Is Accident Forgiveness Worth It?

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When signing up for your car insurance policy, you may choose to opt-in to pay a little extra for accident forgiveness. If paying that amount means your premium won’t increase if you happen to cause an accident, it would be worth it, right?
Maybe … or maybe not.
Many insurers say they won’t raise your premium because of an at-fault accident claim. However, an accident still might prevent you from getting discounts like free loyalty perks for customers with a clean record.
On the other hand, you may invest in the protection of accident forgiveness and never get into an accident.
So at the end of the day, is the added cost of accident forgiveness even worth it?
Comparing different insurers’ accident forgiveness policies and their loyalty perks can get confusing. That’s why car insurance broker and comparison app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about accident forgiveness.
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What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a car insurance policy add-on that protects your driving record (and premium) from being impacted by your first at-fault accident.
While some companies automatically offer accident forgiveness with your policy, others provide it with an additional surcharge on your premium. To be eligible, most companies will require you to have a clean driving record that stretches back 3-5 years.
Keep in mind, not all states allow accident forgiveness, so double-check what’s available in your state if you’re interested in purchasing accident forgiveness.

Is the risk of a premium increase worth the cost of accident forgiveness?

In most cases, accident forgiveness only applies to one accident per policy, not per driver. If your accident is “forgiven,” it’s still visible on your driving record for up to five years, even if you decide to change insurance providers.
Ultimately, your premium could go up while also losing any “good driver” perks.
If you have never caused an accident and you’re a “good driver,” you may determine that the cost of accident forgiveness just isn’t worth it.
For example, suppose it costs you an additional $200 per year for accident forgiveness coverage, and you don’t have an accident for five years. In this case, you’ve spent $1000 for extra coverage you didn’t use.
On the flip side, if you are a high-risk driver or are at an increased risk for an accident, the extra $200 for accident forgiveness coverage could be worth the additional cost.

What is a chargeable accident?

If you’re more than 50% at fault in an accident, it’s considered a chargeable accident.
That means you and your insurance policy will be responsible for covering some (or all) of the damages.
A chargeable incident stays on your record for three to five years; however, some insurance providers may gradually decrease that surcharge the longer you maintain a clean driving record.
Cases where your premium won’t increase:
  • If you’re rear-ended and not convicted of a moving traffic violation
  • If an animal or falling object was the cause of your accident
“Over the last 3 year I have had a couple accidents along with some citations. My insurance company told me when my policy renews my new rate would be $404 a month! I was about to park the car and just start riding my bike, until I found Jerry. They saved me over $200 per month on my policy!!” — Satisfied Jerry Customer

Accident forgiveness alternatives

If you don’t qualify for accident forgiveness but still want some kind of coverage, don’t stress; some companies provide alternative discounts.
Discounts like the disappearing deductible program allow you to lower your deductible the longer you go without an accident. For some policies, you may even end up not having to pay a deductible when the time comes at all!
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Get the best coverage at an affordable price with Jerry

Accident forgiveness might be worthwhile for your coverage needs or it might not be.
Have a hard time deciding what your coverage needs are in the first place?
It’s this simple: download the Jerry app. In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer.
Choose from competitive quotes from up to 45 top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and cancelling your old one. No long forms. No calling around. No hard work. Just savings. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Can I buy accident forgiveness after an accident?

You can’t buy forgiveness for an accident that has already happened. And if you recently caused an accident, you won’t be eligible to buy forgiveness.

How long does an accident stay on my record?

While it typically stays on your record for three to five years, it varies by state.
For example, in New Jersey, New York, and Texas, insurance providers can only apply surcharge fees for accidents in the previous three years. In states like Massachusetts, the time frame extends to five years.
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