In Ohio, Can an Auto Insurance Claim Raise the Premium if You Are Not at Fault?

auto insurance claim

If you were involved in a car accident, even one where you were not at fault, you may be concerned that an auto insurance claim could cause an increase in your car insurance premium.

Even though Ohio has laws that prohibit insurance companies from raising rates after an accident that was not your fault, insurance companies will exploit legal loopholes to raise insurance rates after a policyholder was involved in a car crash.

Ohio Law Prohibits Increase in Insurance Rates for Drivers Who Were Not at Fault

Ohio Revised Code §3937.22 and §3937.23 prohibit insurance companies from raising insurance premiums after a single not-at-fault accident during a single policy period.

Under R.C. §3937.23:

No insurer shall increase the cost of a private passenger automobile insurance policy based on the insured's involvement in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, when both of the following apply:

(A) The insured's action is not a proximate cause of any loss, damage, injury, or death arising out of the accident;

(B) The insured has not been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or pleaded no contest to, a violation of law as a result of the accident.

Under R.C. §3937.22:

No insurer shall increase the cost of a private passenger automobile insurance policy based on the insured's involvement in a single motor vehicle accident during the policy period when both of the following apply:

(A) The insured's action is not a proximate cause of any loss, damage, injury, or death arising out of the accident;

(B) The insured has not been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or pleaded no contest to, a violation of law as a result of the accident.

Despite these laws, many car insurance companies still find ways to increase your rates after an accident that was not your fault, even though they are prohibited from doing so. This may deter policyholders from filing an auto insurance claim at all, but are these rate raises even justified?

Increasing Rates for Auto Insurance Claims for Drivers Who Were Not at Fault

According to a study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, many car insurance companies find ways to charge drivers higher rates after an accident that was not their fault.

Across the country, car insurance rates go up by approximately 50% after an accident. So how do insurance companies justify this practice, even when there are laws in place that prohibit it?

First, insurance companies use complex and obscure formulas to determine insurance rates.

Second, each state has its own definition of what constitutes fault for causing a car accident. Many times, these definitions differ from how the insurance company defines whether a driver was at fault.

Third, insurance companies can increase premiums by claiming that their insured was not “not at fault.” In many cases, it is not clear who was the at-fault driver. When this occurs, auto insurance carriers are free to blame their own customer for causing the accident and use this as a justification to raise the customer’s insurance rates after an auto insurance claim has been filed.

Finally, insurance companies may increase insurance premiums when the policy period is over, or if the driver has been involved in more than one accident during a single policy period that was not their fault.

Insurance Companies Are in the Business of Evaluating Risk

Car insurance, just like other forms of insurance, is all about how an insurance company evaluates risk. When evaluating whether a driver is an insurance risk, a car insurance company will consider the likelihood that you will be involved in an accident in the future.

When assessing risk, insurance companies evaluate a driver’s claims history. This includes at-fault accidents, not-at-fault accidents, as well as comprehensive claims for accidents that were caused by events that were not under your control such as theft, vandalism, fire, chipped glass, striking an animal, and acts of nature.

In the eyes of the insurance company any accident, regardless of who caused it, increases the risk that you will submit a claim.

Accidents in which you were not the at-fault driver and accidents caused by events beyond your control are not likely to raise your insurance rates as much as an accident that you caused. However, because any insurance claim suggests a higher risk of a future claim, insurance companies still consider these events when calculating your premium.

Robenalt Law: Fighting for People Injured in Auto Accidents

If you believe your insurance company is increasing your insurance rates because of an accident that was not your fault, ask your insurance agent or insurance company about the practice. Tell them that it is unlawful and that you believe it is unfair.

If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you should hire an experienced car accident injury attorney as quickly as possible.

With an experienced car accident injury attorney on your side, you have someone fighting for you who understands the system and how it works. You have someone who will protect your rights, focus on getting you the compensation you deserve, and fight back if the insurance company tries to take advantage of you.

Learn more about Robenalt Law and how we fight for justice for people who were hurt in car accidents. Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, then contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing insurance companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of people who were hurt in car accidents.

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