What Accident Forgiveness Insurance Is and Why You Don’t Need It If You’re a Good Driver

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You may have heard about “accident forgiveness” insurance from some of the TV commercials lately. This is an insurance add-on that the major insurance companies offer to their best customers that’s usually only used once. One accident is covered and forgiven, meaning your insurance rates won’t rise that one time.

This extra insurance can cost a little more, but can be cheaper than the increased premium would be after an accident. It can be a smart buy for parents with teen drivers. Some insurers may offer the extra coverage for free.

Adult drivers with good driving records, however, may not want to buy it because they’d essentially be paying for something they’re unlikely to use because they’re good drivers.

Being at-fault in an auto accident can cause insurance rates to rise 30 percent or more.

Some insurers provide accident forgiveness immediately to customers who buy it, while others may require up to five years of not having an accident under the policy before they’ll forgive one.

How often an insurer forgives also varies. Most forgive just the first at-fault accident, though some will start the forgiveness clock again in three to six years. Some may also require a driver not to have any moving violations for three years.

Safe drivers with clean driving records may not benefit by buying accident forgiveness because they should already have low rates, or at least have standard policies.

But it could still be worthwhile if you want to cover the chance that you may cause an accident someday, despite never causing one so far in your driving life.

Having teenage drivers may already result in higher insurance rates from the increased risk. Buying accident forgiveness insurance could help ease the pain of rates going up after a child’s first accident, no matter how small.

To help determine if the cost is worthwhile, ask your insurer how much your rates would rise if you caused an accident. This information should be available in a surcharge schedule that outlines percentage increases from specific infractions. If the potential rate hike is less than the cost of the added insurance, then it probably isn’t worth getting.

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