If you own a car in Riverside or elsewhere in California, chances are you are carrying an auto insurance policy (or you are among those infamous 15 percent of uninsured drivers in California).
But most car drivers in California never seem to have time to sit down for five minutes and find out how auto insurance companies work, and how to properly file a car accident claim without ruining your chances of coverage and compensation.
Luckily, you are about to finally understand some of the most essential principles of how insurance companies in Riverside and all across California handle car accidents. For that reason, we brought our Riverside car accident attorney Howard Craig Kornberg to debunk some of the most common myths about auto insurance in the state.
Myth #1: Reporting car accidents to my insurance company is not mandatory, and there is no penalty for not doing it
Wrong. According to the terms of every auto insurance company’s Cooperation Clause, you are required to report every car accident to your insurance company. By failing to comply with this rule, you risk facing the following penalties:
- Your auto insurer opting not to renew your auto insurance policy after its expiration;
- Increasing your premium rates; and/or
- Canceling your policy altogether (in severe cases).
Myth #2: Insurance companies have no right to raise premiums for an ongoing policy
In reality, any auto insurance company can raise your premiums after a car accident. But not all insurers in Riverside and elsewhere in California do this. Over his more than 35 years of experience in handling car accidents in the state, our Riverside car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg explains that in most cases, insurers raise premium rates if a motor vehicle accident was your fault.
But it does not necessarily mean that just because you were at-fault for a car accident, your premiums would skyrocket. There are many other factors that come into play, including but not limited to:
- Existence of prior motor vehicle accidents;
- Whether or not alcohol or drugs contributed to causing the accident;
- The severity of injuries;
- The approximate dollar value of the victim’s injuries;
- Costs of property damage; and
- Other factors.
Myth #3: I do not have to report a car accident if I was not at-fault
This particular myth still persists in Riverside, Los Angeles, and pretty much all other parts of California. Many car drivers wrongfully believe that the party who was at fault for the accident is the one who is required to notify his/her insurance company about the accident.
By failing to seek the immediate legal help of a car crash lawyer and notify your own insurance company about the accident (even if you were not at-fault), you are not only violating the terms of your insurance policy but also giving the at-fault driver an upper hand.
Here is how it works: the at-fault driver reports the accident hours after it occurred. On that same day, his/her insurance company kicks off an investigation, which two days later concludes that you share some percentage of liability, too (in other words, you were partially at fault for the accident as well). You, on the other hand, choose not to report the accident immediately and wait a week before contacting a lawyer and your insurer. Meaning: by the time you report the accident to your insurer, the at-fault driver’s insurer had finalized its own investigation seemingly showing that you were partially at-fault.
Myth #4: There is nothing wrong with admitting fault to my insurance company
Even if you wholeheartedly believe that you were at-fault for the accident, it is always advised to speak to an experienced attorney who will either confirm or deny your presumptions.
Admitting fault at the scene of a car accident (when it was or was not your fault) can ruin your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries and damages if an investigation proves your innocence or that both you and the other driver were partially at fault.
There are many factors that determine fault and liability in a car accident in California. Contact the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to learn more. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation and/or launch an unbiased investigation into your accident.