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Home » Auto Insurance

Accident Forgiveness: How Does it Work & Which Insurers Offer it?

Last updated by on 13 Comments

This post continues the lessons learned from my wife’s car accident story.

First, we discussed taking a driving class to drop points on your record. Then we chatted about the various types of auto insurance coverage and being covered when you are at fault in an accident.

In this post, we’ll discuss auto insurance accident forgiveness, what it is, how you can become eligible for it, and which auto insurers offer it.

How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?

accident forgiveness

There are all kinds of costs that pile up when you get in a car accident.

First, you typically will receive a traffic citation if you were at fault. If your repairs are extensive enough that you make an insurance claim, you have to pay an insurance deductible. The citation can increase the points on your record, which could increase your auto insurance premiums. And to add insult to injury, your insurance premiums could increase due to you making the claim.

The latter is where accident forgiveness comes in.

A number of insurance companies will offer “accident forgiveness” as a perk for signing up as a customer of theirs. There is no auto insurance industry standard definition of accident forgiveness – it can vary from company to company. The basic idea is that auto insurance provider will “forgive” your accident by not increasing your premiums.

The forgiveness has nothing to do with points on your driving record. Your driving record is connected to the government. A company forgiving you WILL NOT wipe out your points or accidents from your driving record.

Accident forgiveness is specific to the company offering it only. If you move to a new auto insurer, there is a possibility they will factor the accident into your insurance premium, even if your previous insurer forgave you.

How do you Qualify for Accident Forgiveness?

Every auto insurance company has a slightly different take on accident forgiveness.

In general, there are three circumstances in which an insurer would offer accident forgiveness:

  1. new customer acquisition: auto insurance companies realize that you are less prone to move to them if they are going to punish you for a past accident, so a number of them offer accident forgiveness to customers with a recent blemish in their driving record.
  2. customer loyalty: some insurers offer accident forgiveness to customers who have been with them for a certain length of time.
  3. driving record history: Many insurers require that drivers have a clean driving record for a certain length of time.

Some require both loyalty and a clear driving record to qualify for accident forgiveness.

What Auto Insurance Companies Have Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness has become extremely popular in the auto insurance industry as a means to attract and retain loyal (and safe) customers, and a number of companies now offer some variation (which can vary from state to state):

Liberty Mutual: This is our personal insurer. Because we had zero accident or citations in a long time, we were eligible for accident forgiveness with Liberty Mutual. There was no additional charge for accident forgiveness. With Liberty Mutual, you are eligible with 3 years of no citations and 5 years of no accidents.

AllState: At Allstate, accident forgiveness comes if you upgrade to their Gold or Platinum coverage plan. Gold costs 8% more and Platinum is 15% higher than a standard policy. With Gold, you need to go 3 years without a collision to be protected. Accident forgiveness begins immediately with the more expensive Platinum. Forgiveness at a price? Probably not worth it.

Nationwide: Nationwide accident forgiveness is an option you buy and can be used on one accident per policy.

Geico: At Geico, you must be an accident-free Geico policy holder for 5 years or longer. You “may” get a free pass on your first at–fault accident.

Progressive: You must be a Progressive auto insurance policy holder for 4 years with no accidents for 3 consecutive years. There is no additional charge.

A Final Note on Accident Forgiveness:

Liberty Mutual and Progressive appear to have the best accident forgiveness policies, but I certainly would not recommend choosing an auto insurance policy solely for the fact that they have accident forgiveness. Price and that company’s reputation are more important factors. If you go with an insurer that does not offer accident forgiveness, it is not the end of the world – if they increase your rates, you can price compare and go elsewhere.

However, if you have been in an accident and were “forgiven”, it can seem pretty damn nice, in hindsight.

Accident Forgiveness Discussion:

  • Have you used accident forgiveness?
  • How does your auto insurer do accident forgiveness? How much does it cost?

Related Posts:


About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


13 Comments »
  • Tony says:

    I too have accident forgiveness free of charge with Liberty Mutual. Another coverage worth exploring is Vanishing or Diminishing deductibles. So if you are in an accident your deductible is removed or significantly lower.

  • Warren says:

    Is accident forgiveness actually just a selling scam? I’ve known people who had an accident and there was no increase in their insurance costs. There was no “accident forgiveness” with the insurers, there was simply no policy of automatically increasing the premiums after one accident.

  • john says:

    Insurance companies use a bunch of criteria to estimate risk, and then they price accordingly. Here some are offering to ignore one (presumably important) piece for marketing reasons.

    What’s next, male forgiveness? Red sports car forgiveness? =]

  • Jeanie Groat says:

    Accident Forgiveness Auto Insurance Isn’t So Forgiving.

  • Harry @ PF Pro says:

    I’ve heard of accident forgiveness but never really looked into it. I just go real cheap with my car insurance b/c I know in the long run the less money you pay the better IMO. The insurance company has everything worked out and they’ll just raise their rates if they’re not making enough money.

    last comment got spammed?

  • jill says:

    Erie is another insurance company that offers accident forgiveness.

  • Tina Wilson says:

    I have yet to experience accident forgiveness but my friends have it through their respective insurance companies and love it! Do you all feel the same way? Thinking about switching insurance companies with my new car purchase and would love more info. And since you’re all helping me out, for those who are looking to save on a new car purchase, check out the GM College Discount Program!

  • Calton says:

    My stepson, a nice 30 year old, had a fender-bender in his older Prius. His rate doubled to $200 per month, causing financial hardship. His mom,who has an Excellent Driver rating with Geico, wants to ask him to join her via an accident-forgiveness insurance and to get the multi-car discount for them–which is fine with me. Would they be better off staying with Geico or seeking another company such as those mentioned in GE Miller’s article printed above?

    Mr Miller: Would you email me any responses–any advice plus your advice of course.

  • Priscilla says:

    Hi GE, you are actually wrong in your assessment of Allstate’s accident forgiveness.

    Standard policy-after 5 years with Allstate, you are forgiven for the 1st at-fault accident-no charge (same as Liberty Mutual -but no restrictions on whether you had a citation or not-and Geico)
    Gold-you are forgiven for one at-fault accident every 5 years AND you get 100 off your collision deductible immediately and then get another 100 off every year you remain accident free up to $500 in deductible rewards.
    Platinum-You are forgiven for any and all accidents immediately, you get the same 100 off for deductible rewards as with the Gold AND you get 5% back every 6 months you have been accident free.

    Be someone who has an accident, tell me how little the extra 50 to 100 for the accident forgiveness benefits means when your premium doesn’t go up after we pay 10k out to get your car and the one you hit fixed.

    I am an Allstate agent and wanted to set the record straight. It is definitely worth it. Where the problem actually lies is when people price compare a superior policy against one that ‘says’ it offers something great and it turns out that special ‘offer’ is really just a standard for many companies. Like your personal insurer, Geico and Progressive advertise.

    Drive carefully as your next accident with Liberty Mutual won’t be forgiven until 5 years pass from your last one.
    Priscilla Callans
    Allstate Agent

  • Anna says:

    Just wanted to chime in that I switched from AAA, because they had horrible customer service when I got into an accident. A car hit mine and I ended up rear-ending a 3rd vehicle. The driver behind me then drove off. When I called AAA, they flat out told me that I would be held 100% at-fault, without even sending an agent to assess the damage or giving me a chance to send them the pictures I took during the accident. Long story short, I was left with an at-fault accident on my record and double the premium rates. Thanks, AAA!

    • Dennis says:

      it seems to me that your gripe is that they told you right away it was your fault. they saved you the time and effort of waiting to know. The situation you explained, is your fault. it appears you’re maybe upset that it is your fault. that’s not AAA’s fault. next time maybe you’ll see that the customer service automatically isn’t bad just because its not the news you wanted to hear.

  • Rick says:

    Geico has no accident forgiveness, in my opinion it is one of the con game lies they tell to appear to be competitive with agencies that do. After years of no accidents, we had a minor bumper bender due to icy roads, when the policy came up for renewal, they tried to charge more than double the previous premiums.

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