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Will Filing a Claim Cause My Insurance Rates to Go Up?

By Aline Miranda on December 16, 2010

Will filing a claim cause my insurance rates to go up? This is a very common question. The short answer is: It depends on whether the accident was primarily your fault.

With the passage of Proposition 103 on November 8, 1988, California began regulating the rates insurance companies could charge for automobile policies. proposition 103 (Section 1861.01 (a) of the California Insurance Code (CIC)) required that insurance companies reduce their rates by at least 20% for all California auto policies. Another major provision of Proposition 103 requires automobile insurance rates be determined using the following factors in decreasing order of importance — the insured’s driving safety record, number of miles driven annually by the insured, and number of years of driving experience the insured has.

Under Proposition 103, a person qualifies for the “good driver discount” if he meets all of the following criteria –licensed to drive a motor vehicle for the previous three years, has not had more than one violation point during the previous three years, and was not a driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident which resulted in death or in total loss or damage exceeding $500, and was principally at fault. Under Prop 103 states that an insurer cannot refuse to insure an applicant who qualifies for the “good driver discount.”

If you were primarily (meaning 51% or more) at fault for an accident, DMV may assess 1 or more points on your driving record — regardless of whether or not you file a claim under your insurance policy. It is your driving record, not whether you file a claim, which your insurance company uses to determine whether you qualify for the “good driver discount.”

If you have been involved in a car accident and have questions about whether you or the other driver were at fault, feel free to call my office anytime for a free consultation.