If you are considering accident forgiveness coverage or would like to know more about how it works, this quick email is a good place to start.
Accident forgiveness is a feature offered by some auto insurance companies in most states. It’s designed to protect policyholders from facing significant premium increases after their first at-fault accident.
This benefit may provide peace of mind to some drivers, especially those with clean driving records. But how much do you want to pay for a mistake you haven’t made, and might…never make? Here are a few things to consider:
Not all drivers qualify for accident forgiveness, and eligibility criteria differs between insurance companies. Generally, it is more common for long-term policyholders with a clean driving history to be eligible. Some insurers may offer accident forgiveness coverage as a reward for loyal customers. Teen drivers are generally not eligible for this coverage because insurers typically require three to five years of clean driving history to become eligible.
Accident forgiveness is usually an additional coverage, it is not automatically applied. Policyholders typically pay an additional premium to access this coverage, and even then, there may be limits or restrictions to this coverage, depending on the insurer.
When you have accident forgiveness coverage and are involved in your first at-fault accident, your insurance company may “forgive” the surcharge that would typically be applied to your premium. This means your rates may not increase as a direct result of that accident. However, any claims-free or safe driver discount you may have enjoyed before the accident may no longer be applied to your account—you will lose those discounts after an at-fault accident, even if your monthly premium doesn’t change.
Duration of Forgiveness
Accident forgiveness coverage is not permanent. Typically, it remains in effect for a certain period, such as three to five years. During this period, your insurance company will not consider your first at-fault accident when determining your rates. Once this forgiveness period ends, your accident may start affecting your premiums.
On average, a single car accident can increase a driver’s insurance premium by more than 40 percent. Accident forgiveness coverage is relatively inexpensive and may help minimize or delay major increases to premium costs following your first at-fault accident.
Receiving accident forgiveness complimentary through a good-driver or loyalty program is the best way to enjoy this coverage without an additional cost.
If you are currently not eligible to receive this benefit, adhering to traffic regulations, avoiding distracted driving, and employing defensive driving techniques, can help you demonstrate to insurance companies you’re a responsible driver who poses a lower risk, potentially leading to lower car insurance premiums.