monthly premium with clean
record and no
Monthly premium after accident Percent increase
Massachusetts $131 $191 46%
Ohio $101 $144 43%
California $109 $154 41%
North Carolina $112 $158 41%
Texas $121 $166 37%
Colorado $113 $155 37%
Louisiana $147 $200 36%
Georgia $129 $176 36%
Florida $127 $170 34%
Pennsylvania $121 $159 31%
South Carolina $129 $172 33%
New York $149 $187 26%
Source: EverQuote, based on user-reported reported premiums for policies with liability amounts of 100/300/50, collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage. Rates after an accident are based on drivers with one at-fault accident with no injuries. Your own rates will be different.

How long will an accident affect your rates?

Auto insurance companies will review your driving history from the last three to five years for any "major" at-fault accidents. The definition of a "major" accident will vary from state to state, but generally any insurance claim payment over $1,000 could result in a rate hike.

More: Compare car insurance

Can you avoid an insurance increase after an accident?

If you caused an accident, here are some steps you can take try to keep your rate down:

  • Focus on a clean driving record. Even though you caused an accident you should work to improve your driving record. You don't want to rack up multiple accident, tickets or claims.
  • Ask about customer loyalty programs. If you're a long-time customer with a history of safe driving and only a minor accident, your insurance company may be willing to waive the surcharge, depending on the severity and state.
  • Pay the damage out-of-pocket. You could pay out-of-pocket for any damage you cause to your car or to someone else's property. But if you've caused damage to someone else, it's better to let the insurance company handle the claim, so you don't end up with a stranger making all sorts of demand for money.
  • Ask about discounts. Whether you have a clean record or an accident. ask for a review of auto insurance discounts.
  • Take a defensive driving course. Your state may offer approved driving courses that could result in points off your record.
  • Switch auto insurance companies. Prices can vary considerably among companies, no matter what your accident history is. You may be able save money by switching to another company.

More: What you should know about accident forgiveness insurance

The last resort

Depending on the severity or the frequency of the accidents you cause, your insurance company could drop your coverage. If that happens, you might have to turn to:

  • High-risk car insurance: This is for drivers with a record of accidents, claims or other factors that make them "risky."
  • State assigned-risk pool: If you've been denied auto coverage, you can buy coverage from your state's "assigned-risk pool." Auto insurers in the assigned-risk pool must provide insurance no matter the driver's history. Contact your state insurance department if you're unable to find a company that will sell you car insurance.