SAN FRANCISO — Drivers get hit with a whopping insurance cost increase after making just a single claim, according to a new study by InsuranceQuotes.com.
The study found that drivers pay an average of 41 percent more for car insurance after submitting a single claim of $2,000 or more.
The national average is up 3 percentage points this year, compared to the 38 percent increase found in 2014.
"Many consumers underestimate the consequences of making claims because they can affect your rate for years," said Laura Adams, a senior analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, in a statement. "If you get a premium hike for making a small claim, that could hurt your finances over the long run."
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of an auto insurance premium in the U.S. is $815, which means an increase of 41 percent would result in about a $335 spike.
An insurance claims calculator helps consumers answer the question, "Should I make a claim?"
The InsuranceQuotes.com study also found that Massachusetts has the highest post-claim increases. One claim there leads to an average premium increase of 76 percent compared to 67 percent in 2014.
California comes in 2nd on the most-expensive states list, followed by New Jersey, North Carolina and Minnesota.
The lowest post-claim increases are found in Maryland, Michigan and Montana.
There's even worse news when it comes to making a second claim, according to the study. A driver with two claims pays over twice as much for car insurance as a claim-free driver.
Of course, Edmunds has plenty of advice to offer consumers seeking affordable car insurance.
Edmunds says: The takeaway is that consumers have to carefully consider whether making a small car insurance claim is worth it in the long run.