Car insurance bills may rise more than 40% after a low-risk driver has an accident that injures a person or causes property damage. The average nationwide increase after a claim of $2,000 or more is 45% for bodily injury and 41% for property damage. Filing a second claim in a year results in an average premium increase of 93%.

Average rate hikes are much higher in some states—76% in Massachusetts…75% in California…62% in New Jersey…51% in North Carolina…48% in Minnesota…45% in South ­Dakota…42% in Iowa…40% in both New Hampshire and Washington State…and 38% in Virginia.

The states with the lowest average rate hikes after an accident are Maryland with a 22% increase…Michigan, 23%…Montana and Oklahoma, both 25%…Mississippi, 26%…Nebraska, New York and Missouri, all 28%…and Alabama and Maine, both 29%.

Self-defense: Go to to see what premiums average in your state before and after a claim. Compare that with what you are paying. Then shop around—some companies offer lower post-­accident rates to new customers.

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