No one wants to think about getting in a car accident, but the reality is that they happen all the time. In fact, a 2020 report from Esurance found that your odds of being involved in a crash are 1 in 366 for every thousand miles you drive. To put it another way, the same report found that 77% of drivers have already been in at least one accident.
Unfortunately, the odds are good you'll be in an accident at some point in your life — and that means you'll have to pay for it. Will you be able to afford it?
The Real Cost of Collisions
If you're in a car accident, costs can add up quickly. A parking lot fender bender might not break the bank, but collisions with other vehicles can cost more than you think.
The average amount insurance companies paid out on collision claims was $5,000 in 2021. This represents a sharp increase from previous years, and claim costs are currently at a 15-year high. If you don't have collision coverage, this is the average you can expect to pay out of pocket.
If you do have coverage, you'll still have to pay your insurance deductible before coverage kicks in. The average deductible is $500, though you can choose a lower or higher amount when you sign up for the policy.
If your car is totaled in an accident, it doesn't just mean it's undrivable. It also means that it would cost more to repair than the car is worth. In these cases, the insurance company will only pay you the car's value, and you'd have to either pay for the repairs out of pocket or purchase a new car.
It's no secret that car insurance rates are going up, and making a claim can cause yours to soar when it's time to renew. If you're at fault, your new rates will cost you an average of 47% more — or about $1,016 extra each year.
Don't forget that cars can crash into plenty of other objects: mailboxes, houses, fences, and more. if someone else's property is damaged in your accident, you could have to pay for it. Your auto insurance liability coverage will pay for these claims, but if the amounts exceed your coverage, you'll have to pay for the rest. The average property damage claim is $5,314.
Finally, if the accident is severe enough to hurt you or others, there will also be medical bills to pay. A trip to the emergency room costs an average of $2,200 if you're not insured and $1,150 if you are.
If you hurt someone else in the accident, you could be facing a personal injury claim. The average settlement for personal injury due to a car crash is $22,734. Again, if your liability coverage is less than this, you could end up paying out of pocket.
Avoid Accidents at All Costs
The bottom line? Car crashes are extremely expensive! The best way to avoid a big bill is to avoid getting into an accident in the first place by improving your driving skills. Check out our driver improvement programs for a fun and easy refresher on defensive driving techniques that could keep you safer — and help you lower your car insurance bills.