There are more than 10 million auto accidents annually in the United States. These range in severity from fender benders to eight car pileups on the highway. According to a report by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), Americans spend $871 billion per year as a result of auto accident-related property damage, lost wages, medical bills, and legal expenses.
While serious auto accidents typically cost more in terms of medical bills and property damage, minor auto accidents can be surprisingly costly. Considering that the average driver files a collision claim with their insurance company once every 18 years, chances are you’ll be involved in at least a fender bender during your lifetime. If you are involved in an accident, hidden costs can create an overwhelming financial burden for months or years to come. Below is a list of big costs that can occur even with the most minor accidents, and tips on how to avoid them.
Insurance premiums: Insurance is here to protect us in the event of serious injuries or property damage. However, insurance can be a thorn in the side following a minor accident. After making only one insurance claim, your premiums will increase an average of 41 percent. Additionally, if you were previously receiving a premium discount for a good driving record, you might lose that discount. However, by not reporting a very minor accident that doesn’t involve another vehicle or person, you will save yourself the cost of increased premiums.
Vehicle repairs: If you don’t have adequate collision coverage, you will likely have to pay out of pocket for vehicle repairs. Even with collision coverage, you’ll still have to pay a deductible prior to the coverage kicking in. However, if you maintain an emergency fund for minor accidents and repairs and work with a mechanic you trust, you can minimize your out-of pocket-expenses.
Renting a car: If you have rental reimbursement coverage, your insurance company will pay the cost of a rental car while your car is in the shop. If you don’t have this coverage, you will be responsible for the cost. You can save by using public transportation, bicycling, or walking while your car is being repaired. You may also want to contact your insurance company to see if you have rental reimbursement coverage, and you should consider adding it if you do not. If you are stuck paying for a rental car, shop around for the best rates.
Emergency room, ambulance, and other medical costs: Even in minor car accidents, ambulances are sometimes called as a precautionary measure. Your insurance should cover these emergency expenses, but coordinating payments can take weeks or months. In the meantime, unpaid medical bills can harm your credit rating. However, if your auto insurance policy includes medical payments coverage, you may get reimbursed for certain expenses, such as deductibles and co-pays.
Car loan: If you total your car, the insurance company will reimburse you for the actual cash value. However, that may not be an adequate amount to pay off your loan. The difference could be thousands of dollars. The good news is that there are ways to avoid this unfortunate situation. Gap insurance exists for exactly this purpose, as covers the difference between what the insurer pays and what you owe.
Kevin J. Roach – Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in any type of accident, Attorney Kevin J. Roach can help. Motor vehicle accidents don’t have to be serious to be expensive. Minor auto accident injuries and property damage can result in a multitude of unforeseen costs, such as increased insurance premiums, public transportation, and rental car expenses. Kevin J. Roach knows how frustrating, time consuming, and costly minor accidents can be. He will protect your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the law offices of Kevin J. Roach for a free consultation about your case.