What Is Accident Forgiveness Coverage?
Accidents happen. And unfortunately, if you’re at fault, accidents can be expensive for years to come. You can expect your auto insurance premiums to increase at renewal time after an at-fault accident.
To help you avoid this increase, some insurers offer accident forgiveness coverage. Accident forgiveness coverage helps policyholders keep their rates down.
What Is a Chargeable Accident?
A chargeable accident is one where you have fault, as determined by the insurance company. If you’re more than 50% at fault, your accident may be chargeable. A chargeable accident also includes
- Damage do another person’s’ property
- Bodily injury or death
A chargeable accident can be as simple as a fender bender or as serious as totaling someone’s car. Usually, when an insurance company decides an accident is chargeable, it adds a surcharge to your premium.
Unfortunately, a chargeable accident may follow you around for a while. Some insurance companies may gradually decrease your surcharge every year you go without an accident. In many states, your surcharge can be lowered gradually over three years until it disappears completely as long as you’re accident-free.
Accident Forgiveness Insurance Rules:
Even if your car insurance company offers accident forgiveness coverage, not everyone qualifies, and some accidents won’t be eligible for forgiveness. Here are a few examples of common requirements and exclusions you should be aware of:
Clean driving record. Typically, insurers require you to have a clean driving record to qualify for accident forgiveness. For example, to qualify with some companies, all drivers on the policy over age 25 must have no chargeable at‐fault accidents, no more than one minor or speeding citation and no DUIs. Drivers under age 25 must have no traffic violations or citations of any kind.
One accident per policy. Accident forgiveness is not an unlimited pass. Usually it allows forgiveness for only one at-fault accident per policy, even if you have multiple drivers on the policy.
Accident forgiveness isn’t offered by every insurance company.
Gateway Companies That Do Offer Accident Forgiveness:
It’s important to note that each insurance company may have different features and requirements for their accident forgiveness coverage.
Travelers offers a Responsible Driver Plan that includes accident forgiveness coverage and minor violation forgiveness.
This plan forgives one minor violation and one accident every three years.
Two attractive packages
- Responsible Driver Plan offers valuable features like Accident Forgiveness and Minor Violation Forgiveness.
- Premier Responsible Driver Plan includes Accident Forgiveness, Minor Violation Forgiveness, Decreasing Deductible® and Total Loss Deductible Waiver.
Safeco offers accident forgiveness as an additional coverage.
To qualify, drivers must have zero accidents within the last three years and no traffic violation within the last five years. Drivers under age 25 must have five years of a completely clean driving record before they qualify.
Progressive customers can receive small accident forgiveness and large accident forgiveness coverage through the Progressive Loyalty Rewards program.
With small accident coverage, your rate doesn’t go up for claims less than $500. With large accident forgiveness, you can receive forgiveness for more expensive accidents if you’ve been a Progressive customer for at least five years and accident-free for three straight years.
Should I Get Accident Forgiveness?
First, take a look at the cost.
For instance, if it costs $150 per year to add accident forgiveness coverage and you don’t have an accident within 10 years, you’re spending an extra $1,500 for coverage you didn’t need.
Having a high-risk driver on your policy might make accident forgiveness worth it. But if all drivers have clean driving records and a good amount of driving experience, forgiveness may not be worth the extra cost.
Also, if you do not drive much, you may have less chance of causing an accident.
You cannot buy forgiveness for an accident that has already happened or if you have recently caused an accident, you may not be eligible for accident forgiveness immediately.
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