Feb 22, 2021
What You Need To Know About Accident Forgiveness
Accidents happen, and often involve drivers with squeaky clean driving records. But should a single incident after years of clean driving negatively impact your car insurance costs? Most would agree that it shouldn’t. This is why many insurers offer accident forgiveness to their policyholders to minimize the impact of an incident.
The best of us make mistakes from time to time, and we all deserve to be forgiven, even if it was not your fault. According to a Toronto Star report there are 160,000 car accidents happening in Canada per year. Many drivers feel safer knowing they have an extra layer of protection.
What Is Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness means your insurer will not increase your rates after your first at-fault accident. Auto insurance with this add on is increasingly common today. It is a feature that is offered by many insurers across the country. It is exactly as it sounds – your insurer will forgive for the first incident that is your fault. But there are limits and regulations around it.
How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?
Accident forgiveness is a feature that protects your driving record and your insurance costs. If you are at-fault, your premiums will not increase if you have it. Never assume that it is included with your policy. It also has its own cost and needs to be added.
Keep in mind, if you are involved in an incident, you may still have to pay your insurance deductible for repairs to your vehicle.
What Companies Offer Auto Insurance With Accident Forgiveness In Ontario?
Many insurers offer accident forgiveness. How it is offered and the specific details will vary. For some, it comes standard; and for others, it is additional add-on or an endorsement.
Many insurers offer this accident forgiveness as part of their standard policies. It is often available to drivers who have clean driving record.
Accident forgiveness is offered by insurers as additional protection. These packages can be purchased and go above and beyond what is covered in standard auto insurance.
Do All Drivers Qualify For Accident Forgiveness?
Not all drivers qualify for accident forgiveness. It is often reserved for drivers who have a clean driving record. It is a way for insurers to reward drivers who are claims free.
If you have a poor driving record or have been in multiple accidents, you cannot switch insurers to get it. If this were the case, drivers would be switching providers every time they got into a mishap.
Here are some of the eligibility requirements you may need to meet to qualify for adding the protection. Companies that offer it may require :
- Must Have An Active Policy : You must be currently insured.
- Accident Free Period : You must be licensed and free of mishaps for a defined number of years (usually 6).
- Personal Use Only : Coverage is for private passenger automobiles only. It is not included with commercial auto policies.
- When You Get A New Car : Eligibility will continue, even if you get a new vehicle.
- When Getting A New Policy : Some insurers will offer it as a way to acquire new customers.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Accident Forgiveness Insurance?
There are many benefits to having accident forgiveness including :
- First Accident Is Forgiven : The first accident you are responsible for is forgiven so it does not go on your driving record or affect your monthly payments.
- Standard With Some Companies : It may be included in 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 to get.
Is Accident Forgiveness Worth it?
If you have a clean driving record, you likely already have good rates. It may be worth it to get it to protect yourself in the event of causing an incident.
New regulations about accidents and premium increases have made many drivers second guess the need for additional protection. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario 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 accidents every three years.
Therefore, it is worthwhile only in the event of at-fault incidents involving significant damage – something to think about when considering before adding this endorsement.
What Is Not Covered By Accident Forgiveness?
Accident forgiveness does have limitations and conditions. Each company has a different set of rules for how it is governed. It’s important to read the fine print and understand the protection it provides.
Some of the common constraints include :
- First Accident Only : It only applies to your first at fault accident.
- May Not Apply If You Switch Insurance Companies : It 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 incident 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 : It does not apply if you are convicted of a major driving offense under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act or criminal charges.
- All Companies Have Different Coverage And Rules : Companies administer it differently and have different applicable limits.
- Qualifying Period : You may be required to be with your insurer for a specific time period before you can qualify for it.
Accident Forgiveness FAQs
You can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $90 or more per vehicle. Accident forgiveness is not available through all insurers. Contact us today to see how much it will cost.
Your policy will state whether you have it. If you are still not sure you have it, contact your insurance advisor to get clarification.
It depends on the insurer. Some will only forgive your first at-fault accident. Others may reset your accident forgiveness after three or more years of accident and claims free driving. Even if you switch providers, they will re-evaluate your record and ask how many years you have been incident free.
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?
Accident forgiveness can give you a break when you make your first mistake behind the wheel. Not sure if you have it? Want to learn more? We are be happy to help you. Contact us today toll free 1-855-550-5515 to learn more.
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