Wouldn’t it be cool if your auto insurance company “forgave you” and didn’t increase your rate if you got involved in a car accident? Well, good news – many companies do! This benefit is known as “accident forgiveness,” and some companies include it as part of their standard auto insurance policy. Others offer it as an optional add-on to your standard coverage. But what is accident forgiveness coverage? How does it work and is it right for you? Let’s take a look.
What is accident forgiveness on car insurance?
“Accident forgiveness guarantees that a driver’s auto insurance rate won’t increase if he or she gets into an accident. This often applies to other family members, too, including teenage drivers,” explains Tina Willis, a personal injury lawyer and owner of Tina Willis Law in Orlando, Fla.
Coverage is limited, however, and there are limitations. For example, many companies require you to be accident-free for a certain number of years before you can be eligible for accident forgiveness.
Companies also will limit how many accidents they will “forgive.” In many cases, this benefit covers only one accident per policy, not per driver.
Some companies won’t offer accident forgiveness if you were involved in an accident during the prior five years. Others only forgive one accident for every three years of claim-free driving.
Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to keep in mind when considering accident forgiveness.
- Offers protection if you’re involved in an accident
- Provides a way to keep your premiums low even after an accident.
- Your rate won’t increase after the first accident that involves someone on your policy
- Forgiveness is usually limited in some way, depending on the insurer
- Coverage might cost you more whether it’s part of a standard policy or included as an addon
- Could end up being a waste of money in the long run if you don’t use the coverage
Is accident forgiveness coverage worth the cost?
This is a tricky question to answer because there’s no way to find out how much your insurance rate might go up if you were involved in an accident.
However, there is no question that an accident, particularly if it’s at-fault, will affect your rates. In some states, like California, rates can increase by 86%.
Rate adjustments after an accident vary from one insurer to another and can change from time to time within the same company.
“It’s hard to say how much an accident will affect your rate, other than it will, mostly likely, go up,” says Brad Goldsberry, agency producer at The Nate Bingel Agency – Farmers Insurance in Northglenn, Colo.
Rich drivers get better deals than safe drivers
On the other hand, there could be offsetting factors that would mitigate a rate increase, like getting older or having a higher credit score.
What may surprise you is that, according to a report by Consumer Federation of America, major insurers charge customers with perfect driving records more than high-income customers with recent accidents or even DUIs.
Accident forgiveness coverage offers the most value for drivers who insure only a few cars on one policy and don’t have frequent claims.
Insuring more cars and having multiple claims makes accident forgiveness coverage less valuable because the benefit usually only applies to one-accident per policy.
Also, if you’re able to easily afford a higher premium after being involved in an accident, you might not want to spend more upfront to get this coverage.
“As with any insurance, it’s difficult to say whether the cost is worth the coverage,” says Willis. “If you don’t use the coverage, you wasted your money. If you have an accident, you’ll be thankful you purchased it.”
Interested in comparing the rates of carriers that offer accident forgiveness? All the insurance companies below offer it.
Should you get accident forgiveness coverage?
Accident forgiveness coverage can be smart to have if you’re worried that your auto insurance rate might increase if you’re involved in an accident.
You can use this benefit even if you weren’t at fault for the accident or if the driver who caused it didn’t have insurance.
It can also make sense if you have young adult or teenage drivers on your policy. These age groups are involved in more accidents because they’re less experienced drivers.
13 companies that offer accident forgiveness coverage
Insurance companies that offer accident forgiveness coverage include: