November 13, 2009

What is Accident Forgiveness and Who Gets It?

Accident forgiveness is a new policy offered by some auto insurance companies. It’s designed to give a ‘break’ to people who are otherwise good drivers and haven’t had any problems. These people have clean driving records, and they haven’t given their auto insurance companies any reason to doubt them. But, when these drivers get into an accident and it’s their fault, their good history with the insurance company buys them a little mercy when it comes to their insurance rates. So, the agency ‘forgives’ them for causing an accident. It pays the claim, and the driver’s rates don’t go up. However, this is usually a temporary offer. If the driver causes another accident — usually within a set period of time — the forgiveness will no longer apply and the rates will start to go up.

If you have a good driving record, accident forgiveness can be a great thing in the event that you make a mistake and cause an accident. In some cases, drivers who file numerous claims, or fail to report claims for an accident at all, will have their insurance revoked by an agency. With accident forgiveness, you won’t have to worry about your insurance company dropping you, and you won’t have to be concerned about your auto insurance rates going up. Worrying about increasing insurance costs can be stressful in the event of an already traumatic accident experience. Not having to deal with those worries is a lot of pressure off of a person who thought that they might not be able to pay his auto insurance anymore — or that they wouldn’t even have any auto insurance coverage after the company paid out on the claim.

If your driving record isn’t perfect, you generally won’t be eligible for accident forgiveness when getting an auto insurance quote because your history shows that you’ve already caused at least one accident. However, if your record is spotless and there aren’t any tickets or accidents on it, it can be a wise decision to sign up with an insurance company that offers accident forgiveness. When doing so, make sure to find out if it is applied to your insurance policy automatically, or whether you have to be insured by the company for a certain amount of time before that particular benefit is available. Even if you think you’ll never cause an accident, it’s still a good idea to have accident forgiveness. It’s also nice to see your good driving rewarded in the event that you make a mistake.

It’s unfair from a logical standpoint to charge the same rates to someone with one accident as you would to someone with a history of them. Accident forgiveness can help keep that unfair rate change from happening to you.