Accident forgiveness isn’t normally offered by automobile insurers, but this increasingly popular insurance offering can draw you in if you’re looking to save money on car insurance premiums.
Accident forgiveness doesn’t forgive all of your accidents. Each insurer will have its own set of rules on what accidents they will forgive. It’s important to learn all about accident forgiveness to ensure that this policy add-on is something you need. Paying extra every month for peace mind can be worth it for accident-prone individuals, but accident forgiveness isn’t for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before considering buying accident forgiveness insurance for your vehicle.
Paying extra every month for peace mind can be worth it for accident-prone individuals, but accident forgiveness isn’t for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before considering buying accident forgiveness insurance for your vehicle.
What is Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness can be an invaluable part of a car insurance policy. The policy addendum ensures that your driving habits won’t negatively affect your car insurance premium in the future. After an accident, car insurance premiumstend to significantly increase. Keep in mind, not all accidents will be covered under an accident forgiveness policy. Policies usually only cover the first at-fault accident under certain circumstances. Furthermore, accident forgiveness does not prevent an accident from going on your driving record.
How Insurers Offer Accident Forgiveness
Many major car insurers offer accident forgiveness, albeit, in a variety of ways. Accident forgiveness policies will vary by insurance carriers, but many offer this exciting feature to loyal customers with a clean record at no cost. Other insurance companies may offer accident forgiveness as an endorsement or in addition to a pre-existing insurance policy at an extra cost.
Add-on or Insurance Package
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness as an endorsement or add-on to a larger insurance package. Other major insurance carriers may include accident forgiveness as part of a premium insurance package.
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to long-term customers that have a clean driving record. That means you won’t have to pay higher premiums for an accident, even if it was your fault. You need at least a few years of clean driving to qualify for this perk.
Paid and Free Accident Forgiveness
Some insurance companies may offer accident forgiveness add-ons to new and risky drivers. They may also offer free accident forgiveness to their best and safe-driving customers.
Common Accident Insurance Details
Your accident forgiveness policy will differ by insurance carriers. Some insurers will wait until you have maintained a few years of clean driving before offering you accident forgiveness. They may require anywhere between three to nine years of safe driving for you to qualify for accident forgiveness. It’s important to make note of the number of accidents forgiven under your policy.
Some insurers will only forgive one accident per policy, regardless of the number of drivers and vehicles covered. Other insurers may allow an accident to be forgiven every one, three, or five years depending on your state’s laws. Generally, accident surcharges won’t apply, and premiums won’t increase after a forgiven accident.
Make note of insurers’ policies on what happens after an accident is forgiven. Some insurers may remove your good driver discount, while others may keep it after an accident. Additionally, insurers can forgive multiple minor violations, fender benders, and even at-fault accidents under some policies.
Do You Qualify for Accident Forgiveness?
Your current insurance company may not offer accident forgiveness at the moment. Sometimes, even if it is offered, you may not qualify for accident forgiveness perks. If you have been involved in multiple car crashes, whether minor or serious, you may not qualify. Multiple speeding and other moving violations can also disqualify you from receiving accident forgiveness for free or even as an add-on service.
Not qualifying for accident forgiveness isn’t the end of the world. Take advantage of all of your other car insurance discounts. The only way to qualify for accident forgiveness in the future is to keep a clean driving record for many years. Insurance companies are increasingly offering “disappearing deductibles” that lower your insurance deductible the longer you go without a car accident or moving violation.
Is Accident Forgiveness Worth It?
Going without accident forgiveness can dramatically increase your premiums in case of an accident. Insurance rates and surcharges vary by insurer, but you can expect to pay an extra $500 per year if you don’t have accident forgiveness. Some individuals may experience an almost 50 percent increase in insurance premiums after an accident.
Increased insurance premiums after an accident can last anywhere from three to five years. If you’re thinking about buying accident forgiveness, then expect to pay 2 to 9 percent more per bill, depending on your state and insurance company. Going too long without an accident and paying for accident forgiveness, however, can add up over time.
Finally, accident forgiveness won’t solve all of your insurance problems. Accident forgiveness will reduce premiums, but also may remove discounts that can end up increasing your premium. For example, good driver discount savings of 10 percent or higher won’t apply after an accident, even with accident forgiveness, with some companies. Here are a few other ways that accident forgiveness can affect your rate:
Even if you have accident forgiveness, that won’t stop your insurance company from reporting the accident and claim to insurance reporting agencies. The accident won’t affect your rate, but your accident will still go on your driving record.
Insurance companies set a predetermined rate increase in the case of a car accident. Surcharges depend on the insurance company. Some insurers will waive a surcharge after the first accident or after an accident with minimal damage costs.
When it’s time to renew your policy, all bets are off. You may have to start from scratch and have to pay increased rates based on your previous claims and violations. You may even be dropped as a customer.
Accident forgiveness may cover your minor fender bender, but you may lose out on all of your hard-earned discounts. Good driver discounts, for example, can be rescinded after an accident.
Not every claim will be considered an accident. An insurance company will ensure that your case is, in fact, an accident. Typically, insurers consider a case to be an accident if a claim is more than a certain dollar amount, usually $750, and you are partially at fault.
Who Can Benefit from Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness isn’t for everyone, but it can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re worried about getting in a car accident and having to pay higher insurance premiums. Accident forgiveness can be used, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, or if the other driver didn’t have insurance.
Accident forgiveness can also benefit parents with teenage drivers on their car insurance policy. Young drivers are associated with a higher accident rate due to their inexperience behind the wheel. Essentially, you’re determining how at-risk you are to get in a car accident. Common considerations for accident insurance include the following:
Population in the area
Time of day driving
Risky driving habits
Is Accident Forgiveness Offered in All States?
California drivers don’t have the option of adding accident forgiveness onto their existing insurance policy. After California’s Proposition 103 passed in 1988, insurers have not been able to offer accident forgiveness. More specifically, the law states that insurers can’t use a customer’s location, city of residence, or ZIP code to set their rates. In spite of the rules, car insurance rates in California are heavily influenced by a customer’s location.
Keeping Premiums Low
If you’re considering adding accident forgiveness onto your existing insurance policy, then you’re probably wondering about other ways to save money on car insurance. Accident forgiveness can only cover you so far and sometimes may not be available in your state or for you, specifically. Here are a few other ways that you can reduce your auto insurance rates.
Compare Insurance Rates
Shop around for car insurance quotes online to find the most cost-effective rate for you. Every insurance company handles risk assessment differently, which can lead to different and lower rates. Additionally, a new insurance company may offer you accident forgiveness to entice you to choose their car insurance.
Low Mileage Discounts
Low mileage discounts can be earned by reducing the amount of time you spend behind the wheel. If you rarely drive, then you may be eligible for a low-mileage discount. Taking the bus and carpooling could also be pertinent information for your insurance company to determine your insurance rate.
One way insurance companies may assess risk by looking at your credit score among other factors. It’s important to maintain a good credit score, pay bills on time, and take care of any errors on your credit score.
Bundling Under One Insurance Company
Bundling homeand auto insurance could be one way to save money and receive a multi-policy discount that can save you at least 20 percent on your premiums. Of course, bundling isn’t the best option in every case, so it’s important to read the fine print.
Reduce Coverage on Older Car
If you own an old car that wouldn’t be worth repairing, then you can consider eliminating your collision coverage. Almost all states require you to have at least liability insurance. If you have comprehensive insurance and collision coverage, then you may be overpaying on your insurance.
Offset your insurance premium by opting for a higher deductible. That means you’ll pay high out-of-pocket costs, but lower monthly bills. Make sure you have enough to cover your deductible before committing to a high deductible.
Insurance companies favor drivers that don’t get in accidents and follow the rules of the road. Safe drivers can save 5 percent or more on their insurance premium. Insurance rates can go even lower after multiple years of clean driving.
Buy a Safe Car
New and safe cars often feature state-of-the-art technology to keep you safe on the road. Some insurance companies offer car safety discounts for features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning systems, and collision-avoidance systems. Other important safety features include anti-lock brakes, air bags, and automatic seat belts.
Accident forgiveness isn’t the only way to stop your premiums from increasing but can be a helpful option for drivers who are more accident-prone. Safe and infrequent drivers, however, don’t necessarily need accident forgiveness. If you’re ready to have peace of mind, don’t hesitate to add accident forgiveness onto your policy. Speak with an adjuster from Acceptance Insurance to find the best rate for your vehicle with or without accident forgiveness.