Does a car accident affect your credit score?
If you’ve been involve in an accident, you have a lot of things to concern yourself with. You’ll need to tend to your injuries. You might need vehicle repairs. You could miss time from wok.
In many cases, involvement in a vehicle accident can cause you financial strife.
But can it affect your credit score?
The easiest answer to this question is: maybe.
Car Accidents Cause Financial Stress
It’s no secret that involvement in an accident affects your insurance coverage, most often associated with your premiums. If you’re involved in an accident that was in any way your fault – and occasionally even if it wasn’t – you’ll likely be charged higher insurance premiums.
This means you’ll pay more for your coverage, even if you drive safely going forward.
Eventually, for most people, if they are accident and incident free after the initial problem, their insurance premiums eventually go down.
But what happens if a vehicle accident damages your credit score?
Credit scores are a number computed by credit agencies. They are used by lenders, employers, and other institutions to determine your credit worthiness. Your credit score is calculated based on:
- Whether you pay your bills on time
- How much debt you have compared to your income
- Types of credit you use
- How much credit you have available
- How long you’ve used credit
And now, whether or not you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident.
You might be wondering what, if anything, your driving has to do with your use of credit.
Involvement in an accident, especially if it’s significant enough to affect your insurance, can result in a drop in your credit score. Whether or not an accident affects your credit score depends on whether or not your insurance company reports it to the credit bureaus.
The good news is most car accident damage only remains on your credit report for about two years.
This is assuming the report to the credit bureau is truthful. If an insurance company or body shop makes a mistake or is intentionally untruthful in their report, it can cause greater and longer term damage.
What Can You Do to Avoid a Vehicle Accident Causing You Credit Damage?
There are a few things you can do to ease the financial damage caused by a vehicle accident.
- Immediately contact your vehicle insurance provider and report the details of your accident
- Check your credit report for mistakes or errors – it can take up to two years for an accident to appear on your credit report
- Close any unused lines of credit so creditors don’t pull your report too often
- Ask the insurance company if there is anything you can do to prevent them from reporting the accident to the credit bureau
Any vehicle accident can damage your credit score. The risk is higher when you file an insurance claim. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report the accident. What you can do is take measures to protect yourself and your credit.
Were you involved in a vehicle accident? Do you have questions about dealing with the insurance company or concerns about your medical bills?
We can help. Vehicle accidents can turn your life upside down, affecting your health, you career, and your finances.
To speak to someone about lessening the impact of a vehicle accident or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call us at 410-783-4200.