How GEICO’s Accident Forgiveness Actually Works

GEICO’s free accident forgiveness will waive the premium increase for your first at-fault accident—but you need to stay accident-free for five years to earn it.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
GEICO offers free accident forgiveness to drivers who go five years without an at-fault accident. This policy perk waives the surcharge for your first at-fault accident—and it’s also available for purchase if you don’t qualify for the free version. 
Accidents happen—even if you’re a careful and conscientious driver. That’s why GEICO, like most major insurers, has a built-in option to waive the cost of your first at-fault accident, keeping your
GEICO car insurance rates
low and preserving any good driver discounts you qualify for. In this guide, we’ll take a close look at GEICO’s accident forgiveness and explore other ways to save.  

Does GEICO offer accident forgiveness for auto insurance?

Yes, GEICO offers accident forgiveness. Drivers in certain states can purchase accident forgiveness for an added cost, and drivers who go five years without an
at-fault accident
get accident forgiveness added to their insurance policy for free.

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness
is a perk added to your GEICO policy that waives the surcharge that would normally be added to your insurance premium after a chargeable accident (i.e. an at-fault accident that causes property damage or injuries).
Accident forgiveness can help you avoid steep rate increases and keep your good driver discounts.
MORE: How different types of car accidents affect your insurance rates
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How GEICO’s accident forgiveness works

There are two ways to get accident forgiveness with GEICO: earn it by maintaining a clean driving record for five years as a GEICO policyholder, or purchase it as an optional upgrade to your car insurance policy.
The first way is the easiest—and it’s free! Drivers over 21 years old who have maintained a GEICO policy for five years without any at-fault car accidents are automatically eligible for free accident forgiveness. Once that benefit is added to your policy, it applies to your first at-fault accident, and it can only be used once per policy (not per driver). However, drivers in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts cannot get accident forgiveness through GEICO.
Buying accident forgiveness as an add-on is a little trickier. While you don’t need to meet the same strict eligibility requirements, not everyone qualifies for accident forgiveness coverage, and guidelines vary by state. The best way to find out if you’re eligible to add accident forgiveness to your GEICO insurance policy is to contact an insurance agent in your state.
MORE: Should I report a car accident to my insurance company?

How much do your car insurance rates go up after an accident with GEICO?

Just how much money could accident forgiveness actually save you? On average, about $670 or 45% of your premium.
That’s the average increase you’ll see after your first at-fault accident without first-time forgiveness, according to experts at U.S. News and WalletHub. For subsequent at-fault accidents in less than three years, GEICO policyholders see an average premium hike of 95% to 155%, depending on the nature of the accident.
But not every accident will result in a rate increase. If you’re
not at fault
in an accident—for instance, in a hit-and-run—your car insurance rate shouldn’t go up. The same thing applies if you hit an animal, or if the accident was caused by defective tires. However, these aren’t hard-and-fast rules.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a surcharge after an accident isn’t permanent. Depending on your state, it usually affects your GEICO rate for just three years and after two more years you become eligible for the good driver discount.

What other car insurance companies have accident forgiveness?

Most major car insurance providers offer some form of accident forgiveness. In most cases, it’s a reward for either loyalty or safe driving—or both. State Farm is the only major insurer that doesn’t offer any form of accident forgiveness.
Some of the best car insurance companies for accident forgiveness include: 
  • Allstate
    : Available for purchase after three to five years without accidents 
  • Erie
    : Loyalty advantage for customers of at least three years
  • Farmers
    : Allows one at-fault accident for every three years with a clean record
  • Liberty Mutual
    : Available for purchase for drivers with no traffic violations or accidents for five years
  • Nationwide:
    Optional coverage upgrade to waive surcharge for first accident or moving violation
  • Progressive:
    Free small accident forgiveness for all customers; large accident forgiveness for customers who have had a Progressive policy for five years and an accident-free record for three
  • Travelers
    : Optional coverage with forgiveness for one accident and one minor violation every three years 
  • USAA
    : Optional coverage if all household members have been free of at-fault accidents for five years
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How much does accident forgiveness cost?

The cost of accident forgiveness varies from company to company, and it depends on whether you purchase accident forgiveness coverage as a policy upgrade or qualify based on your record.
At GEICO, accident forgiveness is totally free if you qualify based on a
clean driving record
. If you purchase it as an upgrade, the cost varies based on location and coverage levels. For most insurance companies, accident forgiveness adds between $15 and $60 to your annual car insurance costs.

Is GEICO’s accident forgiveness worth it?

If you qualify for free, GEICO’s accident forgiveness is absolutely worth it. With accident forgiveness on your policy, you can avoid a potential rate hike for your first at-fault accident at no added cost to you. And if you qualify for free accident forgiveness, you likely also qualify for GEICO’s good driver discount, which can take up to 22% off your premium.
On the other hand, it’s not always worth it to purchase accident forgiveness from GEICO before you qualify. If you get a quote for accident forgiveness from GEICO, take a minute to calculate what a 45% rate increase would look like—and whether the added cost of accident forgiveness would be worth avoiding that higher cost.

What to do if your GEICO rate goes up

If your GEICO rate has gone up following an accident, you’re not eligible for free accident forgiveness—and you’ll need to stay accident-free for another five years to get there! But there are plenty of things you can do in the meantime to
lower your rate
to deal with the premium increase.

Coverage limits

One easy way to keep your insurance costs low in spite of a rate hike is to adjust your coverage levels. While you’ll still need to meet
your state’s required limits
liability insurance
and other coverages like uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), you may be able to drop
full coverage
, eliminate extra coverages like towing and rental reimbursement., or even raise your deductible to keep your monthly costs in check.

Good driver discounts

GEICO’s standard good driver discount is only available to drivers who are accident-free for five years. If your auto insurance rate went up after a recent accident, you’re not eligible for that discount—but there’s another good driver discount that’s easy to claim.
If you and your passengers always use seat belts, you can get up to 15% off your premium. However, this discount only applies to
medical payments (MedPay)
personal injury protection (PIP)

Loyalty discounts

If you insure
more than one vehicle
with GEICO, you can get up to 25% off your auto insurance policy. You can also get a discount for bundling your car insurance coverage with a
renters insurance

The bottom line

GEICO’s accident forgiveness is a helpful perk for safe drivers, but not every customer is eligible for this coverage. If you’ve been labeled a high-risk driver, you likely won’t qualify for accident forgiveness.
“Amazing! I’ll admit, I’m young with 2 accidents. This spiked my insurance rates and every quote I found.
, though, helped me find affordable insurance. It truly helped me!” —Marcus F.
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No. GEICO’s official policy says that your coverage may not be
if you get into three at-fault accidents in 36 months. Two accidents will certainly raise your rate, but you won’t be canceled until you hit that three-accident limit.
Yes—but only for certain coverages. For collision and comprehensive claims, you must pay a set out-of-pocket amount before your coverage kicks in. If your policy only includes liability insurance, you won’t need to pay a deductible when filing insurance claims. Depending on your state, you may have a deductible for PIP or uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
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