Drivers pay an average of 38 percent more for car insurance after making a single claim, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com report. The hike is steepest in Massachusetts, where just one claim leads to an average premium increase of 67 percent.
California (+62 percent) and New Jersey (+59 percent) are not far behind. Maryland has the lowest post-claim increase (+20 percent), followed by Alabama (+22 percent) and Michigan (+23 percent).
A second claim puts an even deeper dent in Americans’ wallets: a driver with two claims pays nearly twice as much for car insurance as a claim-free driver (+86 percent).
“The biggest lesson for consumers is not to file a claim unless absolutely necessary,” said Laura Adams, a senior analyst at insuranceQuotes.com. “Making a claim for a few hundred dollars doesn’t make sense if your premium is going to skyrocket as a result.”
In addition to geography, the increases are also affected by the type of claim. Bodily injury and property damage (including collision) claims are the most expensive (+42 percent and +41 percent, respectively). Comprehensive claims (for non-collision events such as theft) are the cheapest, barely moving the needle at +2 percent.
The full study, as well as a helpful “Should I Make a Claim?” calculator, is available on the company website: http://www.insurancequotes.com.