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How Erie’s Accident Forgiveness Actually Works

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Erie Insurance offers first accident forgiveness to those drivers who go at least three years without an at-fault accident. Essentially, this policy add-on waives the surcharge for your first at-fault accident, preventing your rates from skyrocketing.
  • Erie Insurance offers roadside assistance coverage for just $5 a year.
  • Erie’s roadside assistance coverage is only available to customers with comprehensive or collision insurance.
  • Erie’s roadside assistance includes 20+ miles of free towing, lockout support, fuel delivery, and more.

Does Erie Insurance offer accident forgiveness for auto insurance?

Yes—Erie offers free first-accident forgiveness to customers who have gone at least three years without an at-fault accident (although this three-year wait-period does not apply in all fifty states).

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a policy perk added to an existing auto insurance policy that will waive the surcharge, which would typically be added to your insurance premium after a chargeable accident (e.g. an at-fault accident).
First accident forgiveness helps avoid drastic rate increases and can even allow you to keep good driver discounts.

How Erie’s first accident forgiveness works

As previously mentioned, a policy can only earn Erie’s first accident forgiveness by maintaining a
clean, accident-free record
for at least three years as an Erie policyholder. Once you cross that three-year mark, you automatically qualify for free first accident forgiveness in the event of an at-fault accident (unless you live in New York, in which case accident forgiveness applies to both at-fault and not-at-fault accidents).
Keep in mind that first accident forgiveness can only be used once per policy, not per driver—this also means that all persons included in the policy must be accident-free for a period of three years to be eligible for accident forgiveness in the first place.
It should be noted, however, that Erie’s accident forgiveness perk will not apply if you opted for Erie’s Rate Lock feature when you first purchased the insurance policy.
MORE: How different types of car accidents affect your insurance rates
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How much do your car insurance rates go up after an accident with Erie?

On average, you can expect your Erie auto insurance rates to increase by approximately 50% after an accident. The exact amount of any increase will depend on several factors, such as who was at fault, the extent of the damages, your own accident/claims history, and whether you qualify for first accident forgiveness.
An at-fault accident that causes serious damage (and thereby expensive claims) will generally result in a more extreme rate increase, whereas an accident that results in minor damage and is caused by another driver will typically incur a less-drastic price-hike.

What other companies have accident forgiveness?

Generally speaking, accident forgiveness—in some form—is offered by most major car insurance companies, with the exception being State Farm. It’s typically treated as a reward for safe driving or company loyalty, as is the case for Erie Insurance.
Other car insurance companies that offer accident forgiveness include:
  • Nationwide
    : Optional coverage upgrade that will waive the surcharge for your first moving violation or accident
  • Travelers
    : Offers optional coverage with forgiveness for one minor violation and one accident every three years.
  • Allstate
    : Becomes available for purchase once you go three to five years without an accident.
  • GEICO
    : Offers free accident forgiveness to drivers who go five years without an at-fault accident.
  • Liberty Mutual
    : May be purchased by drivers who have gone five years without an accident or traffic violation
  • Farmers
    : For every three years with a clean record, you are allowed one at-fault accident.
  • Progressive
    : Small accident forgiveness is free for all customers; large accident forgiveness, on the other hand, is only offered to customers who’ve held a Progressive auto insurance policy for five years and who have been accident-free for at least three years
  • USAA
    : Coverage option that may be added if all household members have been free of at-fault accidents for a period of at least five years

How much does accident forgiveness cost?

As is the case with auto insurance itself, the cost of accident forgiveness varies depending on the company—although it also depends largely on whether you purchase accident forgiveness as a policy upgrade or if you qualify for it based on your driving record.
At Erie, first accident forgiveness isn’t something you can purchase—rather, it’s a perk earned after the policyholder goes three years (depending on the state) without an accident. So, it's free! 

Is Erie’s first accident forgiveness worth it?

Seeing as you don’t actually have to purchase Erie’s first accident forgiveness perk, it’s definitely worth it! First accident forgiveness will ensure that your rates don’t skyrocket after your first at-fault accident, keeping your monthly insurance costs that much lower.
MORE: Should I report a car accident to my insurance company?

What to do if your Erie rate goes up

If you get into an at-fault accident before qualifying for Erie’s free accident forgiveness, your rates will increase and you’ll have to go another three years (depending on the state you live in) without an accident before you’re eligible for accident forgiveness.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do in the interim to lower your premium.

Coverage limits

One of the easiest ways to keep insurance costs low after a rate increase is to reevaluate and reduce your coverage levels. It goes without saying that you’ll still need to purchase the necessary coverage (e.g. liability, uninsured motorist, personal injury protection, etc.) to satisfy your state’s minimum insurance requirements, but you might be able to drop full coverage or eliminate optional coverage types like
rental reimbursement
.
And while it may seem counterintuitive, you might even consider raising your deductible—you’ll pay more out of pocket if you get into another accident, but your monthly insurance costs will be lower. 

Loyalty discounts

Erie also offers a range of loyalty-based discounts to customers who have either multiple car insurance policies or who bundle multiple insurance policies in general (e.g. auto, home, renters, life, etc.) with Erie Insurance.
Keep in mind, however, that these multi-policy discounts can vary depending on the state in which your vehicle(s) and/or home are insured.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, Erie’s first accident forgiveness is a solid incentive for being a keen, attentive, and safe driver—but due to the fact that this perk can only be earned and not purchased, it’s not something you really need to worry about: if you end up qualifying for it, that’s great, and if you don’t, it’s something to strive for in the future.
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FAQs

Unless both accidents are at-fault and happen within a few weeks/months of one another, it is extremely unlikely for Erie to cancel your auto insurance policy.
Only for certain coverage types. If you have a liability-only auto insurance policy with Erie, you won’t be required to pay a deductible before filing a claim—you will, however, need to pay a deductible before filing a collision or comprehensive claim.
Depending on your state’s insurance requirements, you may also have a deductible for uninsured motorist coverage and/or personal injury protection (PIP).

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