August 3, 2011

Qualifying For A Car Insurance Accident Forgiveness Program

An accident forgiveness plan typically offers drivers a way to avoid the significant increase in the cost of car insurance after an accident. A single accident can increase insurance rates by 20% or more, so a few extra dollars a month to take part in an accident forgiveness program can save a driver hundreds of dollars down the line. However, accident forgiveness isn't available on every car insurance policy, and when it is an available car insurance option, qualifying for such a program can be difficult. These programs are usually only available to the lowest-risk drivers.

One of the most difficult parts of qualifying for accident forgiveness programs is keeping a clean record. Most car insurance companies won't offer accident forgiveness to drivers who have any claims on the last several years of their records, as the point of accident forgiveness programs is to reward good drivers and to avoid increases from a single event. Drivers who have several tickets or claims usually can't qualify until these events leave their records, which can take two to three years depending on where the driver lives. However, in many cases minor traffic violations can be removed from a driver's record if the driver participates in safe driving classes or if the driver opts into court supervision programs. Car insurance policy holders with a single mark on their records should check into these possibilities when trying to qualify for accident forgiveness add-on coverage.

It's important for drivers to realize that accident forgiveness programs differ greatly between car insurance companies, as do the companies' qualification criteria for these programs. Some accident forgiveness programs only avoid a portion of the total rate increases from a serious accident. A vehicle may also need to be in good operating condition for the policy holder to qualify–an accident that occurs due to poor maintenance may not qualify for accident forgiveness, and under the terms of some policies, poor maintenance can preclude payment on a claim entirely.

To find out about accident forgiveness programs, drivers should read their policies and contact their insurance agents to discuss the criteria for joining. It may also be helpful to look at a few car insurance quotes, as the cost of accident forgiveness varies greatly from one insurer to the next. With most forgiveness program car insurance, an accident won't necessarily increase rates, but checking into the cost and the qualifying criteria for these programs is important before buying. With some quick research, drivers can determine whether an accident forgiveness add-on is an appropriate type of coverage for their policies.