Oct 23, 2020
What You Need To Know About Accident Forgiveness
Accidents happen. In fact, they happen every day, and often involve drivers with squeaky clean driving records. But should a single accident after years of clean driving negatively impact your insurance? Most would agree that it shouldn’t, and this is why many insurers offer accident forgiveness to their policyholders.
Even the best of us make mistakes from time to time, and we all deserve to be forgiven, even if a car accident was our fault.
What Is Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness means your insurer will not increase your rates after your first at fault accident. Auto insurance with accident forgiveness is increasingly common today and it is a policy feature that is offered by many insurance companies. We all know that at fault accidents can happen to even the best of drivers and having your insurance increase just doesn’t make sense. While there is no industry standard definition, accident forgiveness is exactly as it sounds – your insurer will forgive your first at fault accident.
How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?
Accident forgiveness is a policy feature that protects your driving record and your insurance premiums. If you are involved in an at fault accident, your premiums will not increase if you have insurance with accident forgiveness.
What Companies Offer Auto Insurance With Accident Forgiveness In Ontario?
Many insurers offer accident forgiveness. However, how it is offered and the specific details of the coverage will vary. For some, it comes standard with the policy; and for others, it is additional coverage or an endorsement.
Built-in Accident Forgiveness Insurance
Many insurers offer accident forgiveness coverage as part of their standard Ontario car insurance policy. This type of coverage is often available to drivers who have had an accident free driving record.
Accident Forgiveness Endorsement
Accident forgiveness coverage is also offered by insurers as additional coverage. These packages can be purchased and go above and beyond what is covered in your standard auto insurance policy.
Do All Drivers Qualify For Accident Forgiveness?
Not all drivers qualify for accident forgiveness coverage. It is often reserved for drivers who have a clean driving record. It is viewed as a way for insurers to reward drivers who are accident and claims free.
If you have a poor driving record or have been in multiple accidents, you cannot simply switch insurers to get accident forgiveness coverage. If this were the case, drivers would be switching insurance providers every time they got into an accident.
Here are some of the eligibility requirements you may need to meet to qualify for accident forgiveness coverage. Companies that have accident forgiveness may require :
- Must Have Insurance Coverage : You must be a current policyholder.
- Accident Free Period : You must be licensed and accident-free for a defined number of years (usually 6).
- Personal Use Only : Coverage is for private passenger automobiles only and is not commercial auto insurance policies.
- When You Get A New Car : Eligibility will continue, even if you get a new vehicle.
- New Policy : Some insurers will offer accident forgiveness as a way to acquire new customers.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Accident Forgiveness Insurance?
There are many benefits to having accident forgiveness insurance :
- First Accident Is Forgiven : Your first at fault accident is forgiven so it does not go on your driving record.
- Will Not Affect Insurance Costs : Your first at fault accident will not affect your payments.
- Standard With Some Companies : Accident forgiveness is included in many policies for drivers who are eligible.
- Incentive To Drive Safe : It is an incentive to drive safely and stay claims free.
- Helps Keep Your Rates Low : It helps to protect the low premiums you have worked hard to get.
Should You Get Accident Forgiveness Coverage?
If you have a clean driving record and are a safe driver, you likely already have good rates. However, it may be worth it to get accident forgiveness to protect yourself in the event of getting into an accident.
Also, new insurance rules about accidents and premium increases have made many drivers second guessing the need for additional accident forgiveness coverage. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (Now FSRA) explains :
Insurers can no longer use a minor at-fault accident that occurs on or after June 1, 2016 meeting certain criteria to increase your premiums. The criteria include that no payment has been made by any insurer, that there are no injuries and that damages to each car and property were less than $2,000 per car and were paid by the at-fault driver. This provision is limited to one minor accident every three years.
Therefore, accident forgiveness is worthwhile only in the event of at fault accidents involving significant damage – something to think about when considering this form of coverage.
What Is Not Covered By Accident Forgiveness Coverage?
Accident forgiveness does have limitations and conditions, and each company has a different set of rules for how it is governed. Therefore, it’s important to read the fine print of your policy and understand the totality of the coverage.
Some of the common limitations and conditions include :
- First Accident Only : It only applies to your first at fault accident.
- May Not Apply If You Switch Insurance Companies : Accident forgiveness does not travel with you if you switch providers.
- Accident Free Period : You need to be accident free for a specified period of time before an at fault accident happens.
- Primary Driver : It only protects the primary driver on the policy.
- Demerit Points : It does not protect you from being charged or getting demerit points.
- Major Driving Offense : Accident forgiveness does not apply if you are convicted of a major driving offence.
- All Companies Have Different Coverage And Rules : Companies administer the coverage differently and have different applicable limits.
- Qualifying Period : You may be required to be with your insurer for a specific period of time before you can qualify for the coverage.
Accident Forgiveness FAQs
Here are some answers to common questions we get about accident forgiveness :
You can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $90 or more per vehicle for coverage. Accident forgiveness is not available through all insurers. Get a quote today to see how much it will cost.
Your insurance policy will state whether you have accident forgiveness coverage. If you are still not sure after reviewing your policy, contact your insurance broker to get clarification.
It depends on the insurer. Some insurers will only forgive your first at fault accident. Others may reset your accident forgiveness coverage after 3 or more years of accident and claims free driving.
It depends on your driving situation. For some drivers, its worth it, and for others its not. Speak with your broker to assess your coverage needs.
No. Accident forgiveness only provides coverage for your first at fault accident. It does not protect you from insurance increases related to speeding tickets or any other type of driving convictions.
Have Questions About Accident Forgiveness Coverage?
Accidents happen. Accident forgiveness coverage can give you a break when you make your first mistake behind the wheel. Not sure if you have accident forgiveness coverage? Want to learn more about this coverage? We'll be happy to help you. Contact us today toll free 1-855-550-5515.
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