A Simple Guide to Accident Forgiveness

It’s important for drivers to realize that accident forgiveness is a one-time thing. Once an accident has been forgiven once without raising your rates, you cannot invoke the privilege again. To qualify for accident forgiveness, some providers want you to be accident-free for three to five years. Use our simple guide to accident forgiveness for more information on what’s included with this insurance add-on.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Accident forgiveness is available from several different insurance companies including Nationwide, Allstate, The Hartford and several others, but you have to meet the requirements before you are eligible.

Determining what you have to do to be eligible may be somewhat confusing, because the rules change from state to state, as well as company to company. Even worse, some insurance companies don’t offer accident forgiveness at all.

Read up on the accident forgiveness benefit, and if your insurance company does not offer such a plan, it might time to consider switching.

Most insurance companies require you to have an accident free driving record for 3 to 5 years before you are eligible for accident forgiveness. Once you are eligible, some companies will forgive one accident and nothing else, while others will forgive one accident and one speeding ticket or other single traffic offense. You will lose your safe driver status, but avoid having your premiums increase for the next 3 years or so.

Many people confuse accident forgiveness with the safe driver discount, but they are two completely different things. Safe driver discounts are only valid if you have 2 or fewer points against your license, and that could push you beyond the safe driver discount if you receive a single ticket.

Whether your insurance company forgives the accident or not, your state’s department of motor vehicles is not going to let you off so easy.

Accident forgiveness is a one-time shot. Once an accident has been forgiven without raising your rates, you cannot invoke the forgiveness rule again. In order to qualify for it at a future date, you will have to start a new policy and maintain an accident free driving record for the prerequisite period of time.

Similarly, the forgiveness benefit is not transferable. If you change insurance companies without using your forgiveness option, it will be lost until your company offers it to you in a few more years.

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