Will my Insurance Rates Increase if I Make a Claim After a car Accident?
Sept. 2, 2021
Insurance policies are contracts--a promise between the insurance company and their insured (the person who has the policy) that in exchange for paying the insured's premiums, the company promises coverage if the insured ever needs it.
Liability insurance is the insurance that protects us if we ever cause a crash. If we are at fault, and we cause harm to someone or damage to their property, our own liability insurance will cover the damages (up to the limit of the policy) to protect us from personal liability (losing our assets).
We also have the option of purchasing uninsured / underinsured motorist's coverage. This important insurance coverage protects us from the harms caused by someone else - an at-fault driver who causes a crash and damages our property (even our house) or causes us injury. Importantly, uninsured / underinsured motorist's coverage is our own insurance - so if we need to make a claim, we are making a claim on our own policies.
When someone else causes a crash, we typically make a claim against the at-fault party's liability insurance. And their insurance has to pay us for the damages caused by the at-fault driver. Most folks understand this mechanism, and it's the kind of claim most commonly made in car crashes.
Most people understand that if they are not at fault, making a claim against the other, at-fault party's insurance will not result in an increase for their own insurance. And that makes sense--your rates for your own insurance would not increase if you make a claim on the at-fault driver's insurance.
But many people worry that by making a claim for protections available under their own insurance, the rates for their own insurance may go up. Thankfully, that's usually not the case--and there are specific laws in place intended to prevent that from happening.
New Mexico Law Prohibits Rate Increases When an Insured is not at Fault
Under New Mexico Law, "[t]he rates of a motor vehicle liability insurer shall not provide for an increase in the premium if based upon an accident in which the insured is not at fault in any manner as determined by either the accident report or the insurer."
What that means is if you are NOT at fault and make a claim for your own insurance coverage, your insurance company must provide you the coverage you're entitled to and cannot increase your rates after.
So if you've been hurt in a car crash and you have uninsured / underinsured motorist's coverage, you should know that you're safe making a claim.
But you definitely don't want to make that claim on your own - you'll want an experienced attorney who understands New Mexico law and the insurance claims process to help you with the entirety of your claim and your case. And if the insurance company won't pay what you're owed, you'll need an attorney who can take the case all the way to trial and win or push your case toward a favorable settlement instead of trial.
That's why if you are involved in a car crash, you should call Holmes Law Firm for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.