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A Simple Guide to Accident Forgiveness

accident forgivenessAccident 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. And 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 do not 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.