What Is Accident Forgiveness And Do I Need It?

February 19, 2020

It doesn’t matter how clean your driving record may be – no one is immune to a car accident. Being found at-fault in an auto accident can sent your insurance rates through the roof. Accident Forgiveness may seem like a good idea in that case, but is it?

Let’s delve a bit deeper into what accident forgiveness is and if it’s worth it for you to purchase the added coverage.

What is accident forgiveness coverage?

Carriers like Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, GEICO and others offer “Accident Forgiveness” which is an add-on to your policy. It’s usually reserved for the best customers – meaning the most reliable when it comes to their driving record. Its role is to protect you from a rise in in rates if you were to cause an accident. This isn’t an on-going protection, though. It’s usually only a one-time save. Once you’ve had an accident forgiven, your insurer probably won’t forgive another.

How does it work?

Like stated above, being in an at-fault accident puts you in the position to have your insurance rates rise significantly. With accident forgiveness, your driving record can remain clean from your accident and won’t raise your premium.

Every carrier deals with this differently. Some companies may require you to have a clean driving record for up to 5 years under the policy you have before you are eligible for accident forgiveness. Others may offer it immediately.

Most companies will only forgive one accident that you cause, while others may restart the clock again in 3 to 6 years. Others may require the driver to have a clean moving violation record as well.

With accidents on your record, it can make finding affordable insurance extremely tough – accident forgiveness isn’t free, but it gives you an offset rate increase.

“Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual company, has what it calls a Rewind program that forgives an at-fault accident immediately and doesn’t require several years of claims-free history. To participate, users must install a telematics device into their car to collect data as they drive, including speed, quick starts and hard stops. The data is collected after four months to determine how safe the driver is and if the accident will be forgiven. Instead of proving you’re a safe driver before causing an accident, Rewind allows drivers to prove it afterwards”, insuramatch.com.

Should you get it?

If you’re a teenage driver, this may be a good option for you. Young drivers are more likely to get in car accidents compared to experienced drivers. Having teenagers on your policy is already raising your rates since they have increased risk – accident forgiveness could ease the pain of rates going up after a child’s first accident.

If you have a clean record and you consider yourself a safe driver you may not benefit from this – as you are (hopefully) already paying low rates due to your driving record.  Buying more insurance, some critics say, is an unnecessary expense.

Talk to your insurer

If you’re still wondering if Accident Forgiveness makes sense for you, talk to your insurance provider and ask how much your rates would raise if you happened to get in an accident. You can also ask them if it will be worth it for you to purchase. If the potential rate increase is less than the cost of added insurance, it may not be right for you.

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