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How Long Does an At-Fault Collision Stay on Your Record?

An at-fault collision will stay on your driving record for years. The specific length of time, however, varies between states and situations.

In California, for example, the DMV will keep information about serious incidents on your record for 10 years. If you get a DUI in California, then you may be paying higher insurance prices for 10 years. If you were involved in a serious at-fault collision, then you might expect that incident to stay on your record for a similar length of time.

However, most minor accidents in California will only stay on your driving record for three years.

Overall, most states keep a traffic violation – like a minor at-fault collision – on your record for about 3 to 5 years.

If you were involved in a more serious at-fault accident that caused significant damage or bodily injuries, however, then you can expect to pay higher insurance prices for a longer period of time – especially if you were convicted of DUI. In Florida, for example, alcohol-related violations stay on your record for 75 years.

After an accident disappears from your state DMV’s record (say, after 3 to 5 years), it will no longer affect insurance rates. Your insurance premiums will also steadily decline after each year of clean driving.

How Much Will Insurance Rates Rise After an At-Fault Collision?

An at-fault collision will almost always raise your insurance rates.

Some insurance companies will sharply raise your base premium immediately after a collision. Other insurance companies will forgive a single accident, but you might still pay higher rates when you lose your good driving discount and similar bonuses.

You already knew your insurance was going up after your at-fault collision. But how much will it increase?

Typically, if you’re a clean driver and this is your first at-fault collision, you can expect insurance rates to increase from 10% to 40%.

In some cases, however, your insurance rates will hardly budge – especially if it was a minor accident and your insurance company has accident forgiveness.

How Long Do I Have To Get Insurance on My New Car?

Some Grace Periods Only Last a Few Days or a Few Hours

Some car insurance companies will automatically extend policy coverage to a new vehicle. However, this coverage is extremely limited: it will only last 2 to 4 days, for example, and it only covers the drive from your car dealership to your home.

With this grace period, you’re permitted to drive the car off the lot and head directly home. At home, you’re expected to call your car insurance company immediately.

This type of grace period is helpful if you’re buying a car on weekends. Your ordinary insurance agent may not be available on weekends. You can drive your new car home, then wait until ordinary office hours to upgrade your policy to your new vehicle.

That’s why it’s so important to call your car insurance company before purchasing a new vehicle. 

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