Is Accident Forgiveness Insurance Worth It?

Accident forgiveness is an optional car insurance coverage that waives your first at-fault collision so your premiums don’t increase.

Elizabeth Rivelli
Elizabeth Rivelli
  • 5+ years writing insurance and personal finance topics

  • Auto, home, health, and life insurance expertise

Elizabeth has extensive insurance industry experience, having written for Insureon, Rate Retriever, and Insurify. She’s also finance and insurance editor for Car and Driver.

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
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Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated April 22, 2024

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Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from April 22, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

Car insurance premiums usually increase after an at-fault accident. Depending on your insurance company, an at-fault accident can cause a rate increase of 26% or more, Insurify data shows. Even if you weren’t responsible for the accident, your rate could still go up when your policy renews.

Some of the best car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to prevent drivers’ rates from increasing after an accident. This optional coverage waives your first at-fault accident so it doesn’t affect your premium. 

But you usually need a full-coverage auto insurance policy to get accident forgiveness. Comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies can help you find affordable coverage with accident forgiveness.

Quick Facts
  • Most insurers offer accident forgiveness to drivers with no accidents and violations on their records for the past three to five years.

  • Accident forgiveness isn’t available in all states, including in California.

  • An at-fault accident can increase your rates by 26%, on average.

How does accident forgiveness work?

Accident forgiveness is an endorsement that waives your first at-fault collision so it doesn’t cause rate increases. Most major car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, but it isn’t available everywhere.

Some insurance companies automatically include accident forgiveness when you purchase a full-coverage policy, while others offer it as an optional add-on. Some insurers require drivers to “earn” accident forgiveness based on their driving record.

Additionally, accident forgiveness has limitations. Most notably, accident forgiveness only applies to your first accident in a certain period. If you cause more accidents, your rate will probably increase. Also, most insurance companies will only waive an accident when the total damages are less than a certain monetary threshold.

For example, Progressive offers small accident forgiveness, which waives an at-fault accident under $500. You can also purchase large accident forgiveness, which waives at-fault accidents that exceed $500 in damages.

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What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance?

What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance?

How much do car insurance rates increase after an accident?

In most cases, car insurance premiums increase after an accident. However, the increase depends on several factors, including your state, your insurance company, fault, and the crash’s severity.[1]

After an accident that you cause, car insurance premiums increase 26%, on average. If you weren’t responsible for the crash, your rate can still increase by roughly 10%, according to Insurify’s proprietary data.

The severity of the crash is another factor that can affect your rate. For example, if you cause an accident with a significant amount of damage, you can expect a greater rate increase compared to a minor fender bender.

How much does accident forgiveness cost?

If your car insurance company offers accident forgiveness as an optional endorsement, adding this coverage will likely cause your rate to increase. However, the exact amount depends on your insurance company and personal factors like your vehicle, location, credit history, and more.

For most drivers, accident forgiveness coverage is a good value. It won’t raise your annual premium significantly, and it’ll help you save money after an accident. The rate increase after an accident is likely much higher than the annual cost of accident forgiveness.

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Cost of getting into an accident without it

Because car insurance premiums increase by about 26% after an at-fault accident, accident forgiveness can be worth it for drivers concerned about excessive rate increases. Additionally, accident forgiveness can provide peace of mind. If you get into an accident, you can rest assured that your rate won’t increase, even if you were responsible.

Here’s how much insurance companies’ annual car insurance rates increase after an accident.

Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Rate Increase After Accident
Liberty Mutual$211
USAA$265
State Farm$267
GEICO$322
Allstate$370
American Family$489
Nationwide$552
Travelers$598
Farmers$647
Progressive$658
The General$927
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

How to qualify for accident forgiveness

Most insurance companies have eligibility requirements for accident forgiveness. To qualify, most insurance companies require drivers to have a clean driving record for the past three to five years. If you have any recent violations, tickets, or accidents on your record, you may not qualify for accident forgiveness right away.

Also, some insurers don’t offer accident forgiveness to people younger than a certain age, which can vary by company.

For example, Liberty Mutual says that drivers must have no collisions in the past five years to qualify for accident forgiveness, regardless of their insurer. Drivers must also have no violations in the last five years, and drivers younger than 25 must have five consecutive years of a clean driving history.[2]

Progressive offers “large accident forgiveness” to drivers who are part of the Loyalty Rewards program. To get this coverage, drivers must have Progressive car insurance for at least five years and have no accidents or violations for up to five consecutive years.[3]

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Is accident forgiveness worth it?

Accident forgiveness is worth it for many drivers, but it may not be as beneficial for everyone. Before purchasing accident forgiveness, you should consider your own driving history and the likelihood of getting into an accident.

While the cost of accident forgiveness depends on your car insurance company, the cost is typically less than the rate increase you would face after an accident and can save you money in the long run.

However, accident forgiveness isn’t worth it for everyone. If you don’t drive very often, you might not need this coverage. Also, if you have a bad driving record, you probably won’t qualify for accident forgiveness until those incidents fall off your record.

Accident forgiveness FAQs

Learn how driver’s license points affect rates, and check out the answers to common questions about accident forgiveness below.

  • What is claim forgiveness?

    Accident forgiveness, or claim forgiveness, is an endorsement that waives your first at-fault accident so it doesn’t affect your car insurance premiums. Without accident forgiveness, your insurance rate will likely increase after an accident, even if you weren’t at fault. Most major car insurance companies offer accident forgiveness, but you typically need to have a clean driving record for several years to be eligible.

  • How many accidents can you have before Progressive drops you?

    Progressive doesn’t specify the number of accidents you can have before it drops you as a customer. According to the company’s website, if a driver has more than two incidents on their record or files more claims, there’s a chance that it may refuse to renew the policy.[4] Ultimately, Progressive may decide to drop you if it determines you’re too risky to insure.

  • Why isn’t car insurance accident forgiveness legal in California?

    Proposition 103 passed in 1988, which indirectly made it illegal for car insurance companies to offer accident forgiveness in California. The proposition requires insurers to submit rate change requests to the state government, and the state may deny or accept rate changes based on the insurers’ justifications for the changes.[5] Accident forgiveness policies may charge higher rates up front to offset the cost of forgiving a potential future claim, which the state doesn’t accept as a reason to increase premiums.

  • How do you reduce auto insurance rates after an accident?

    You can reduce your car insurance rates after an accident in many ways. You can look for discounts, bundle your policies, and raise your deductibles to get a lower premium. You can also shop around and get quotes from other car insurance companies to see if a different insurer can offer you a more affordable rate.

Sources

  1. III. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?."
  2. Liberty Mutual. "Accident Forgiveness Coverage: What Is It?."
  3. Progressive. "What Is Accident Forgiveness?."
  4. III. "What's the difference between auto policy cancellation and nonrenewal?."
  5. California Department of Insurance. "Prop 103 Consumer Intervenor Process."
Elizabeth Rivelli
Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth Rivelli is a freelance writer covering insurance and personal finance. She has extensive knowledge of various insurance lines, including property and casualty, health, and life insurance. Her byline has been featured in dozens of publications, including Investopedia, Forbes, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and Insurance.com

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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