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Car Accidents and Your Insurance Rates

July 11, 2016 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence

Minimum Insurance Requirements in New Jersey

New Jersey requires all drivers to carry three types of mandatory insurance – liability insurance, personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage. Police officers investigating an accident have the right to ask you to show proof of insurance. If you are unable to show proof of insurance, you may be subject to fines, community service and even license suspension.

According to the State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance there are minimum coverage requirements to drive legally in New Jersey:

  • Bodily Injury/Death Liability of one person: $15,000
  • Property Damage: $5,000
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury per person: $15,000
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury per accident: $30,000
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: $5,000 (limit)
  • Personal Injury Protection: $15,000 (limit)

Of course, a licensed attorney can and should review your policy to ensure that it meets all of the requirements imposed by the State of New Jersey.

If you did not have proper insurance when the accident occurred, your driving privileges may be suspended for up to three years and you will be required to demonstrate that you will be responsible regarding your insurance in the future in order to have your driving privileges reinstated.

Factors Determining Your Insurance Rate

There are a number of factors that your insurance company considers when determining how an accident will impact your car insurance rates, if at all.

The insurance company will always look at the severity of an accident. Damage from an accident can range from a scratch in the paint to a totaled car. Harm can also extend to property damage and, of course, personal injury or even death.

Obviously, the greater the damage is, the more likely the accident will lead to a rate hike. The determination of who was the at-fault driver – the driver who caused the accident – also plays a huge role in determining if your insurance rate will increase after an accident.

There are certain times, even when you have not been in accident, that your rate will still go up. Examples include:

  • If you're statistically more likely to get into another accident, posing more risk to your insurer. For instance, if you drive to or from work in a high-traffic/accident area.
  • Living in a no-fault state where both insurance companies pay for some of the costs of an accident can also raise your rates.

Your insurance rates can also go up or down depending on your long-term value to the insurance company. Safe drivers are cheaper for car insurance companies to cover. Therefore, if you have a long history of safe driving and you have been with the company for a significant amount of time, you are may see less dramatic hikes in your premium after an accident than someone with a poor driving record or limited history with the insurance company.

If you have found that your driving record has made your insurance coverage expensive, consider the following.

  • Get quotes from as many insurance companies as possible. There are online resources that allow you to look at multiple coverage options offered by different providers.
  • Enroll in a traffic school course which will either earn you safety points on your license or reduce your insurance premiums.
  • Remember to drive more safely in the future and be defensive, rather than aggressive, on the roadways.

Getting Legal Assistance

Remember that the experienced attorneys of the New Jersey personal injury law firm Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, P.A. can help you deal with the aftermath of an auto accident, as well as help you review your policy to ensure proper coverage and fight against big insurance companies in the event they do not pay for claims in a timely manner.

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