Accident Forgiveness Car Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

By Randy Luton | Last Updated: 11/22/2021

Key Insights

  • Accident forgiveness coverage helps drivers to save money on their car insurance premiums after an at-fault accident.
  • Some of the leading car insurance companies provide this coverage at affordable rates.
  • Accident forgiveness coverage is not eligible for every driver.
  • This coverage has benefits as well as drawbacks.

Introduction

Getting into an accident is one of the biggest nightmares for anyone. The worst part is; you are at fault for that accident. You will have to pay for all the repair and hospital bills for the victim as well as your insurance policy rate will increase by many folds.

Wondering why your insurance premium will increase after an accident where you were at fault? Because a driver with even one at-fault accident on the record is considered risky by all the auto insurance companies around the country. To avoid paying for claims again and again insurance companies increase the premium amount or even deny insuring risky drivers.

There is a lot of confusion and misconceptions around the term “Accident forgiveness coverage”. This blog is written with an objective to help every driver understand Accident Forgiveness, its importance, and its requirement.

What Is Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is an add-on car insurance coverage that helps drivers to save money after an at-fault accident. In our country; more than 34,000 major accidents occurred in the year 2019. The number of road accidents is increasing rapidly every year and with that, the insurance premium of drivers is also increasing.

Yes, an at-fault accident increases the insurance premium of every driver. The reason behind this is; the driving record plays a major role in the calculation of insurance quotes. Whenever an at-fault accident is added to your license you will get higher rates in the next renewal of the policy. If a driver has accident forgiveness on his or her policy then the rates of the car insurance will not increase at the time of policy renewal. This is why this coverage is gaining popularity day by day.

Do you need accident forgiveness coverage?

Thinking if you need this insurance coverage or not? We at RateForce understand your concern and queries including this one. The requirement for any type of insurance coverage depends on factors like; the age of the driver, car model, and even age of the car. In general there are some common factors that we can check to understand if a driver needs a certain type of policy or not.

Accident forgiveness coverage is required for drivers that have:

  • Zero accidents in the past 5 years minimum on their driving record.
  • Zero law violations in last 5 years
  • More than 5 years of driving experience and is above 21 years of age

What is a chargeable accident?

In very simple terms; a chargeable accident is when you have caused damage to another person and your insurance company will have to pay for the bills. It can be physical damage to the property of another person or bodily injuries.

Every car insurance company checks if the accident is chargeable or not to decide if an at-fault accident should be added to the record of the driver. It is not necessary that you will be at 100 percent fault in an accident but if you were at even 50 percent fault in an accident then also it will be considered a chargeable accident. But it is important to note that not every accident is considered a chargeable accident.

What are the pros and cons of accident forgiveness?

If you are confused about buying the accident forgiveness insurance coverage then the best way to clear your confusion is by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of this coverage type. As a result, we have listed some pros and cons for you below:

Pros of adding accident forgiveness:

  • You will not get higher car insurance premium rates after an at-fault accident.
  • Some companies automatically include small accident forgiveness with their policies
  • Better peace of mind

Cons of adding accident forgiveness:

  • Every driver is not eligible for the accident forgiveness
  • Most of the companies only forgive the first at-fault accident

Is accident forgiveness worth it?

Now the most important question that arises is; do we really need accident forgiveness? The answer to this is simple; it depends on our profile and the people in your insurance policy. There are some questions that you can ask yourself before buying accident forgiveness car insurance:

  1. What will be the difference between the amount of additional premium you will get after an at-fault accident and the cost you will get after adding accident forgiveness coverage?
  2. Does the accident car insurance policy cover everyone, especially young, risky and inexperienced drivers?
  3. What are the chances that you or someone else on your policy can get into an at-fault accident?
  4. Can you afford an extra car insurance premium if you ever get into an at-fault accident?

If you are the only driver in your family or all the other drivers are responsible with a clean driving record then you can avoid buying this coverage. Or if the extra charges that you will get after an at-fault accident will be less than the charges of adding the coverage to the existing policy.

Which are the alternatives to accident forgiveness?

Yes, there are some alternatives that you can try instead of accident forgiveness. Because some drivers are not eligible for accident forgiveness, especially the young drivers that have less than 3 years of driving experience. For such drivers below are some other coverage you can try:

Good Driver Discounts

If you have a clean driving record without any tickets or at-fault accidents then you can apply for a good driver discount. Almost every car insurance company provides a good driver discount which can reduce the final quotation of your premium by 20 to 40 percent.

Vanishing Deductibles

This option again is for safe drivers; if you have a continuous safe driving record then you can get vanishing deductibles as a reward. Drivers can get reduced deductibles on their claims hence they don’t have to pay extra.

Best Accident Forgiveness Insurance Companies

Wondering what companies offer accident forgiveness? We have curated a detailed and well-researched list for you. Even though each company has its own requirements and laws but the similarity is they provide accident forgiveness add-on coverage to every driver:

  1. Travelers: Drivers can get a responsible driver plan which provides minor violation forgiveness and accident forgiveness coverage. In this plan, every driver can get one accident forgiveness and one minor violation forgiveness every three years.
  2. Liberty Mutual: The company provides accident forgiveness as additional coverage. For this coverage, the company checks the track record of the driver. The driver must have had zero road accidents within the previous three years and zero traffic violations in the previous five years.
  3. Geico: The existing policyholders can get accident forgiveness for free in two ways. First, they can purchase this coverage as an add-on to the existing auto insurance policy. Secondly, by maintaining a clean driving record. The driver must have an accident-free track record and should be over 21 years of age.
  4. Progressive: The company provides Progressive Loyalty Program that includes small accident forgiveness and large accident forgiveness. With small accident forgiveness; if the claims are less than $500 then your insurance rates will not increase. On the other hand, if you get into a large accident then the company will check if you are a progressive customer for more than 5 years and have an at-fault accident-free record for the last 3 years.
  5. Nationwide: Nationwide also offers accident forgiveness as an add-on coverage option to the existing policyholders. The company forgives first at-fault accidents as well as minor violations.

How to Get the Best Accident Forgiveness Policy?

We know you want the best accident forgiveness policy that is affordable as well as covers your claim in all the conditions. Below are some points that you can consider to get the best accident forgiveness policy:

  • Switch your insurance company
    Your present insurance company might increase the cost of your insurance premium after an at-fault accident. But another company might be willing to forgive your recent accident and allow you to add accident forgiveness as a free add-on coverage.
  • Consider the pros as well as cons before buying
    We know accident forgiveness looks like an amazing add-on option but it is not advisable to pay extra money for a policy that you might never need. We have already mentioned the pros and cons of accident forgiveness insurance coverage. You can consider it before investing your money.
  • Check out all the other affordable options
    Look for companies or policies that provide accident forgiveness as a free add-on or customer loyalty reward.

FAQs about Accident Forgiveness Coverage

Can I get accident forgiveness after an accident?

You can get accident forgiveness after an accident but the previous accident will not be forgiven. You will get forgiveness for the accidents that occurred after you pay for accident forgiveness, coverage.

Do you pay extra for accident forgiveness?

Yes, every driver will have to pay an extra of $60 to $100 per vehicle per year for accident forgiveness.

What is the qualification for accident forgiveness?

If you want to purchase accident forgiveness then you must have an accident-free track record of five years or more. It is important to note that the best accident forgiveness companies check at-fault as well as partially at-fault accidents on your track record.

How long does an accident stay on the record?

The exact number of years depends on different companies but in general, an accident stays on the record for 6 years on average.

Is Accident Forgiveness necessary?

Accident forgiveness is not mandatory but advisable to every family that has a high-risk driver. If you have a high-risk driver in your family then the chances of him or her getting into an accident will be higher as a result the insurance rate will increase.

How much does the insurance rate go up after an accident?

There are a lot of factors that affect the insurance rate especially at the time of policy renewal after an accident. It includes the cost of damages, the severity of the accident, the number of people that get injured in the accident, etc.

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Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

Randy Luton is the Founder and CEO of RateForce. He is passionate about InsurTech services and has in-depth knowledge about the auto insurance sector of the USA.