What Is Accident Forgiveness, and Who Offers it?
A growing trend among automobile insurers is to offer "accident forgiveness" as an enticement for customers to buy an automobile policy. These insurance companies know that everyone is looking for ways to save on auto insurance. Questions may come to mind, such as "What exactly is accident forgiveness, who offers it, and do I qualify?" Let’s take a closer look at accident forgiveness and see if it’s right for you.
What Is Accident Forgiveness?
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 because of an at-fault accident. Not every at-fault accident is going to be forgiven by an insurance company. This usually only applies 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. You can always inquire if you qualify for accident forgiveness, and it is ultimately up to the insurance company. Some companies automatically offer accident forgiveness while others allow you to purchase it as an endorsement to your auto policy. You should remember that even though the insurance company does not consider the accident in the price of your insurance, the accident is still on your driving record.
Who Offers It?
Here are some of the leading car insurance companies offering accident forgiveness along with details about this discount:
- Allstate - Allstate offers accident forgiveness through its "Choice Auto Policy." This policy offers discounts to drivers with safe driving records. In addition to accident forgiveness, you can also receive a discount of 5% for every six months that you go without having an accident.
- Progressive - Progressive Insurance offers a form of accident forgiveness through 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 offers accident forgiveness for as little as $1 per month. The coverage is available in most states.
- Nationwide - Nationwide offers accident forgiveness only 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 comes standard with the auto policy to qualified customers. It only applies to the first at-fault accident. The accident forgiveness option is not available in CA or NC.
- GEICO – GEICO awards certain drivers with accident forgiveness after they have reached 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 provides auto policy holders with first accident forgiveness, meaning your first accident doesn’t count against you if you meet the qualifications. Accident forgiveness is a part of The Hartford’s Advantage Plus package.
Do I Qualify?
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 three years or an excessive amount of speeding tickets or other moving violations on your driving record, chances are that you will not qualify.
Even if you do not qualify for accident forgiveness, don't despair. 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.
In the unfortunate event that you do find yourself in an automobile accident, make sure you follow all the necessary steps of what to do after an auto accident. After you take care of all the essentials, check with your insurance carrier to see if you qualify for accident forgiveness. If you qualify for accident forgiveness, it may be the very thing that keeps your auto insurance premium from sky-rocketing out of control.
While talking to an insurance professional about accident forgiveness, why not ask about any other programs or discounts that may save you money on your auto insurance premium? Find out more about teenage driver discounts, disappearing deductibles and pay-as-you-go auto insurance.