Head-on Collisions: What to Do After an Accident

A head-on collision involves two vehicles hitting each other in the front. They are extremely dangerous and can cause your car insurance rates to spike by 28%.
Written by Liz Jenson
Edited by Kianna Walpole
Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles driving in opposite directions collide. This type of crash represents just 2% of vehicle accidents but 10% of vehicle accident deaths, making head-on collisions one of the most deadly types of crashes—and most expensive, with most drivers experiencing a 28% increase in
car insurance

What is a head-on collision?

Head-on collisions, also known as frontal crashes, occur when drivers going opposite directions crash into each other. 
Some of the most common causes of head-on collisions include:
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving in dangerous weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow
  • Turning the wrong way onto a one-way street
  • Distracted driving, including driving while texting, eating, or talking on the phone 
Head-on collisions are very serious accidents and occur more often than you think. In 2023, this type of accident represented 29.4% of fatal crashes with other motor vehicles, with head-on collisions being responsible for 10%1 of all car accident-related deaths in 2020.2 3
Aside from fatalities, head-on collisions can result in severe injuries, such as whiplash, broken bones, concussions, lacerations, and more—all of which can lead to life-long impairments.
Depending on whether or not you’re at fault for a head-on collision, your rates will generally increase after a severe accident. On average, most drivers experience a 28% increase in their car insurance premiums from the national average.
Average cost of coverage
Average cost after crash
Total rate increase (%)
Thankfully, there are strategies available to help manage the aftermath of a head-on collision and mitigate rising costs. Let’s take a closer look.

What to do after a head-on collision

Head-on collisions cause mental and physical trauma, which can leave you stunned in their wake. While it seems like the options are slim after an accident of this magnitude, you can take control by following these steps:
  • Check for injuries: After the crash, assess yourself and any passengers for injuries. Even if you’re not seriously injured, consider getting a medical exam to treat any of the many common injuries like whiplash. You’ll likely be examined by EMS at the scene, but it’s a good idea to get a full evaluation from your doctor, too.
  • Gather evidence: This evidence should include the police report and medical records for you and your family members or other passengers involved.
  • Contact your insurer: Once you’ve gathered the necessary evidence, reach out to your insurer and start the process of
    filing a car insurance claim
Since it’s your responsibility to prove that you are not at fault for a head-on collision, it’s essential to get extra legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney. A good personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your reimbursement and hire an accident reconstruction specialist to draw up concrete evidence for your case.

How do I know who was at fault in a head-on collision?

Unfortunately, the deadly nature of head-on collisions means that the injured survivors take on the responsibility of proving that the other driver was at fault.
To establish fault in a head-on crash, it's a good idea to get a personal injury attorney. Legal experts explain that:5
Drivers have a duty of care, which includes being attentive and sober. Distracted driving, driving at high speeds, and driving under the influence are all potential causes of head-on collisions.
If reckless behaviors were seen before the crash, a driver may be proven negligent.
Establishing that injuries were sustained as a result of a driver’s actions is crucial to assigning fault.
The driver who was going the wrong way is often, but not always, assigned fault.
If the other driver displayed negligence, was intoxicated, was driving in the wrong direction, and/or caused another person’s injuries, they may be declared the
at-fault driver
. However, being declared at fault means different things depending on where you live. 
In an
at-fault state
, the driver who caused the accident will be financially responsible for damages sustained by the other party, including property damage, medical bills, and funeral expenses. Additionally, the victim may choose to sue the at-fault driver for economic hardships that were not covered by the settlement, such as lost wages or pain and suffering.
In a
no-fault state
, however, drivers will turn to their own insurance companies for financial compensation for medical bills regardless of fault. Check with your insurance provider to learn more about your policy and where to turn after a collision.

Will my insurance cover a head-on collision?

If you have state minimum car insurance, you might not be fully covered in the event of a head-on collision.
Full coverage car insurance
will offer a lot more financial protection, and other types of coverage can increase your protection level, too. 
Some options to consider include:
Collision coverage
: This is included in a full coverage policy. It can help you pay to repair or replace any damaged property following a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
: This coverage type will pay for your medical bills, even if you were the at-fault driver.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM)
: UM/UIM helps you pay for damage to your car and medical bills if the other driver doesn’t have adequate insurance coverage.
Guaranteed auto protection (GAP)
: This insurance will cover the difference between your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) and the remaining loan balance if your car is deemed a total loss.
Not sure what type of coverage you have? Take a look at your current auto insurance policy. You may find that you want some additional protections like the ones listed above.

The best car insurance providers for after a head-on collision

Unfortunately, no single insurance provider will offer the best coverage for a head-on collision and, regardless of fault, insurance providers will raise your premiums after this type of accident. 
Additionally, different insurance companies use different algorithms to determine rates, so you may see a big variation in quotes from one provider to the next. It’s important to shop around and compare quotes from at least three providers before deciding which insurance company is right for you.
Based on our research, these are the top providers with the lowest rates for drivers with an accident on their record. 
Insurance company
Monthly minimum coverage cost
Monthly full coverage cost
Keep in mind that these are just average rates. To find your ideal policy after a head-on collision, consider using the Jerry app. With
you can build a profile tailored to your unique needs and driving history. Then, you can run quotes from dozens of the top providers in the industry, all customized to your account. 
Accidents are stressful—so let’s take rates off your table.
Compare quotes using Jerry to find lower than average costs after an accident.
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How to lower auto insurance rates after a head-on collision

After any kind of vehicle accident, you might notice a resulting increase in your car insurance rates. Here are a few ways to lower your premiums: 
Shop around: The best way to find a good insurance policy price after a car accident is to
shop for auto insurance quotes
from multiple providers to get a sense of what your rates might be. That’s where Jerry comes in. Jerry pulls personalized quotes from dozens of insurance providers so you can compare rates and choose the best policy for you in a matter of minutes.
Ask about discounts: Many insurance providers offer
car insurance discounts
for things like installing a telematics device, taking a defensive driving course, or even getting good grades. Ask your provider if you’re missing out on any opportunities to save.
Bundle your policies: For some drivers,
bundling home and auto insurance
or auto and renters insurance is a great way to save money. This type of savings isn’t available everywhere, so talk to your insurer to see if they offer bundling discounts.
Enroll in a telematics program: With telematics, your insurance company can monitor your driving habits, including when, how well, and how often you drive. With this information, insurance companies offer discounts to good drivers and people who don’t drive often. In some cases, you can even get a discount just for signing up!
Increase your deductible: If all else fails, you can also increase your
car insurance deductible
to get lower premiums. A higher deductible means lower risk for insurance companies, so your rates will go down as your deductible goes up. Just remember that you’ll be responsible for paying your deductible out-of-pocket in the event of an accident, so never raise your deductible higher than you can afford to pay.


Are head-on collisions likely when driving?

Head-on collisions represent 2% of all vehicle accidents, meaning they aren’t very likely. With some research and practice, you can learn defensive driving techniques and try to avoid head-on collisions whenever possible.

Is a head-on collision worse than a rear-end collision?

The short answer: yes. Rear-end collisions make up about 28% of all vehicle accidents,6 meaning they’re much more common than head-on collisions (which make up 2% of accidents). However, rear-end collisions cause about 1,700 deaths7 per year compared to 3,631 deaths caused by head-on collisions8 in 2020, meaning that rear-end collisions are statistically less deadly.

Who is at fault in a head-on collision?

It is the responsibility of the survivors of a head-on collision to determine who was at fault. Evidence like reckless behavior before the crash, proof that the other driver was on the wrong side of the road, and proof that your injuries were directly caused by the other driver’s actions can all help determine fault after a head-on collision.

Meet our experts

Liz Jenson
Liz Jenson is an insurance writer who specializes in general automotive and insurance topics. Liz’s mission is to produce informative and useful content to help car owners make smart choices when buying cars and car insurance. Since joining Jerry in 2021, Liz has written nearly 4,000 long- and short-form articles on topics including state-specific insurance recommendations, common car insurance questions, and deep dives into vehicle model details.
Before they came to Jerry, Liz was a full-time student at Indiana University, Bloomington working on a double major in English and French.
Kianna Walpole
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Expert Insurance Writer & Editor
Kianna Walpole is an insurance writer and editor with a comprehensive background in consumer behavior and online publishing. With experience in car insurance, maintenance, and repair, she is dedicated to building informative content that helps customers reduce costs while achieving the best service. Prior to joining the Jerry editorial team, Kianna worked as a junior editor in the content marketing industry, using consumer data and key insights to create and edit content for an array of large-scale clients in the real estate, cybersecurity, and healthcare industries.

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