When applying for new insurance coverage or renewing a current policy, insurance companies will review an assortment of factors when determining whether to continue to insure you or accept you as a new driver. Here a few factors that insurance companies will consider when determining your insurability:
- Type of Vehicle (including Model, Year, and Value)
- Driving History (including past accidents and traffic violations)
- Vehicle Usage (miles driven, etc)
- Territory (where the vehicle is driven, stored, etc)
- Gender (yes, this matters, statistically males under 25 are bad drivers)
- Credit History
ACCIDENT CITATIONS (Careless Driving, Failure to Yield, Etc)
Whenever you are issued a citation for a traffic accident, you risk being dropped by your insurance carrier or a significant rate hike. However, under Florida Law, your insurance company cannot request an additional premium or cancel your policy solely because you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, unless the insurer’s file contains information from which the insurer in good faith determines that you were "substantially at fault" in the accident.
An auto insurance company will determine your fault by investigating the accident. Often times, their investigation will consist of reviewing the police report and traffic citation. By hiring a traffic attorney to fight your accident citation, you are making an effort to undermine the insurer's basis for the rate hike or cancellation. You are entitled to a reimbursement of any additional premium paid to your insurance company as a result of a traffic accident, if you can show that at the time of the accident the operator was:
- Lawfully parked;
- Reimbursed by, or on behalf of, a person responsible for the accident or has a judgment against such person;
- Struck in the rear by another vehicle headed in the same direction and was not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident;
- Hit by a “hit-and-run” driver, if the accident was reported to the proper authorities within 24 hours after discovering the accident;
- Not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident, but the operator of the other automobile involved in such accident was convicted of a moving traffic violation;
- Finally adjudicated not to be liable by a court of competent jurisdiction;
- In receipt of a traffic citation which was dismissed or nolle prossed; or
- Not at fault as evidenced by a written statement from the insured establishing facts demonstrating lack of fault which are not rebutted by information in the insurer’s file from which the insurer in good faith determines that the insured was substantially at fault.
NON-ACCIDENT CITATIONS (Speeding, Stop Sign Violation, Etc)
Under Florida Law, your insurance company cannot raise your rates or refuse to renew your police unless you have been issued two moving violations within an 18 month period, three or more moving violations within a 36 month period, or you have been issued a citation for unlawful speed 15mph or more over the posted limit. However, the insurance company cannot raise your rates or refuse to renew your policy for recieving a citation when adjudication is withheld and no points are assessed to your driving record.
The best way to avoid insurance increases or being dropped by your carrier is to use one of your five lifetime driving school elections or hire a Tampa Traffic Attorney to fight your ticket in court in an effort to get your ticket dismissed or reduced. For a free consultation regarding your Tampa traffic citation, please call my office at (727) 260-5754.