If you watch TV then you have probably seen the dozens of clever commercials regarding Accident Forgiveness. Are they for real or is it just another gimmick. We searched the web for clear definitions and information regarding the “First-time driver Accident Forgiveness” and “Safe Driving Record Accident Forgiveness”; what we found was about as clear as mud! The bottom line is that as a consumer you must remember that nothing is free. We found slight discounts in insurance sur-charge calculations which amounted to very small discounts after all the ink has dried on the policy. We also found big discounts available for safe driving records but the insurance premiums for these special policies were so much higher that in the end, the total discount was very small and in some cases ended up costing drivers more.
In our opinion, the truth about Accident Forgiveness Policies was much closer to gimmick than real savings.
Here are some excerpts from 3rd party reviewers.
In general, it works this way: If you have a clean driving record, the insurance company will ignore the first accident and not raise your premium. Further, your deductible could drop by as much as $100 each year you maintain a spotless record after the mishap.
The details, however, vary slightly from company to company: Some may give you accident forgiveness immediately, while others will only do so after you’ve been an accident-free policyholder for as many as five years. They also may require no moving violations for three years. You’ll need to talk with agents and read the fine print.
Once you study that fine print you’ll see that this feature is not free, even with a perfect driving history. At Allstate, for example, you get accident forgiveness by upgrading to a Gold or Platinum coverage plan. Gold costs 8 percent more and Platinum is 15 percent higher than a standard policy, according to Sheppard.
by Mark Smith, CarInsurance.com
If you’re in the market for a new policy or switching to another carrier, here is a short list of insurers who offer accident forgiveness and their requirements:
Progressive Auto Insurance
Requirements: You must have had a Progressive auto insurance policy for four years and no accidents for three consecutive years.
Downside: Accident forgiveness only applies to the first accident after three years on a policy.
Requirements: You must be an accident-free Geico policy holder for no less than five years.
Downside: The company’s surcharge waiver is awarded provided that you have a clean record at the end of five years. There is a chance that you may not receive it.
Requirements: A Liberty Mutual customer must maintain an accident-free record for five years. Additionally, the customer must not have received any driving violation in three years.
Downside: According to the company’s website, forgiveness coverage “is subject to the terms and conditions of Liberty Mutual’s underwriting guidelines.” These guidelines vary from state to state.
Requirements: You must be with Nationwide for five years and accident free for three years.
Downside: Accident forgiveness only applies to your first at-fault accident.
Carl Winfield, Mainstreet.com