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What is accident forgiveness?

Man Using a Cell Phone Beside His Scratched Car
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If you have ever been involved in an accident, it is more likely that you have experienced a hike in your insurance premium costs. Although the average number of years that an accident can stay on your record is three years, it can be more depending on the state you live in and its DMV policies. Regardless, three years is still a long time to be paying for an increase in car insurance premiums. The good news is there are several ways to reduce the financial impact of an accident on your insurance policy.

What is accident forgiveness?

When you are involved in an accident or have an accident on your driving record, many insurance companies offer a program called Accident Forgiveness. This program is a benefit that supports drivers who were involved in one at-fault accident by waiving the surcharges that were fined from the accident.

If you have an accident on your driving history, you can inquire about accident forgiveness and it can be added to an existing policy. If you have a good driving record otherwise, you may not have to pay any extra fee for it. However, if your driving history is average or less, you may have to pay an additional monthly fee to enroll in the program. Accident forgiveness can also be awarded to drivers that maintain a good driving record.

Not every accident will be forgiven. Each insurance company varies on the eligibility requirements of its accident forgiveness program. Usually, accident forgiveness only applies to drivers who have one at-fault accident on record.

How do you get accident forgiveness?

Not all auto insurance companies offer accident forgiveness so it is important to check with your insurance company. If you are currently searching for a new insurance policy, it’s important to research whether the insurance companies you are looking at offer accident forgiveness. If your insurance company offers accident forgiveness, there are a number of different ways that you can enroll in this program.

Depending on your insurance policy, you may be offered accident forgiveness automatically. This is common especially if you have a good driving record and are not considered high-risk. During your insurance policy’s regular underwriting check, your auto insurance may automatically offer you accident forgiveness without you even having to bring it up. This can be free of charge depending on how clean you have maintained your driving record and history.

You can also purchase accident forgiveness as an add-on to your potential or existing auto policy if your insurance company does not bring it up on their own. However, you may need to pay an additional monthly fee to enroll in the program. The fee varies by insurance company.

If you are unsure whether you qualify for accident forgiveness, the best approach to take is to ask your local agent. By registering for accident forgiveness, you can save up to the surcharges that were incurred from an at-fault accident depending on your insurance company.

What providers offer accident forgiveness?

There are several car insurance providers that offer accident forgiveness. You can expect the major insurance providers to offer this program. However, each insurance company operates differently based on the state it is operating in. Therefore, providers may not offer accident forgiveness in every state or to every individual who is looking to be insured. These are the list of providers that generally offer accident forgiveness:

  • Allstate- You can add accident forgiveness to your policy. If you qualify, your rates will not increase. You can speak to a local Allstate agent to see if you qualify.
  • GEICO- GEICO may offer you free accident forgiveness if you have a clean driving record. The insurance company will notify you without you having to do anything. If not, you can also upgrade your premium with accident forgiveness by adding it to your policy. However, you will have to meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Progressive- Progressive automatically adds accident forgiveness in auto policies for most states. There are two types of accident forgiveness. The small accident forgiveness is if your claim is less than $500 and large accident forgiveness if your claim exceeds $500. Eligibility for either of these programs depends on how long you have been with Progressive.
  • Liberty Mutual- Liberty Mutual offers accident forgiveness for eligible members. To see if you are eligible, you can log on to your Liberty Mutual account and request to add on accident forgiveness for no charge.
  • American Family- American family offers accident forgiveness for drivers with a good driving records. If you have not been involved in an at-fault accident or had a violation within the last year, and have only had one at-fault accident in the last three years, you can enroll in the program for no additional charge.
  • Erie- Erie offers accident forgiveness to drivers with a first at-fault accident. However, this is only eligible for drivers who have been with ERIE for more than three years.
  • Nationwide- You can add accident forgiveness through Nationwide for an additional monthly charge by talking to your agent.
  • Travelers- Drivers with Travelers can receive accident forgiveness by purchasing one of Traveler’s Responsible Driver Plans.
  • The Hartford- Through the AARP, the Hartford offers accident forgiveness as an extra feature on your auto policy after your first at-fault accident. You must call an Hartford agent to see if you qualify.
  • USAA- Drivers that remain accident free for five years and are with USAA during that time will receive accident forgiveness for their one at-fault accident. However, in some states you must purchase accident forgiveness.


Do all insurance companies offer accident forgiveness?

Not all car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness. It depends on the state you live in, your insurance policy, and whether you are eligible or not.

Is accident forgiveness free?

While some insurance companies provide accident forgiveness for free, others require an additional fee to be paid. Some insurance companies, like GEICO, will offer you accident forgiveness for free automatically. On the other hand, you may have to request accident forgiveness from other insurance companies.

What is the eligibility requirement for accident forgiveness?

Eligibility requirements for accident forgiveness vary by state and insurance policy. Most insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to drivers who have been loyal with the insurance company and have maintained a good driving record and have only had one at-fault accident.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor
Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in New Jersey at Bankrate and She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.