Do Insurance Rates Go Up After a No-Fault Accident?

Getting into any accident can be stressful, but dealing with insurance rates increasing afterward only adds frustration. If you’ve been in a no-fault crash, you probably have questions about how it could impact your premiums down the road.

Will your insurance company raise your rates even if the collision wasn’t your fault? How much of an increase might you see? Do state laws protect drivers from hikes after not-at-fault accidents?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer. There are many variables at play that determine what happens to auto insurance costs after a no-fault accident. In this blog post, we’ll break down the major factors insurers consider, how state regulations come into play, and provide tips drivers can follow to avoid significant rate increases.

How Fault is Determined in Tennessee

Tennessee is an “at-fault” state when it comes to financial responsibility for an accident. This means the driver who caused the crash, even partially, can be held liable for damages.

To determine fault, insurers and police look at factors like:

  • Which driver was speeding, texting, or otherwise negligent.
  • Who had the right of way at intersections.
  • What motorists could have done to avoid the collision.

They’ll review police reports, speak to witnesses, and examine physical evidence from the scene.

Many times, the at-fault driver will admit they caused the wreck. Other times, the fault is disputed, and your insurer needs to investigate before deciding who should pay.

When Your Rates Go Up After a Not-At-Fault Crash

In our experience, there are a few scenarios where your insurer may raise rates after an accident you didn’t cause:

  • You file a claim under your own policy. Even if you weren’t at fault, using your collision or comprehensive coverage will trigger a rate hike with some insurers. Others don’t penalize not-at-fault claims.
  • You’ve had past claims. Some companies consider your overall claims history, not just the fault for one accident. Multiple claims can signal you’re a higher risk.
  • Your insurer can’t confirm fault. Without clear evidence or admission of fault, they may err on the side of caution and raise your rates.
  • You change insurance companies. Your new insurer may see the not-at-fault claim on your record and count it against you.

However, it’s important to note that Tennessee law provides some protections for drivers who are not at fault. According to Tennessee Code Annotated 56-7-1201(f), insurance providers are generally prohibited from increasing your premiums due to the payment of any claim under your uninsured motorist coverage. This applies in situations when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.

How to Prevent a Premium Increase After a No-Fault Crash

If you want to keep your rates low, here are some tips:

  • Provide evidence you weren’t at-fault. Police reports, witness statements, and the other driver’s admission of fault can prove you weren’t responsible.
  • Use the at-fault driver’s insurance. File a third-party claim so you don’t need to use your own collision coverage.
  • Ask about accident forgiveness. Some insurers won’t raise your rates if it’s your first not-at-fault accident.
  • Improve driving habits. Taking a defensive driving course shows insurers you’re committed to safer driving.
  • Shop around. Compare quotes regularly to find the best rates.

How Long an At-Fault Accident Affects Your Premiums

In Tennessee, insurers can apply surcharges for at-fault accidents for 3 to 5 years typically. Each year you go without another incident, the surcharge decreases.

For example, Geico in Tennessee may raise your rate by 22% after an at-fault crash. But if you have no other accidents, that surcharge drops to 15% the next year, and so on, until it’s eliminated.

The key is maintaining a clean driving record going forward. Easier said than done, but defensive driving courses, dash cams, and improving focus behind the wheel can all help.

Fighting Back Against Unfair Rate Hikes

If your insurer raises your premiums after a crash that wasn’t your fault, don’t take it sitting down. Here are some options:

  • File a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance if you believe you’re being treated unfairly.
  • Provide evidence of non-fault. Supply any documentation that proves you weren’t responsible.
  • Consult with a personal injury attorney. They can review your case and help determine if the rate hike is allowed under state law.
  • Switch insurers. Find a company that offers accident forgiveness or doesn’t unfairly penalize not-at-fault crashes.

Get Legal Guidance on Accident Claims and Insurance

The impact of a no-fault accident on your car insurance rates depends on many variables. Your insurer’s policies, applicable state laws, your driving record, and claim details all play a role.

At Pickford Law, their experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyers can help you pursue maximum compensation if a negligent driver injures you. They assist clients statewide with car, truck, and motorcycle injury claims. If you have questions or need legal guidance after an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to their team.

Visit them online at for a free consultation. They’re there to answer all questions and ensure the best possible outcome.