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Whose at Fault?

What is a chargeable accident?
How do you fight whether it's chargeable or not? 
How much does your Insurance Increase?

Even if you're not at fault for the crash, your auto insurance may end up costing you more at renewal time. You're certainly less likely to be penalized than if you had caused the accident, but it could still happen.  Risk is simply the likelihood that you will, at some future date, file a claim on your insurance policy. Someone who has been in an accident that was not their fault is more likely to become involved in another accident than someone who has not been involved any accidents at all, said Jeanne Salvatore, vice president of consumer affairs at the Insurance Information Institute.

In some cases, even if you don't think the accident was your fault, and the policeman on the scene agrees with you, the insurance company may hold you to a higher standard.

State Farm Insurance, for example, looks at what they call "chargeable accidents" -- or accidents they think the claimant could have avoided. Even though you weren't at fault, "filing a claim could negatively impact your premium,"  (CNN Article)

Shot Gun Seat - Back Seat Driver Rules
LA Times - Texting counts as Back Seat Driving

Accident Forgiveness
Where a policy has been continuously in force for at least 10 years, the driver has no principally at-fault chargeable accidents or convictions for at least the last 3 years and has been licensed for at least five years, the occurrence of a principally at-fault accident will not result in points being charged (accident forgiveness). If within 3 years of the first fault chargeable accident, the same driver incurs another principally at-fault chargeable accident or conviction, then points will be assessed for the first principally at-fault accident as well as the new incident. (21st.com/ )

A chargeable claim is one the insurer considers primarily your fault. (Mercury Insurance)

Consumer Links

Free Advise.com Auto Insurance

CA Dept. of Insurance - Info on What next in an accident

Findlaw.com on Traffic Tickets

Who's at Fault?
icbc.com (British Columbia)
claims data

California SR 1 Fillable Reporting Form & Instructions
sr 1 accident report form

Harbor Insurance San Pedro, CA 310.832.5311
Free Quote with Mercury Insurance

CA Insurance Code Excerpts

The rating plan of a motor vehicle liability insurer shall not provide for an increase in the premium if based upon an accident in which the insured is not at fault, in any manner, as determined by either the accident report or the insurer.  In the event the insurer determines that its insured is at fault contrary to an accident report's specific finding that the insured is not at fault, the insurer shall reach its conclusion only after an investigation .Insurance Code 491. 

 

 A person is qualified to purchase a Good Driver Discount policy if he or she meets all of the following criteria:
   (a) He or she has been licensed to drive a motor vehicle for the previous three years.
   (b) During the previous three years, he or she has not done any of the following:
   (1) Had more than one violation point count determined as provided by subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g),  Insurance Code  1861.025.

(g) A traffic accident in which the operator is deemed by the department to be responsible shall be given a value of one point.
 

or (h) of Section 12810 of the Vehicle Code, but subject to the following modifications:
   For the purposes of this section, the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident for which he or she was principally at fault that resulted only in damage to property shall receive one violation  point count, in addition to any other violation points that may be imposed for this accident.
   If, under Section 488 or 488.5, an insurer is prohibited from increasing the premium on a policy on account of a violation, that violation shall not be included in determining the point count of the person.
   If a violation is required to be reported under Section 1816 of the Vehicle Code, or under Section 784 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or any other provision requiring the reporting of a violation by a minor, the violation shall be included for the purposes of this section in determining the point count in the same manner as is applicable to adult violations.
   (2) Had more than one dismissal pursuant to Section 1803.5 of the Vehicle Code that was not made confidential pursuant to Section 1808.7 of the Vehicle Code, in the 36-month period for violations that would have resulted in the imposition of more than one violation point count under paragraph (1) if the complaint had not been dismissed.
   (3) Was the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in bodily injury or in the death of any person and was principally at fault. The commissioner shall adopt regulations setting guidelines to be used by insurers for the determination of fault for the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (1).

Search for a Specific Regulatory Section

Law Title and Section #
   (c) During the period commencing on January 1, 1999, or the date 10 years prior to the date of application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy, whichever is later, and ending on the date of the application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy, he or she has not been convicted of a violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, a felony violation of Section 23550 or 23566, or former Section 23175 or, as those sections read on January 1, 1999, of the Vehicle Code, or a violation of Section 191.5 or paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code.
   (d) Any person who claims that he or she meets the criteria of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) based entirely or partially on a driver's license and driving experience acquired anywhere other than in the United States or Canada is rebuttably presumed to be qualified to purchase a Good Driver Discount policy if he or she has been licensed to drive in the United States or Canada for at least the previous 18 months and meets the criteria of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) for that period.
 

When you are waiting to make a left turn, your view of oncoming traffic can be restricted. The temptation can be great to go anyway - even though you may not be able to see all the oncoming traffic lanes. Don't do it, ever! It is never safe to make a blind left turn! Finally, if the left-turn lane is crowded, and it looks like it will take more than one light cycle to be able to make a left turn, consider continuing through and make three right turns instead. If you do this on city streets (not private property) it's legal and often quicker when traffic is congested .  road trip america.com

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