When you’re searching for the right car insurance options, there’s a lot to consider. Admittedly, it’s complicated by the many industry-specific terms with meanings that are not immediately clear—such as terms like accident forgiveness car insurance.
It’s a common question we hear: what is accident forgiveness, and do I need it?
What is Accident Forgiveness Car Insurance?
The promise of a clean slate, by avoiding an increased renewal rate after an accident sounds pretty good doesn’t it? When it’s put like that, it’s hard to imagine selecting an insurance option without it. Unfortunately, it’s not as clear cut as it sounds.
Accident forgiveness is used as a loyalty incentive tool that carriers only offer to low-risk drivers in their book of business. These low-risk drivers are pre-determined based on their accident history with that insurer. If a driver has been accident-free for three to five years, they can qualify for accident insurance.
Generally speaking; accident insurance ‘forgives’ low-risk drivers for their first at-fault accident under this coverage by allowing them to maintain the same rate upon renewal. However, the intricate details may vary by insurer. While this additional coverage can keep a driver’s insurance premium from rising with their current insurance company, it does not work like an eraser. The at-fault accident will still appear on their driving history and can impact future rates going forward, should they choose to explore other insurance carrier options down the road.
So, how does accident forgiveness work in practice? Let’s look at a possible scenario in which accident insurance could help a driver out.
- Scenario 1: First at-fault fender bender
Say a driver has a perfectly clean driving record. They’re on their way to work when they run into an unexpected traffic jam and can’t hit their brakes in time, resulting in a small fender bender. They’ve never caused a collision before and may have never been involved in one, period.
In a situation like this, having accident forgiveness car insurance would protect their premium from rising come renewal time.
Does every insurance company offer it?
Many major insurance carriers present accident forgiveness as an option to add to a car insurance policy if a driver qualifies for it. Typically, these larger carriers only offer it to pre-determined low-risk drivers in their book of business, who haven’t been involved in an accident in three to five years.
At SafeAuto, we determine base premium rates by evaluating the same factors insurance providers review to see if a driver qualifies for additional coverage in the form of accident insurance.
If accident forgiveness isn’t the right coverage option for you, save that paycheck and purchase a policy that better suits your needs. Whether it’s state minimum insurance or something a little more robust—SafeAuto is here to help all drivers find the right car insurance no matter what.
As far as cost goes, there is no standard fee for accident insurance coverage. Some companies charge a percentage of your premium, others charge a flat rate, and others still offer it at no cost to customers through loyalty programs. If you are considering adding this option to your policy, make sure to request more information, as accident forgiveness will have different requirements and details per each insurance carrier.
The average driver will experience four car accidents in their lifetime. It’s rare for a person’s driving history to remain clear their entire life. If you’re one of these average drivers—one of the rest of us—you may want to forego accident forgiveness and seek out an insurer like SafeAuto who can provide you with the coverage you actually need and save money by eliminating the things you don’t.