Understanding Accident Forgiveness Car Insurance

Everyone makes mistakes. Accident forgiveness car insurance is an add-on that protects your premiums from increasing if you are responsible for an accident.

Unlike first accident car insurance, which only protects you from your first accident, accident forgiveness insurance covers multiple accidents. It also applies to each driver on a multi-driver policy.

Not all insurance companies offer accident forgiveness car insurance, and it is not applied the same way by all companies. Some companies offer it as a free add-on for loyal customers, while others charge for it.

Without an industry standard, it can be difficult to know if it is worth paying extra for accident forgiveness car insurance.

What are the types of Accident Forgiveness Car Insurance

There are three primary types of accident forgiveness car insurance:

  • Free add-on for loyal customers. Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness as a free add-on for customers with a long history of claims-free driving.
  • Paid product. Other insurance providers offer accident forgiveness as a paid product, but only to customers who meet certain qualifications, such as not having had an at-fault claim within three years.
  • Hybrid. Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness coverage to less safe drivers (with previous claims) or as an incentive for customers to keep a spotless driving record for a few years (often, for five years) before they qualify for free coverage.

    Accident Forgiveness Qualifications

In order to qualify for accident forgiveness on your car insurance, you will need to meet certain criteria. These criteria typically include:

  • A prolonged period (3-5 years) free of moving violations. Examples of moving violations include speeding, running a red light or stop sign, driving under the influence, driving without a license, failure to report an accident or incident, illegal passing or U-turn, and failure to yield.
  • No current at-fault claims (within 1-3 years). If an insurance company can see a trend of at-fault claims on your record, they are unlikely to offer you even paid accident forgiveness.
  • Loyalty to your insurance company. Insurance providers often offer accident forgiveness coverage to long-term customers. To be eligible, you must have been with your insurance company for a certain number of years.

There are two types of at-fault accidents:

  • Chargeable violations: These are accidents that involve moving violations, such as speeding.
  • Chargeable accidents: These are accidents that involve property damage, bodily harm, or both.

Some accidents that won’t increase your premiums include:

  • Being struck by another motorist while your car is parked
  • A tire defect causing an accident
  • Being rear-ended and not convicted of moving violations during the accident
  • Being hit by a police car while it is in pursuit of an ambulance
  • Being involved in a hit-and-run
  • An accident caused by falling or flying objects, such as gravel
  • An accident involving an animal

    Is Accident Forgiveness Coverage Worth Having?

Many people get the bare minimum car insurance coverage to save money, which means they don’t have accident forgiveness. But is it worth having?

The answer is: it depends.

Here are a few things to consider before deciding:

  • Cost: How much does accident forgiveness cost? You’ll want to compare the cost to your accident history. If you have a clean record, it might not be worth it.
  • Commuting and risk level: If you drive a lot or in high-risk areas, accident forgiveness might be worth it.
  • High-risk drivers: If you have multiple drivers on your policy, especially young drivers, accident forgiveness can protect you from rate increases.
  • History of accidents: If you have a history of accidents, accident forgiveness can save you money in the long run.
  • Peace of mind: For some people, the peace of mind that comes with accident forgiveness is worth the cost.

    Accident Forgiveness Alternatives

If you don’t qualify for accident forgiveness or your provider doesn’t offer it, here are the other good driver discounts:

  • Discounts for Good Drivers: Some companies will pay back a portion of your premium after a sustained period without incident (e.g., after 12 months). This could mean a discount of 5%-25% off your annual premium.
  • Vanishing Deductibles: Another good driver discount is vanishing deductibles. This means that for every year you’re at-fault free, your deductible (e.g., $50) decreases up to a certain dollar amount (e.g., $500). Deductibles are the upfront fee everyone pays when you file an insurance claim (whether you’re at-fault or not).
  • Accident-Free Discounts: The final good driver discount is a discount for every year you’re accident-free. This is called an accident-free discount, and you’ll receive savings up to a certain amount determined by your insurance provider.

Is Accident Forgiveness Insurance Right for You?

Deciding whether to add accident forgiveness to your car insurance policy is a personal decision. There are many benefits to having accident forgiveness—avoiding premium hikes and peace of mind—but, depending on your driving habits and how much you can afford, you may decide that having accident forgiveness isn’t right for you.

How do I know if I qualify for accident forgiveness?

The best way to find out is to contact your insurance provider or prospective provider and ask if they offer accident forgiveness car insurance and whether you qualify. We can help. Get a free quote from a top provider.

Can I buy accident forgiveness after an accident?

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You can buy accident forgiveness for your auto insurance policy at any time. However, if you’re purchasing it after a recent accident, it will not cover previous collisions. If you want to buy accident forgiveness after being involved in a crash, contact your insurance provider and ask whether you’re eligible for at-fault insurance.

How long does an at-fault accident stay on my record?

This largely depends on the at-fault accident and where you live. State laws differ as to how long an accident stays on your record. But the surcharge will likely remain for a couple of years.

This largely depends on the at-fault accident and where you live. State laws differ as to how long an accident stays on your record. But the surcharge will likely remain for a couple of years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I qualify for accident forgiveness?
The best way to find out is to contact your insurance provider or prospective provider and ask if they offer accident forgiveness car insurance and whether you qualify. We can help. Get a free quote from a top


This largely depends on the at-fault accident and where you live. State laws differ as to how long an accident stays on your record. But the surcharge will likely remain for a couple of years.

Understanding Accident Forgiveness Car Insurance

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