What Is Accident Forgiveness And How Does This Vary Among Insurance Carriers?
Accident forgiveness is a key selling feature for drivers. Insurance companies know that many drivers are worried about the consequences of getting into an accident, even a small one like a minor fender bender. This is why they are re-introducing and promoting this highly popular feature. If a driver is involved in an "at-fault accident," this feature will protect your driving record from "falling to the bottom of the insurer's rating system," according to Kanetix. For instance, if your insurance company is using a 6-star rating system and you have an "at-fault" car accident, your "star rating" could drop down to a zero, according to Kanetix. This can make your car insurance rates rise significantly. Now you can protect your "star rating" and avoid having to pay for it in your premium.
Accident forgiveness will vary from company to company. It will be a "built-in" feature that companies will offer in their coverage. This may be offered after your first "at-fault" car accident, if your driving record is completely clean – no accidents and no tickets. You'll be able to find out right away whether or not your accident will be "forgiven." You will either have "total forgiveness"- you won't see an increase in your car insurance premium since your star rating was lowered; or "partial forgiveness" where your rating will drop slightly, but your car insurance rates will go up. Your rates won't increase anywhere near the amount they would if you were not enrolled in this program. Even though it was forgiven, it won't be forgotten and your accident will still be on your driving record.
Even if you've never been in an accident, it's always best to see what your insurance policy says about accident forgiveness. If it's not offered, it may be time to search the Internet for a new insurance company. Having this feature can save you thousands of dollars if you ever get into an accident; even a small one like a fender bender. Even though some companies will "ding" you for an accident, several others won't. If you're a driver that has been in an accident before and your company doesn't offer accident forgiveness, some companies will offer this program to new clients as an incentive for switching over. So if your company doesn't forgive your accident, you can find a company that will. Comparing quotes is the only way to find out.
When searching for auto insurance, it's best to comparison shop online. It's always good to ask if there are any extras. After all, having accident forgiveness could end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.