Accident Forgiveness Policy Comparison

Do car insurance companies really forgive and forget?

What is accident forgiveness 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, in 2017, an at-fault accident raised insurance rates an average of $582 per year! With price hikes that high, accident forgiveness coverage can be quite 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?
  2. What are the top accident forgiveness car insurance companies?
  3. Is accident forgiveness worth it?




Accident forgiveness car insurance: the basics


In plain english, accident forgiveness means your auto insurer won't raise rate after your first accident. However, this is a very vague way to describe accident forgiveness coverage as it relates to your insurance rates and your relationship with your insurance company.

Accident forgiveness refers to at-fault accidents. Comprehensive claims wouldn't into this category but a collision-type claim would as these are chargeable accidents.





Popular car insurance companies for accident forgiveness


Although these 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 general 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. Furthermore, this policy applies to all members of the household, including teenagers. However, Liberty Mutual only forgives one claim per household, not per driver.

Liberty Mutual accident forgiveness coverage is not available in California.



Nationwide

Nationwide's 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. Geico will forgive your first auto accident caused by anyone on the policy. Geico's accident forgiveness policy can be earned or purchased. In order to earn accident forgiveness through Geico, you need to be over 21 and accident-free for 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 record with Progressive for a certain period of time in order to qualify. So, 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 determined based on how long you have been accident-free (three years versus five years) and how "big" of an accident the company is willing to forgive (small accident versus large).



Allstate

Allstate’s accident forgiveness plan works differently than other policies. To qualify for accident forgiveness through Allstate, you have to pay for it through a 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. On 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. Their 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 even faster 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 3-5 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. While we can’t provide an exact amount of how much this coverage will raise your premium, a licensed agent for your insurance company should be able to quote you the exact cost.



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Accident Forgiveness Policy Comparison

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