How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on Your Insurance Record in Missouri?

Car accidents can be both stressful and costly and could have long-term effects on your driving record. Like many other states, the length of time a car accident stays on your record can vary significantly. It’s important to consider these factors when navigating your insurance policy’s intricacies. Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics of how long a car accident stays on your record, the effect it can have on your premiums, and some strategies for managing your insurance policy after an accident.

Understanding Insurance Records

It’s important to understand how an insurance record is used before diving more into the specifics of Missouri’s rules and regulations. Your insurance record will likely include information about your driving history, such as accidents, traffic violations, and any claims filed. This information is used by insurance companies to assess risk and determine premiums for policyholders.

Factors Influencing Insurance Records

There are quite a few factors that influence how long a car accident stays on your insurance record in Missouri, such as 

  • State Regulations: Each state has laws and regulations regarding insurance practices, including how long accidents remain on your record. In Missouri, these regulations determine the timeframe insurers can consider accidents for underwriting purposes.
  • Severity of the Accident: Insurance companies may decide the difference between minor fender-benders and more serious accidents when looking at their impact on your record. The severity of the accident can influence how long it stays on your insurance record and the extent to which it affects your premiums.
  • Fault Determination: Missouri follows a comparative fault system, meaning fault is allocated between parties involved in an accident based on their degree of negligence. If you’re found partially at fault for an accident, it may still appear on your insurance record, however, it might not have as big an impact as if you were completely at-fault.
  • Insurance Company Policies: While state regulations provide guidelines, individual insurance companies may have their own policies that decide how long accidents remain on records and how they impact premiums. It’s important to review your insurer’s policies and discuss any concerns or questions with them directly.

How Long Do Accidents Stay on Insurance Records in Missouri?

On average, car accidents usually stay on your record for three to five years. However, the exact duration depends on the severity of the accident and your individual policy. Some more minor accidents could have a shorter duration on your record, while more severe accidents could remain on your record for the full five-year period.

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Impact on Insurance Premiums

A car accident could impact your insurance premiums in a few different ways. Let’s check this out in more detail below:

  • Premium Increases: Insurance companies may raise your premiums if you’re involved in an accident, especially if you’re found at fault. The increase in premiums is typically a reflection of the increased risk you pose to the insurer based on your driving history.
  • Loss of Discounts: Some insurers offer discounts for drivers with clean records. If you’re involved in an accident, you may lose these discounts, further contributing to an increase in premiums.
  • Difficulty Finding Coverage: In some cases, drivers with a history of accidents may find it more challenging to obtain affordable insurance coverage. Insurers may view them as higher-risk individuals and either offer coverage at higher rates or deny coverage altogether.

Managing Your Insurance After an Accident

Although having an accident on your insurance record can impact your premiums significantly, there are a few steps you can take to manage your insurance coverage:

  • Shop Around: If your premiums increase after an accident, it might be worthwhile to shop around for other insurance providers. Depending on the insurer, you might be able to receive a lower rate.
  • Take Defensive Driving Courses: Depending on the insurance company, some offer discounts to drivers who take defensive driving courses. These courses could show the insurance company that you are a safe driver, and could result in more affordable rates. 
  • Maintain a Clean Driving Record: Although an accident could stay on your record for a few years, it is as important as ever to maintain a clean driving record to help minimize impact. Pay attention to traffic laws and drive defensively to prevent any additional accidents. 
  • Consider Accident Forgiveness Programs: Depending on the insurance company, you might be able to enroll in accident forgiveness programs, allowing policyholders to have an accident forgiven without negatively affecting your premiums. 
  • Increase Deductibles: One popular way to reduce the change of increasing insurance premiums after an accident is to opt for a higher deductible on your policy. This might give you the opportunity to lower your monthly premiums, however, it is important to consider the potential savings against the increased financial responsibility if you were to be involved in an accident. 
  • Review Coverage Limits: Be sure to thoroughly review your coverage limits after an accident. Although it could be tempting to reduce your coverage to save on premiums, this could make it more difficult to negotiate future accident claims. 
  • Document Everything: After an accident, the most important thing to do is document everything, such as photos, video, contact information from the parties involved and any witnesses, and copies of policy reports. This is critical when filing your claim and could help make the process go a lot smoother.
  • Consider Legal Assistance: Are you facing challenges with your insurance company? Do you believe you’re being treated unfairly? Consider seeking legal counsel. An attorney can help you navigate the legalities of your insurance claim, and advocate on your behalf.
  • Monitor Your Driving Record: Check your driving record every once in a while to make sure that it reflects your driving history. Errors or inaccuracies could result in higher insurance premiums or problems getting covered.
  • Communicate with Your Insurer: Be sure to have an open line of communication with your insurance company, especially after an accident. Keep them up to date on any changes or developments related to your claim. This creates a positive relationship with your insurance company and improves your chances of having your needs addressed.

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Get In Touch With Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers Today!

Now that you know how long a car accident stays on your record in Missouri and the steps to take to minimize an accident’s impact on your record, you might want to seek legal counsel. Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers is here to help you throughout your insurance claim and can act as an advocate for you every step of the way. Call us at  (888) 550-4026 or contact us here for a free consultation!