What is accident forgiveness?
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Car accidents can happen unexpectedly, and the damage can quickly shift your financial picture. If you have ever been involved in an at-fault accident, chances are that you’ve experienced a spike in your insurance premium costs. To avoid paying more for your policy after an at-fault accident, you could purchase accident forgiveness as an add-on to your car insurance policy. However, certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for accident forgiveness and not all insurance companies offer this option. Learn about what accident forgiveness is, how it works, which insurance companies offer it and whether it’s worth adding on.
What is accident forgiveness?
Many insurance companies offer an accident forgiveness program. This additional coverage benefits drivers who are involved in their first at-fault accident by waiving the policy surcharge that would usually occur following the incident. If you have maintained a good driving record otherwise, you may not have to pay any extra fee for the coverage.
Each insurance company varies on the eligibility requirements of its accident forgiveness program. Usually, accident forgiveness only applies to one at-fault accident.
Keep in mind that not every accident will be forgiven, and having accident forgiveness does not remove the accident from your motor vehicle record. Additionally, even if your single accident was forgiven with your current insurer, a new company will be able to see the at-fault accident on your CLUE report and will likely add a surcharge to your rate if the accident was within three to six years.
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 carrier you’re looking at offers accident forgiveness. If your insurance company offers accident forgiveness, there may be a few ways to enroll in the program.
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness automatically and free of charge if you have a good driving record. Others may factor in how long you’ve had your policy. You may also be able to purchase accident forgiveness as an add-on to your potential or existing auto policy if it’s not added automatically, if you qualify. 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.
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:
|Company||Accident forgiveness criteria|
|Allstate||With this optional coverage, your rate will not increase after a single-at fault accident. You can speak to a local Allstate agent to see if you qualify.|
|Geico||Geico may offer free accident forgiveness if you have maintained a clean driving record. If this is the case, policyholders would receive a notification of the accident forgiveness reward. If it’s not earned, you may also purchase it for your policy as an add-on if you meet the eligibility requirements.|
|Progressive||Progressive automatically adds accident forgiveness to auto policies in most states. The company offers 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. The accident forgiveness coverage amount for either program depends on how long you have been with Progressive. Accident forgiveness may also be purchased.|
|Liberty Mutual||Liberty Mutual offers accident forgiveness to drivers with no accident or violations within the last five years. 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.|
|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 three or more years.|
|Nationwide||Nationwide offers accident forgiveness for an additional charge. You can add it by talking to your agent.|
|Travelers||Drivers with Travelers can receive accident forgiveness by purchasing one of Travelers Responsible Driver Plans or by purchasing accident forgiveness directly. Eligibility can be determined by speaking with your Travelers agent.|
|The Hartford||Through AARP, The Hartford offers accident forgiveness as an extra feature on your auto policy for those who qualify. You must call an agent to see if you qualify.|
|USAA||Drivers that remain accident free for five years and are with USAA during that time can receive accident forgiveness at no additional cost from the company. However, in some states you must purchase accident forgiveness.|
Is accident forgiveness worth having?
If you’ve gone several years without an accident, having accident forgiveness can save you considerably on increased rates for your first at-fault accident. In some cases, you may even earn accident forgiveness to your policy free of charge if you have a stellar driving history. If you do have to purchase the coverage, there are several factors to consider when determining whether accident forgiveness is worth adding on to your car insurance policy for the extra fee.
Accidents happen unexpectedly and can result in various financial damages. Having the coverage can save you experiencing a rate increase on top of any other damages you’re already responsible for. Knowing that you’re covered may offer you additional peace of mind while driving.
However, not all companies offer accident forgiveness, and you may feel comfortable enough with your current rate to where the potential risk of causing an accident isn’t worth switching to a new company that offers the coverage. Also, you may find that the added fee does not fit in with your desired insurance budget.
Keep in mind that even if your insurance company forgives your accident, if you decide to look for another carrier, the new company will still see the accident on your CLUE report and likely add a surcharge if the accident occurred less than five years ago. The best way to find out whether accident forgiveness is right for you is to weigh the costs of your policy both with and without the coverage, and consider the financial impact of if you were to get into an accident.
Frequently asked questions
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.
While some insurance companies provide accident forgiveness for free, others require an additional fee on top of the base cost of your auto insurance policy. Geico, for example, has the option for drivers to get accident forgiveness free-of-charge if they’ve gone enough time without an accident. You can speak with your insurance agent to see how your insurer’s accident forgiveness program works.
Eligibility requirements for accident forgiveness vary by state and insurance policy. Most insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to drivers who have maintained a good driving record for at least a specified number of years. How long you’ve maintained the policy with the company may also factor into your eligibility. Accident forgiveness only works to cover a single at-fault accident.