Accident Forgiveness Policy Comparison

Do car insurance companies really forgive and forget?

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

What is accident forgiveness car insurance coverage?


If you’ve ever been in a car accident before, you understand there are often serious financial consequences — especially if the accident is your fault. In fact, an at-fault accident raises auto insurance rates by an average of $582 per year! With price hikes that high, accident forgiveness coverage can be tempting.

But what does "accident forgiveness car insurance" really mean? The answer can get pretty complicated — and we'll sort it out in a second — but for now, the short answer: it depends on your insurer. Let’s explore accident forgiveness policies across some major insurance companies.


  1. What is accident forgiveness auto insurance?
  2. What's the best car insurance with accident forgiveness?
  3. Is accident forgiveness car insurance worth it?



Accident forgiveness auto insurance: the basics


Accident forgiveness ensures your auto insurer won't raise your rates after your first accident.

Accident forgiveness refers specifically to at-fault accidents. Comprehensive claims wouldn't fit into this category, but a collision-type claim would, as it is considered a chargeable accident.




Finding the best car insurance with accident forgiveness


Although the following insurers advertise accident forgiveness car insurance, not everyone who applies will qualify for the program. Eligibility is based on individual qualifications and location. Insurers in some states — notably California— do not offer accident forgiveness programs. Below is a comparison of accident forgiveness programs across major auto insurance companies.


Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual’s accident forgiveness policy is straightforward. If you're accident-free for five years (with any company), Liberty Mutual will forgive your first accident and not raise your rates. This policy applies to all drivers in the household, including teenagers. Liberty Mutual only forgives one claim per household, not per driver.

Liberty Mutual auto accident forgiveness coverage is not available in California.


Nationwide

Nationwide's car accident forgiveness program is available at an added cost. Like many other accident forgiveness policies, Nationwide forgives your first at-fault auto accident on the policy. Nationwide couples another discount to the policy: a safe driving discount, in which you would receive an additional 10% discount if you remain accident-free for five years.


GEICO

GEICO’s accident forgiveness offers a unique add-on to the general program outline offered by other companies. The company will forgive your first auto accident, no matter who on the policy is found at-fault. GEICO accident forgiveness can be earned or purchased. In order to earn accident forgiveness through GEICO, you need to be older than 21 and have an accident-free recent driving history (five years).

This coverage is not available in California, Connecticut, or Massachusetts.


Progressive

Progressive's accident forgiveness program is a tiered loyalty program. While you don't pay extra for it, you must be insured with an accident-free driving record with Progressive for a certain period of time in order to qualify. Even if you've been accident-free for decades, you would not immediately qualify for Progressive's accident forgiveness if you're a new customer. Tiers are assigned based on how long you have been accident-free (three years versus five years) and how major an incident the company is willing to forgive (small payout versus large).



Allstate

Allstate's accident forgiveness plan works differently than other accident forgiveness car insurance policies. To qualify for accident forgiveness through Allstate, you must pay using the company's Gold or Platinum coverage plan. Together, these plans are known as the YourChoice Auto plan. For a gold plan, you need to go three years without an accident in order to be eligible for accident forgiveness. With the platinum plan, your accident forgiveness begins immediately.

This coverage is not available in California.


Erie

Erie insurance offers several options for accident forgiveness coverage. The first, more standard coverage, First Accident Forgiveness, follows the same concept as other companies: the first accident isn't chargeable. The company's second feature, called Feature 15, refers to a loyalty program that forgiveness all at-fault auto accidents if you are with Erie for 15 years. The company does not specify whether you need to be claim-free for the 15-year term in order to qualify, so you would need to speak with your agent to see if you are eligible.



Travelers

Travelers offers auto accident and minor violation forgiveness for a fee. Both forgive one accident or violation every three years. In terms of the monetary cost of a "violation," it is not clear if they are referring to driving without your lights on (about $50 per year), speeding (depends on how much you are exceeding the speed limit by) or a DUI ($1,168 annual increase). If you're with Travelers, ask your accident exactly which kind of violation they are referring to.




Is accident forgiveness car insurance worth it?


Deciding on whether or not to purchase accident forgiveness coverage and which insurer to use are difficult choices. You'd want it if you need it, but is the price worth the payout? Here are some other questions you should ask yourself before making a decision:


  • How likely are you or someone on your policy to be in an at-fault accident or to file a claim?
  • Does the coverage apply to everyone on the policy? Especially inexperienced or risky drivers?
  • Is the additional premium of the coverage less than the increased rate of an at-fault accident?

If your head is spinning after those questions, don't panic. Let's walk through the considerations.

First, consider whether anyone on your policy is a high-risk driver. These policies can apply to all members of your household, including teen drivers. If you’re worried about an inexperienced family member, consider this policy. If you’ve never had an accident in your adult life and have a clean claims record, you might not need this coverage.

Always read the fine print of your policy to look for hidden caveats. If you're interested in accident forgiveness to cover your teenage son but teenagers are excluded from your insurer's clause, you should consider other options. Another common clause includes: all drivers must be accident-free for three to five years in order to qualify. In this case, a newly licensed driver might have trouble getting accident forgiveness coverage, as they might not have a driving record longer than a few months.

The third question is a little harder to answer. The amount you’d pay for an at-fault accident depends on many variables. On average, expect to pay $291 more per six-month term after an at-fault accident. Considering you’ll be charged for three years after most at-fault accidents, you’ll be charged $1,746 in addition to whatever your premium is for your accident.


Increase at 6 monthsIncrease at 12 monthsIncrease at 3 Years
$291$582$1,746

So, if you’re worried about the likelihood of having an at-fault accident and that scary $1,700 chargeable premium, consider accident forgiveness. A licensed insurance agency should be able to quote you the exact cost of adding accident forgiveness to your policy.


Compare rates and find the best accident forgiveness policy for you!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.
Additional Resources:

Accident Forgiveness Policy Comparison

Chevron left icon
What is the State of Auto Insurance in 2018?
What is the State of Auto Insurance in 2018?
Feb 06, 2018

Well, we’ve done it again. We’ve gone and gotten super curious about how car insurance is impacting the 250 million...

What Happens if You Crash a Zipcar?
What Happens if You Crash a Zipcar?
Jan 09, 2018

Car sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go allow city dwellers to forego car ownership without losing all of the perks....

What I Learned After Totaling My Car 450 Miles from Home
What I Learned After Totaling My Car 450 Miles from Home
Jan 03, 2018

This past May, I took a road trip from Rhode Island to West Virginia to attend a friend’s wedding. Despite...

Do Keyless Ignitions Actually Put Your Car – and Your Life – at Higher Risk?
Do Keyless Ignitions Actually Put Your Car – and Your Life – at Higher Risk?
Dec 14, 2017

No broken windows. No lengthy process of wedging the door open. No hotwiring, no alarm, no concerned passerby dialing 911....

How to File a Car Insurance Claim: Steps, Timing, and Costs to Expect
How to File a Car Insurance Claim: Steps, Timing, and Costs to Expect
Dec 01, 2017

You get in an accident or your car is pummeled with hail. You need to figure out how to get...

Survey: Americans in the Dark about Car Insurance
Survey: Americans in the Dark about Car Insurance
Oct 24, 2017

“What you don’t know can’t hurt you…” … is an entirely false statement in the world of auto insurance. Car...

Introducing the Insurability Score: Your Insurance Risk Decoder
Introducing the Insurability Score: Your Insurance Risk Decoder
Oct 24, 2017

Today, The Zebra debuted the Insurability Score™, a personalized calculation which reveals to drivers what is affecting their insurance risk,...

6 Things to Know Before You Get Car Insurance
6 Things to Know Before You Get Car Insurance
Oct 04, 2017

Let’s get one thing out there. No one is especially psyched to get car insurance. You get it because it’s...

Editorial: A Need for Optionality in Insurance
Editorial: A Need for Optionality in Insurance
Sep 19, 2017

Today The Zebra announced that we closed a record-breaking $40 million Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. As...

Car Warranty vs. Insurance: Which You Need and When
Car Warranty vs. Insurance: Which You Need and When
Sep 07, 2017

Anyone who has ever owned a “lemon” (a car that’s a dud) knows how stressful and costly car repairs can...

Religious Exemptions for Car Insurance: Are They Legal?
Religious Exemptions for Car Insurance: Are They Legal?
Aug 09, 2017

In nearly every conceivable scenario, if you’re driving around in a motor vehicle, there is no reason why you should...

Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Flooding?
Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Flooding?
Aug 07, 2017

If you don’t live in a flood plain, making sure your car insurance covers flood damage might be low on...

Can Your Bank Force You to Get Car Insurance?
Can Your Bank Force You to Get Car Insurance?
Aug 03, 2017

Wells Fargo is now finding themselves in hot water over the recent reports that they charged over 570,000 customers for...

How to Update Your Driver’s License When You Move to a New State
How to Update Your Driver’s License When You Move to a New State
Jul 28, 2017

Moving to a new state can be an exciting adventure. As with most moves, it requires a bit of paperwork...

When Can You Let Your Friend Drive Your Car (and When Shouldn’t You)?
When Can You Let Your Friend Drive Your Car (and When Shouldn’t You)?
Jul 26, 2017

It’s not uncommon for your friend to share your clothes, your skillet, or your favorite movie. And for those types...

Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
Jul 19, 2017

You know you need good credit to take out a loan, a mortgage, or your friend with expensive taste. But...

What Are Your Options When Your Car Lease Ends?
What Are Your Options When Your Car Lease Ends?
Jul 17, 2017

Of course there are many reasons you might want to lease your car. Perhaps you like the idea of driving...

How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
Jun 15, 2017

If you’re one of the 250 million drivers in the United States, you’re required by law to have car insurance....

CLUE Report: Why Does it Matter for Your Home and Auto Insurance?
CLUE Report: Why Does it Matter for Your Home and Auto Insurance?
Jun 06, 2017

When searching for an insurance policy, it’s important for consumers to do their due diligence and compare quotes before choosing...

Car Insurance for Seniors
Car Insurance for Seniors
May 26, 2017

Some senior stats for you: By 2030, one in five Americans will be over 65. The first of the baby...

Digital Insurance Cards: Which States Accept Them?
Digital Insurance Cards: Which States Accept Them?
May 19, 2017

You probably already take care of your banking errands on your phone (thanks, mobile check deposits!). You may have shown...

6 Reasons to Leave Your Car Insurance Company
6 Reasons to Leave Your Car Insurance Company
May 05, 2017

You might be familiar with a few scenarios that could make your auto insurance rates change: You bought a new...

5 Tips to Consider Before Financing Your Car
5 Tips to Consider Before Financing Your Car
Apr 21, 2017

Buying a new (or new-to-you) car can be an overwhelming process. First, you need to research all your options to...

7 Car Rental Mistakes That Could Cost You
7 Car Rental Mistakes That Could Cost You
Apr 11, 2017

Rental cars offer tremendous convenience. Whether you need a vehicle to help you explore a vacation destination or get you...

Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers: 6 Things You Should Know
Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers: 6 Things You Should Know
Apr 03, 2017

A driver’s license is more than just permission to take to the open road. To many, including first-time drivers, it...

Chevron right icon