Many car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness which prevents your car insurance rate from increasing if you are involved in an accident. The way accident forgiveness works varies from insurance company to insurance company. However, it typically only applies to your first at-fault accident.
Should you Get Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness protects you financially if you are in an accident by keeping your insurance premium from skyrocketing. According to a Fox Business News article, depending on the type of accident you are involved in and your driving record, an accident can cause your insurance premium to increase by as much as 40%. This is especially true in the case of Progressive for which 41% is the nationwide average increase for an at-fault accident. This means that if you were originally paying $2100 a year for car insurance and you get in an accident, your rate can increase to $2961 just from one accident.
Carinsurance.com states the average rate increase is 31% for an accident with more than $2000 worth of damage. Thus, car insurance rates tend to jump significantly after you have been involved in an accident. However, accidents unfortunately do happen. The primary way for you to prevent your insurance rate from increasing after an accident is to obtain accident forgiveness as part of your car insurance policy.
Accident forgiveness is not always free. Auto insurance companies may charge up to 10% more for a premium that includes accident forgiveness. Although this is still less than the rate increase you could experience if you have an accident without accident forgiveness, you may never actually need this benefit. Thus, if you have a clean driving record, you may want to weigh the cost of the accident forgiveness versus the chances you will be in an accident.
How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?
Although accident forgiveness varies from insurance company to company, there are some features that are generally consistent. Accident forgiveness is typically only available to drivers with clean driving records or drivers who have not had an at-fault accident in a few years. The primary benefit of accident forgiveness is that your insurance rate does not increase after your first at-fault accident. In this instance, you should note that accident forgiveness typically only applies to the first accident. Another way that accident forgiveness may work is that the insurance company may forgive one accident in a three or five-year time period.
Additionally, accident forgiveness benefits are often accompanied by vanishing deductibles. This means that your deductible may be reduced by $100 each year that you go without having an accident.
Companies That Offer Accident Forgiveness
GEICO offers accident forgiveness everywhere but California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. There are two ways to obtain accident forgiveness through GEICO. You can either earn or purchase the benefit. The free accident forgiveness applies to drivers over 21 who have been accident free for five years. The auto insurance company also offers premium accident forgiveness for which you must meet driving record and experience requirements. You lose the premium rate after an accident; however, your insurance premium does not increase.
Allstate’s accident forgiveness is not free with a clean driving record. Instead, it is part of their YourChoice Auto plan. This plan has a premium price. Thus, you may end up paying a higher rate for a few years to keep from getting a rate increase when you have your first accident. In addition to accident forgiveness, you are also eligible for a 5% discount for every six months that you go accident free.
Progressive claims to offer accident forgiveness to people as soon as they become customers. But its accident forgiveness may be limited to comprehensive claims under $500. This accident forgiveness, however, is free.
Liberty Mutual offers accident forgiveness to policyholders who have been accident free and ticket free for the past five years. This is regardless of whether the policyholder’s policy was with Liberty Mutual or another company during that time. Liberty Mutual won’t raise your rate after your first accident if you have accident forgiveness. The best part of Liberty Mutual’s accident forgiveness is that, unlike other companies, they do not charge for this benefit as long as your qualify.
Nationwide offers accident forgiveness in select states to prevent rate increases for your first at-fault accident. This benefit is not complimentary for people without accidents. Instead, you purchase accident forgiveness from this car insurance company. The accident forgiveness can extend to anyone on the policy, but only one accident is forgiven per policy. This is especially good for parents of teen drivers who are more at risk for accidents. In addition to accident forgiveness, Nationwide also offers good driver discounts for keeping your driving record clean.
An accident can cause your car insurance rates to go up significantly. Many car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to policyholders who have a clean driving record or who have not been involved in an accident for a few years. Accident forgiveness keeps your auto insurance rate from increasing with your first at-fault accident. This may seem like a wonderful benefit when you consider the fact that rates tend to increase by 31% with your first at fault accident with damages over $2000. Accident forgiveness, however, is not offered for free by many car insurance companies. Instead, you must pay a higher premium. Therefore, if accident forgiveness is something you want to consider adding to your insurance coverage, you should request a quote to see how much it will cost you and if this is worth the added increase.