How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?

If you are worried about your rate increasing after being involved in your first accident, accident forgiveness can help. However, not every insurance company will define and apply accident forgiveness in the same manner. Many motorists like to take advantage of accident forgiveness because it can save them cash. Your insurance rate won’t increase after your first road accident, even if you are at-fault. 

A lot of insurers allow their clients to purchase this policy, while others can earn it by having a good driving record. This encourages drivers to drive safer when they are out on the roads. Keep in mind that different insurers offer different policies, so if you are in the market for car insurance, don’t hesitate to ask the different companies about the types of accident forgiveness policies available. There are some insurers that will include accident forgiveness automatically in their policy. 

Accidents can happen, even to those who have a spotless record. But if you are safe on the road, why should a single incident impact your insurance rates? Accident forgiveness gives people the opportunity to be at-fault for one accident without increasing their premium.

How Does it Work?

If it isn’t included in your current policy, ask your insurance company if it is available to purchase. Those who don’t have accident forgiveness in their policy will have to pay a surcharge if they were to receive a traffic violation. Of course, not all traffic violations are the same, but certain violations can impact your insurance premiums for the next few years. If you cause an accident on the road, it will go on your current driving record, but you won’t receive any premium increases or surcharges. 

If there are other drivers listed under your current policy, then the policy will also cover them if they are eligible. But it will only cover the first accident caused by anyone listed on the policy. 

Is It Worth Paying Extra For Accident Insurance, Even if You Drive Safely?

Even if you are confident behind the wheel of a car, accidents can still happen. Just like anyone else, safe drivers make mistakes now and again which can lead to an accident. Even if the accident was not your fault, the authorities, attorneys, and insurance companies involved might claim it is your fault. This is more common than you think, so it might be worth paying that little bit extra for accident forgiveness insurance. At the end of the day, you can’t be in control of the other drivers on the road. Car accidents are often caused because of other reckless drivers, but the accident itself might be your fault. 

Insurers do offer other incentives to help safe drivers reduce the cost of their car insurance. Consider asking your insurer about a disappearing deductible. This helps reward safe drivers by reducing their deductibles. The longer you are accident free, the less your deductible will be. Before committing to an insurance policy, it might be worth your while shopping around, especially if you are a safe driver. Consider getting multiple insurance quotes from a range of different insurers before settling on one. Thanks to the internet, getting car insurance quotes is easy, but don’t be afraid to make direct contact with the different insurers, to see what other incentives are available

Different Types of Accident Forgiveness

As discussed earlier, insurance companies have various policies and incentives for drivers. “Full” and “Partial” accident forgiveness are similar, but not the same. 

  • Full Accident Forgiveness: If you are at-fault for a car accident, the insurance company will be able to waive the accident points that would increase your premium. It is almost like turning a blind eye to what had happened. When you have full accident forgiveness, you won’t get any surcharges, and you will be able to keep credit discounts that you have built up due to your clean driving record. However, not all drivers are eligible for this coverage. The insurance company will only offer this coverage to their clients that meet certain requirements. If you have points on your record, your insurer might not be able to offer you this incentive. 
  • Partial Accident Forgiveness: Partial accident forgiveness is slightly more restrictive than full accident forgiveness. You might not be faced with a surcharge, but if you caused a car accident you might lose your policy discount. If you have a few points on your record, you might be eligible for partial accident forgiveness. For more information, contact your insurer for details. 

If you have only been driving for six years or less, you won’t be eligible for either coverage. The type of vehicle you drive is another factor the insurer will take into consideration. The coverage may not apply to those insuring motorcycles, motorhomes, or trailers. 

What is the Downside of Having Accident Forgiveness?

Not every accident caused on the road will increase your insurance rates. It will depend on your current driving record, the severity of the claim, the cost of the claim, and whether or not you have had previous violations. 

There are states that have no-fault insurance. This is when the coverage will help pay for the medical bills, but if the costs of the medical bills are high, it may affect the rate they will charge you down the line. At times, this can get complicated, especially if you have sustained a serious injury during the accident. Most people hire a personal injury lawyer to help them through the process. 

Am I Eligible for Accident Forgiveness?

If you are on the fence about paying that bit extra for accident forgiveness, the first thing you must find out is whether or not you qualify for it. Whether it is automatically added to your policy, or you want to purchase the additional coverage, there are a few things your insurer will look for first.  Each insurer will have different requirements, but here are a few things most insurers want to know:

  1. Have you had any minor or major convictions in the past? If you have a serious criminal conviction in the past or a few minor convictions, your insurer might be reluctant to offer you the coverage. 
  2. If you haven’t paid for auto-coverage in the past.
  3. If you have been at-fault for a car accident in recent years.

Just because one insurer feels you don’t meet the requirements, don’t assume that you won’t meet the requirements with one of their competitors. 


If you feel you are entitled to a reduction in your insurance premium because you are a safe driver, accident forgiveness might be just what you are looking for. Even the best drivers out there can make a mistake, but you might find it unfair because you have always been cautious on the road. Insurers are well aware that even the safest drivers are at-fault for an accident now and again, but they don’t want to punish them. 

However, accident forgiveness won’t demerit points which many people assume, nor will it protect you if you have broken the law during an accident

For those who are confident on the road and have a squeaky clean record, they should consider adding accident forgiveness to their current policy, even if it costs them extra cash.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.