What Is Accident Forgiveness?
March 20, 2017
When your auto insurance policy has an “accident forgiveness” endorsement, it means that your insurer will not raise your rate if you get into an accident. This is a big deal, since an at-fault car accident that injures someone could raise your rate by $400-$800 per year, according to industry sources. Drivers who get into multiple accidents typically see their rates climb by $1,000 or more. (Keep in mind, lots of individual factors determine exactly how much your rate increase would be.)
How Long Does Accident Forgiveness Last?
Accident forgiveness can be a valuable addition to basic auto coverage, but it’s not a license to crash. In most cases, accident forgiveness is only valid for one collision. If you’re at fault in subsequent collisions, you can expect a hike in your premium. And if you ever decide to switch carriers, the new insurance company will factor all recent accidents you’ve had into your rate—usually for three to six years after the event(s).
Can Anyone Get Accident Forgiveness?
No. Insurance carriers use different guidelines to determine who will qualify for their accident forgiveness programs. (And not all carriers offer the option.) Usually carriers look at your Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) rating, which is based on you driving record: past collisions, speeding tickets, other moving violations, etc.
Will My Insurance Company Tell Me If I Qualify for Accident Forgiveness?
Maybe, but don’t count on it. Eligibility can change from month to month, and not all carriers keep up with that data well enough to share the option with customers who don’t yet have forgiveness. Some insurance agents will automatically add forgiveness onto policies as soon as their customers qualify. Here at C&S, we believe it’s best to give people the option. Even though the cost is relatively low (an extra $35-$50 per year, per vehicle), it’s not our place to spend your money without consulting you.
How Much Does Accident Forgiveness Cost?
Costs vary. Some carriers charge a set amount annually ($35-$50), per car. Others charge a percentage of your overall premium. The added expense may make sense for you and your family—especially if you have a teen driving in your household.
Should I Get Accident Forgiveness Coverage?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Your best bet is to contact your Massachusetts insurance agency to ask about your eligibility and options available with your current carrier and/or alternative carriers.