Being in a car accident is always a stressful occurrence. It’s bad enough that your vehicle is damaged (and perhaps you’ve suffered an injury), but now you also have to deal with the fallout from your insurance company.
What about if the car accident happens in a parking lot? Will it go on your driving record then? The following information will answer this question in more detail.
What’s In This Guide:
- What Does a No-Fault Accident Mean?
- How to Reduce Your Car Insurance Rates After a No-Fault Accident
- How Can I Purchase Insurance If I Have a Bad Driving Record?
- How Does an At-Fault Accident Affect My Insurance Rate?
It’s important to realize that there are two basic types of car accidents: no-fault and at-fault. In simple terms, a “no-fault accident” could mean that you were not responsible for the damages and injuries that occurred, whereas an “at-fault accident” could mean that you were.
However, there is also a difference between no-fault and at-fault states. For example, in some states you have to prove that you were not at fault for an accident, and then file a claim with the other party’s insurance company in order to get fair compensation. These are known as “at-fault states.” Other states, such as Kentucky, are known as “no-fault states.” In these states, you don’t have to prove who was responsible for the accident, and you receive compensation from your insurance company.
In practical terms, if someone smashes into your car in a parking lot and you live in a no-fault state, then you can submit a claim to your own insurer, and they would have to pay it, even if it was 100% the other person’s fault.
Even if your rates go up after a no-fault accident, there are still steps you can take to reduce your premiums moving forward. Here are some suggestions that may help:
- Explore options from different insurance providers. You may be able to find a less expensive policy from one of your insurance company’s competitors. This is especially true if you have a clean driving record (or at least one that indicates you were not responsible for any previous accidents).
- Eliminate extras that you don’t need. For example, you may decide it’s best to only pay for minimum coverage, at least for the time being. Downgrading your insurance coverage from “comprehensive” to just “liability” may save you quite a bit of money each month. (Of course, you’ll have to be even more careful when driving your vehicle!)
- Increase your deductible. You could also explore ways to increase your plan’s deductible (in other words, the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in). Basically, you’re betting that you won’t get into another accident anytime soon. In most cases, the higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly premium will be.
- Take advantage of discounts. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to look for available discounts on your policy. For instance, if you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, have multiple vehicles insured by the same company, or have been with your insurer for several years, you may qualify for a reduced rate.
- Take a driving class. This may not be your favorite option in the quest to reduce your car insurance rates. But besides giving you flashbacks to your teenage years, a driving course can let your insurance company know that you’re serious about car safety, and you want to improve your driving skills. As a result, your company may offer you a reduced rate when your next renewal period rolls around.
Do Police File a Report In a Parking Lot Accident?
Generally, the police do not do a regular accident report. Rather, they will file an incident report for parking lot automobile accidents.
It can be tough to find affordable car insurance if your driving record is, shall we say, less than perfect. However, even in this situation you still have some options on the table. Consider the following suggestions:
- Look at non-standard insurance providers. Believe it or not, there are some insurance companies out there that specialize in non-standard auto policies – including coverage for high-risk drivers. If you have a poor driving record, you may be able to negotiate a reasonable deal with one of these companies to get the coverage you need.
- Consider companies that file an SR-22 form. An SR-22 is a form that your insurance company must fill out and file with the state to prove that you have car insurance meeting the minimum coverage limits required by law. Most high-risk insurers cover drivers who need an SR-22. (Please note that some mandatory insurance states, such as Kentucky, do not require an SR-22 form in order to drive a vehicle. However, it’s good to know which states do require SR-22 forms for high-risk drivers, especially if you plan to relocate one day.)
- Reduce coverage and look for discounts. As mentioned in the previous section, sometimes it’s best to strip down your coverage to the bare minimum in order to get an affordable policy. Comprehensive and collision coverage can be very useful, but they are also more expensive than basic liability coverage. Also, research any discounts that may be available to you. These may include homeowner discounts, financial stability discounts, good student discounts, and multi-vehicle (“bundled”) discounts.
- Explore your payment plan options. You can also save quite a bit of money depending on which payment plan you choose. Most insurance companies tack on a surcharge to their premium if you pay in installments, instead of all at once. For instance, you’ll end up paying less if you can pay for 3 months upfront instead of just one; and you’ll pay even less than that if you can pay for the entire premium! In addition, paperless and automatic payment plans may come with a small discount, too.
If your insurance rate could go up because of a no-fault accident, then you can be sure it will go up if you were the one primarily responsible for the accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, your car insurance premiums may stay high for 3 years or more. Of course, if you keep a clean driving record in the meantime, your rates should gradually drop back to normal levels.
In summary, whether a car accident happens on the road or in the parking lot, it could have a significant impact on your insurance rates for years to come. Of course, it could also result in serious injuries to you and your loved ones.
Our law firm has helped thousands of injured clients in Kentucky and Tennessee get the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot accident, then reach out to our team of caring, experienced legal experts at Flora Templeton Stuart today for a free consultation.