How Much Will Your Car Insurance Jump After Only One Claim?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Car insurance is one of the most frustrating products in the marketplace. Policies are typically confusing, shopping around for competitive rates is time consuming, and the payout process can be borderline criminal. Making matters worse, if you actually use your insurance policy to file a claim, your rate will likely skyrocket.

Insured drivers making a single claim should prepare for sticker shock on premiums. According to a new report from insuranceQuotes.com, the average American driver pays 41% more for car insurance after just one claim. That is up three percentage points from last year. Bodily injury and property damage (including collision) claims are the most expensive at 45% and 41%, respectively. Comprehensive claims (for non-collision events such as theft) are the cheapest at 2%. Drivers making a second claim can expect to pay almost double for car insurance compared to claim-free drivers.

Location plays a large role in premium hikes. Massachusetts is the most expensive state, where filing one claim leads to an average premium hike of 76%, compared to 67% last year. California and New Jersey are close behind with average hikes of 75% and 62%, respectively. The lowest post-claim increases are seen in Maryland (22%), followed by Michigan (23%) and Montana (25%).

The biggest lesson here is to avoid making small claims if possible. “Many consumers underestimate the consequences of making claims because they can affect your rate for years,” said Laura Adams, a senior analyst at insuranceQuotes.com, in a press release. “If you get a premium hike for making a small claim, that could hurt your finances over the long run.”

Homeowners filing an insurance claim also experience significant price hikes. On average, filing just one claim on your home insurance policy results in a 9% increase to your annual premium, according to a separate report by InsuranceQuotes.com. That’s higher than the 8% increase seen in 2013. In fact, premiums in 37 states and Washington, D.C. increase by an average of 10% or more after a single claim. The largest hikes are seen in Wyoming, Connecticut, and Arizona.

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