Accident Forgiveness: What Is It and Who Offers It?

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Accident forgiveness is offered by many top insurance carriers in the country. (Photo: @3happytails via Twenty20)
You might have noticed car insurance companies offering something called accident forgiveness in recent years. For the most part, accident forgiveness provides a way to keep your insurance premiums low even after you have an accident. There are many advantages to accident forgiveness, although you should keep a few drawbacks in mind.

What Is Accident Forgiveness and How Does It Work?

Accident forgiveness allows you to cancel a rate increase that usually happens after an at-fault accident. This feature only applies to the first at-fault accident, and only if you have an otherwise clean driving record. Each company that offers this feature usually has its own variation of the program. For example, some may only offer accident forgiveness after you have had a policy with them for a specific amount of time.
Make sure to read the fine print of any accident forgiveness program to gain a better understanding of what you get, any timelines involved, and if the company offers different levels of service, such as gold or platinum protection. Ultimately, you should pick the plan that works best with your budget or decide if you even need such a feature if you maintain a clean driving record.

The Pros and Cons of Accident Forgiveness

Accident forgiveness has advantages and disadvantages, and you should weigh both before opting to take it.
Pros of Accident Insurance
  • Accident forgiveness protects you because even the safest of drivers can find themselves in a collision.
  • Accident forgiveness gives you added assurance when it comes to your premiums. With prices around $30 or less a month, accident forgiveness offers a relatively inexpensive way to keep your car insurance premiums low even with an accident.
Cons of Accident Forgiveness
  • If you have a clean driving record, accident forgiveness might represent a waste of money since you may never use it.
  • Many financial experts consider accident forgiveness to be a waste of money, as protecting you in the case of an accident represents the primary purpose of car insurance in the first place.
  • Accident forgiveness can’t keep a car insurance company from dropping you for getting involved in a severe accident.

Which Car Insurance Companies Offer Accident Forgiveness?

Some of the more popular car insurance companies that offer accident forgiveness include:
  • Allstate: Offered through the company’s Choice Auto Policy, accident forgiveness from Allstate gives discounts to drivers who have a clean driving record. The company also offers a five percent discount for every six months you drive without having an accident.
  • Progressive: Operating through the loyalty rewards program, accident forgiveness from Progressive operates on the principle of resolving small accidents quickly without increasing your premiums.
  • USAA: Available in many states, accident forgiveness from USAA can cost you as little as $1 a month extra on your car insurance premiums.
  • Nationwide: While Nationwide offers accident forgiveness, it only does so in certain states. Like other companies, Nationwide accident forgiveness only counts for one accident per policy.
  • Liberty Mutual: Available in most areas of the country, accident forgiveness from Liberty Mutual comes standard as part of a car insurance policy if you qualify. Applicable to the first at-fault accident you have, the coverage does not extend to drivers in California and North Carolina.
  • Travelers: Accident forgiveness from Travelers applies to only the first accident you have. Travelers also offers a variety of other plans that give added benefits other than accident forgiveness, such as minor violation forgiveness and a decreasing deductible for periods of safe driving.
Accident forgiveness can come in handy if you practice safe-driving habits but still find yourself in a fender bender. And while pros and cons exist for accident forgiveness, by taking into account your driving habits and needs, you could save hundreds in raised premiums if you do have an accident.