What Is Accident Forgiveness?

Definition & Examples of Accident Forgiveness

Image shows accident forgiveness quick facts: This feature of an auto insurance policy protects your driving record and prevents your insurance premium from going up due to an accident you caused. Offered by many, but not all, major car insurance providers. Whether you qualify depends on your previous record of accidents and speeding tickets.

Image by Miguel Co © The Balance 2020

Accident forgiveness is a feature of an auto insurance policy that protects your driving record from being affected by the insurance company's rating system for an at-fault accident, thus preventing your insurance premium from going up due to this type of accident.

What Is Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a way to save on auto insurance. Not every at-fault accident will be forgiven by an insurance company. This usually applies only to your first at-fault accident and then only if your driving record is otherwise clean. Every auto insurance carrier has its own policy and procedure for accident forgiveness.

How Accident Forgiveness Works

Some companies automatically offer accident forgiveness while others allow you to purchase it as an endorsement to your auto policy. You can always inquire if you qualify. It's worth inquiring because the surcharge for an at-fault accident can be as much as 90%, depending on the state you live in, the nature of the at-fault accident, and the age of the driver. In addition, you may pay this surcharge in the form of premium increases for up to three years, depending on the insurance carrier. So if you pay your premium monthly, you could see a monthly increase. If you pay twice a year, you'd see increases each time.

Even though the insurance company does not consider the accident in the price of your insurance, the accident is still on your driving record.

Not every company offers accident forgiveness with its car insurance policy. Check with your insurance agent to find out if your insurance company offers accident forgiveness. Even if it is offered, you may not qualify. If you have multiple auto accidents in the past few years or an excessive amount of speeding tickets or other moving violations on your driving record, chances are you will not qualify.

Alternatives to Accident Forgiveness

Even if you do not qualify for accident forgiveness, other auto insurance discounts may be available to you.

In time, as you clean up your driving record, you will qualify for more discounts. The longer you go with a clean driving record, the more discounts you will qualify to receive.

One other discount you can check into is the disappearing deductible program offered by many auto insurers. Driving discounts for students with good grades and pay-as-you-go insurance are additional ways to get premium discounts.

What Companies Offer Accident Forgiveness?

Here are some of the leading car insurance companies offering accident forgiveness along with details about this discount:

  • Allstate: Allstate accident forgiveness is an add-on. This option offers discounts to drivers with safe driving records. In addition to accident forgiveness, you can also receive a discount for every six months you go without having an accident.​
  • Progressive: Progressive's accident forgiveness is part of its "loyalty rewards" program. With this program, small accidents are forgiven with the idea of quickly resolving small claims without increasing the customer's insurance premium.​
  • USAA: USAA accident forgiveness is free with no at-fault accidents after five years. The coverage is available in most states.​
  • Nationwide: Nationwide's accident forgiveness is only available in certain states. The accident forgiveness can also extend to other drivers on your policy. The "forgiveness" only applies to one accident per policy.​
  • Liberty Mutual: Liberty Mutual's accident forgiveness can be purchased with the auto policy by qualified customers. It only applies to the first at-fault accident. The accident forgiveness option is not available in California.
  • GEICO: GEICO accident forgiveness is available to certain drivers who reach a milestone anniversary and have also maintained a safe driving record. Qualified drivers may also purchase accident forgiveness. You can purchase accident forgiveness when initially buying auto coverage or upon renewal of the policy.
  • The Hartford: The Hartford's accident forgiveness program doesn’t count your first accirdent against you if you meet the qualifications. Accident forgiveness is a part of The Hartford’s Advantage Plus package.

Key Takeaways

  • Accident forgiveness is a way to save money on your insurance premium by keeping an at-fault accident off your chargeable record.
  • It is usually available only to those with clean driving records.
  • Ask your insurance agent if you are eligible.
  • Not all insurance companies offer it, but there can be other ways to save money on your premium.