While it’s always good to be familiar with your local laws, here are some common questions we get about fault and how it might impact your insurance policy.
“If the police say it wasn’t my fault, then obviously my insurance company will agree, right?”
Not exactly. While the outcome often matches the police report, your insurance company has the final at-fault say. They’ll collect all sorts of evidence, including the police report and witness statements, to come to a conclusion. Some states have processes in place to appeal the decision, but, in most scenarios, the insurance company makes the call.
“I saved Bambi’s life and hit a tree instead. Who’s picking up the tab for my new bumper?”
You know the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”? Well, unfortunately, that’s kind of the case here. There’s no doubt the deer is thankful for your quick reflexes, but he won’t be able to pay for the damage. Thankfully, if you have collision coverage, your insurer will help cover the cost. Keep in mind, however, that it’s likely you’ll be found at fault in a collision with a tree (even if you are Bambi’s hero), which could cause your insurance rate to go up.
And if you ever do hit an animal out on the road, your comprehensive coverage will kick in. Comprehensive coverage protects you against things like vandalism, natural disasters, and yes, animal related claims! Typically, with comprehensive claims, if there is an increase in premium, it's not as much as a collision claim.
“I was in a fender bender last week. I'll admit, eating Chinese while driving was a bad idea, and I ended up being at fault. Will my insurance rates skyrocket?"
This is pretty standard when it comes to solo accidents. Whether black ice causes you to slide into a guardrail or a massive downpour puts you on top of your neighbor’s fence, if you’re the only one involved, you’ll typically be found at fault and your insurance will probably be impacted. So protect yourself and your rates by remembering to take your time and drive safely.
It depends. Your rates won’t rise automatically, but your insurer will look at the evidence, as well as your driving record, and assess your payments. If you’ve been accident-free since ‘73 and a longstanding customer, you probably won’t see a crazy jump in price.
If your rates do rise, the best way to bring them back to earth is to turn over a new leaf, put down the chopsticks, and keep your hands at 9 and 3. Safe driving is always rewarded.
“I parked my car on the street in a less-than-awesome neighborhood. The next morning, I was down 2 windows. Am I at fault?”
Great way to start the day, right? The good news is if you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance may help cover the damage. Even though you parked in a sketchy part of town, comprehensive coverage protects you from vandalism. (And if you have homeowners or renters coverage, that will help pay for the items stolen from your car.)