Accidents can happen, and when it comes to driving, they’re often unavoidable. However, when you’re at fault, things can get a bit more complicated and worse…more expensive. On top of being financially responsible for a car accident, your insurance rate will also increase upon your next renewal.
There’s something to help with keeping your auto insurance from rates skyrocketing. It’s called accident forgiveness protection. While this may seem too good to be true, it may be a good thing to add to your auto insurance policy for those who may be accident-prone or unwilling to take on the financial risk. Before you do, here’s what you need to know.
What is Accident Forgiveness Protection?
Your auto insurance premiums will likely increase if you’ve had an accident and are at fault. Because your driving record determines your rates, being the driver who caused an accident will mean your rate will increase around renewal or when shopping for a new policy.
Why is accident forgiveness protection a handy thing to have? It is helpful for policyholders to keep their rates down. They can be purchased either as an add-on coverage option or have it automatically part of your auto policy, or a mix of both.
There are some essential things to remember about accident forgiveness:
- Not every insurance provider offers accident forgiveness protection. In addition, not all states permit accident forgiveness, like California.
- Accident forgiveness isn’t a free-for-all. There are some limitations. Accident forgiveness usually applies to one accident on each policy, not per driver on your policy. For example, “Farmers forgive one at-fault accident for every three years you drive without an accident.”
- Even if your accident is “forgiven” by your insurance provider, it will remain on your driving record by your insurance provider. So if you decide to shop your rates, other insurance companies will still have access to your driving record. The accident could increase your future rates should you choose to swap insurers.
What is a Chargeable Accident?
A chargeable accident is when you are to blame for an accident by your insurance provider. Your accident might be chargeable if you are more than 50% to blame. A chargeable accident also includes damage to someone else’s personal property, injury, or death.
A chargeable accident can be something as small as a minor fender bender in the Target parking lot to total someone’s car. If the insurance provider concludes that the accident is chargeable, you can incur additional costs to your policy.
Unfortunately, a chargeable accident may be stuck on your record. Depending on your insurance provider, they might lower your fees every year you don’t have an accident. In most states, your costs can continuously decrease over three years until it disappears completely. It is important to remember that the fees will go down only if you are accident-free.
On a positive note, not every accident will increase your rate. Here are some examples of accidents that don’t usually result in a rate increase:
- Defective tires were the result of an accident.
- The cause of the accident was the physical loss caused by flying gravel, missiles, or falling objects.
- The accident was affected by contact with an animal.
- They gave the moving violation to the other driver but not you.
- You were involved with a hit-and-run driver.
- Your car was rear-ended, and you are not convicted of a moving traffic violation concerning the accident.
- Your car was parked and struck by another vehicle.
The Rules of Accident Forgiveness
Even if your car insurance provides accident forgiveness coverage, you may not qualify. In some cases, you won’t even be eligible for this type of protection. Below are some examples of the typical necessities and exclusions:
- A clean driving record is typically required to qualify for accident forgiveness insurance.
- Accident forgiveness doesn’t mean you have a free pass to get into an unlimited number of wrecks and expect to be covered. Accident forgiveness only covers one accident per policy.
Alternate Protection Options for Responsible Drivers
Accident forgiveness is not an option that everyone can get. For example, some policies won’t allow you to purchase accident forgiveness coverage if you have any drivers on your policy who are under the age of 21 or have been driving for less than three years.
Good Driver Discounts
Suppose you are not eligible for accident forgiveness. In that case, there might be a different option for you if you are considered a safe driver. For example, Geico offers a “Five-Year Accident-Free Good Driver” policy, where drivers with a five-year clean driving record are qualified for a 26% discount on most types of protection.
Another type of savings for safe drivers is a “vanishing deductible.” This is typically an add-on that compensates safe drivers by decreasing their deductible expenses for claims as long as they maintain a safe driving record. For example, Travelers offers a Responsible Driver Plan which provides a “Decreasing Deductible” that gives you a $50 credit toward your deductibles for every six months you are accident-free.
If you are not eligible for accident forgiveness or don’t want to pay for additional protection to your policy, check with your insurance provider or the TGS Insurance agents to see your options for a safe driver.
Insurance Providers That Provide Accident Forgiveness Insurance
Each insurance company has different benefits and requirements, so it is crucial to understand which policy best fits your needs. Here is a list of providers that have accident forgiveness programs:
Should I Purchase Accident Forgiveness?
Suppose you are considering adding accident forgiveness to your car insurance to your policy. In that case, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you will want to consider the cost of accident forgiveness protection. Suppose your insurance provider doesn’t provide it for free. In that case, you’ll want to determine if the cost of protection doesn’t surpass the possible price of a policy increase. For example, suppose the price for coverage is $150 each year, and you don’t have an accident for ten years. In that case, you’re spending an additional $1,500 for the protection you didn’t need. Additionally, if all the drivers on your policy have a clean record and are experienced drivers, then adding accident forgiveness might not be worth the additional expenses. And if you’re also someone who doesn’t drive much, it’s likely not worth it.
On the other hand, if you are considered a high-risk driver, adding accident forgiveness to your policy or seeking out a provider that includes it as part of your initial policy might be valuable. Or if you’re just someone who doesn’t like to play with risks, it’s good protection to have and can’t hurt anything.
At TGS Insurance, we’ll always make the best recommendations for you on your auto insurance policy, so you’re always 100% protected when you need it most. Contact our team today to figure out how we can help you get an auto insurance policy with all your coverage needs at a rate that doesn’t break the bank.