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Accident Forgiveness Insurance Coverage Explained

Last modified: Jul 25, 2023

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, an accident can prove to be highly expensive when you are at fault, as the car insurance premiums increase after an at-fault accident at the time of renewal. 

To avoid this major increase, some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness as additional coverage for your car insurance policy. This means the premium rates won’t go up after your first accident. You can find this insurance at GEICO, USAA, Allstate, Progressive, and other insurance providers. Make sure to consider all your options, so it is a great idea to check out our list of best car insurance providers in the US. 

You may be eligible for this insurance if you have a five-year record of accident-free driving. However, every insurance company has different requirements, so check with your insurer before purchasing the policy. 

Before you start looking for accident forgiveness insurance, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works to make an informed decision. 

How Does Accident Forgiveness Work?

What Is Accident Forgiveness?

If you get into an accident and you’re at fault, your insurance premiums will increase when you decide to renew your policy. This is because your driving record is one of the major factors considered when determining insurance premiums. In addition, you’ll pay higher premiums when you buy a new vehicle. 

Accident forgiveness can help you maintain the low rates of premium even if you cause an accident. Some companies include it in the car insurance policy, but others offer it as an add-on to your policy. 

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to accident forgiveness:

  • It’s not offered by all car insurance companies.
  • It isn’t allowed in all states. For instance, accident forgiveness isn’t available in California.
  • There are certain restrictions for accident forgiveness, depending on the insurance provider. Typically, it‘s offered only once per policy.
  • The at-fault accident stays on the driving record even after accident forgiveness has been used.  Having an accident on your driving record can impact your premium rates in the future if you switch to a new insurance provider. 

Is Accident Forgiveness a One-Time Thing?

Typically, accident forgiveness applies to one accident in the car insurance policy. Insurance companies forgive one at-fault accident every three to five years you drive safely. The exact number of years is determined by your insurer. 

What Is Considered Small Accident Forgiveness? How Does It Work?

Some companies offer small accident forgiveness in which the premium rate remains the same if the total claim of the at-fault accident is $500 or less. 

Is Accident Forgiveness Necessary?

If you are a high-risk driver or have a high-risk driver on your policy, then accident forgiveness coverage is certainly necessary. However, even for good drivers with clean records, this feature can be a good option.

How Long Do Accidents Stay on the Driving Record?

Typically, accidents can stay on your driving record between three and thirteen years, depending on the severity of the accident and other factors. 

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record in NY?

In NY, the accident stays on the record for three years. It gets removed on the 1st of January of the fourth year.

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record in California?

In California, minor violations and small accidents stay on the record for three years. But severe accidents can remain on record for as long as ten years, depending on the severity. 

How Long Does It Take for Car Insurance to Go Down?

It typically takes three to five years after an at-fault accident for the insurance rates to go down.

Who Is Eligible for Accident Forgiveness?

The eligibility for accident forgiveness varies depending on the car insurance provider you choose. Typically, you must keep a clean driving record for five to seven years to be eligible for accident waiver protection. Some companies have auto insurance with accident forgiveness included in their policies. 

How to Obtain Accident Forgiveness

If you’d like to obtain accident forgiveness insurance, you must have zero at-fault accidents and no traffic violations within the last three to seven years. However, this varies depending on the car insurance company. 

If you’re wondering how to get accident forgiveness, here are a few ways:

  • You can get it as an add-on to your current auto insurance policy by paying extra.
  • You can earn it by being a loyal customer and safe driver.
  • You can get it by paying extra and being a loyal customer.

The Benefits of Accident Forgiveness

If you are a good driver, then you might be wondering why you need accident forgiveness. No matter how safely you drive, there is still a chance of getting into an accident and being at fault. It’s worth being covered for something that could happen anytime instead of ending up with a major increase in the premium rate. 

Here are some of the benefits of getting accident forgiveness coverage:

  • It stops the rate from increasing in case of an at-fault accident.
  • It gives you peace of mind when you drive.
  • It helps keep good driver discounts.

The Drawbacks of Accident Forgiveness

All accidents don’t automatically increase your premium rates, meaning you might never use accident forgiveness, but you’ll still have to pay for it. The cost and severity of the claim of an at-fault accident and your past record determine the amount of premium rate increase. 

Moreover, you can only use accident forgiveness once in three to five years, and then you’ll have to wait for policy renewal to get it again. 

Here are some of the drawbacks of accident forgiveness:

  • It’s not available in all states.
  • It only covers one accident per policy.
  • You have to make an additional payment on top of your insurance.
  • Not all drivers are eligible for this coverage.

Do All Insurance Companies Offer Accident Forgiveness?

It’s essential to note that every insurance provider has different requirements for accident forgiveness insurance. 

The following are the major car insurance providers offering accident forgiveness coverage:


Allstate is among the top best car insurance providers in the country, offering multiple options and features for drivers. The Allstate accident forgiveness is offered as an add-on to your insurance policy and is only available for drivers with a good driving record. The protection starts the day you purchase it. 

Some of the Allstate discounts include:

  • Safe Driving Bonus — Allstate offers you a discount for every six months of a clean driving record. 
  • Deductible Rewards — You can get $100 off on the deductible every year you drive with a clean driving record. 
  • Drivewise — It’s personalized feedback on your driving that helps you improve your driving habits and reduce your overall insurance cost. 

It’s important to consult your insurance representative to learn how you can gain these perks. 


Progressive insurance is an ideal option for individuals in their 20s and also for those with a DUI history on their driving record. It’s among the best car insurance providers with outstanding reviews and high ratings. But does Progressive have accident forgiveness?

Progressive accident forgiveness is offered in two ways — small accident forgiveness and large accident forgiveness. These are available through the Progressive Loyalty Rewards program. 

The small accident forgiveness is provided to drivers with a clean driving record from the very beginning of their policy. In this program, the rate of premiums doesn’t increase for claims that are $500 or less. 

If you’ve been with Progressive for five years and have had a clean driving record for three years, then you can qualify for the large accident forgiveness. It provides forgiveness for severe accidents.

You need to enter your current coverage, ticket history, vehicle information, and your driver's license information to determine whether or not you qualify for the accident forgiveness. Getting this coverage is highly recommended for high-risk drivers. 


USAA car insurance is available for honorably separated, retired, and active military personnel as well as their family members. But does USAA have accident forgiveness?

It does offer accident forgiveness. The company evaluates the driving history of the drivers before determining the insurance rates and other policy details. The low-risk drivers with no at-fault accidents in the past five years are eligible to receive accident forgiveness free of charge. 

You can avoid an at-fault accident premium increase when you choose accident forgiveness with USAA. It’s available in most states. Be sure to check the availability before purchasing the policy. 


The Nationwide accident forgiveness coverage is offered to policyholders as an add-on to their existing policies. It’s only available in selected states. Keep in mind that it’s only applicable for your first at-fault accident.

This policy can be extended to other people covered under your policy, but you must remember that it can only be used once per policy and not per driver. 

It’s best to consult your insurance agent to determine the eligibility and further details of the Nationwide accident forgiveness. 

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is also among the best car insurance providers that offer accident forgiveness. Aside from regular insurance coverage that includes collision and liability, Liberty Mutual also provides other types of coverage that can help you save on out-of-pocket expenses, including:

  • Better car replacement
  • New car replacement
  • Roadside assistance
  • Towing and labor

Liberty Mutual accident forgiveness is offered as an add-on, along with an extensive reward program that helps you reduce your car insurance premium rates. It’s available only for drivers with a clean driving record. You can be eligible for accident forgiveness if:

  • You’ve experienced no at-fault accidents in the last five years.
  • You’ve had no traffic violations in the past five years.
  • If you’re under the age of 25, you need to have five consecutive years of clean driving record.

You can get the accident forgiveness through Liberty Mutual regardless of your previous carrier if you are eligible under the abovementioned criteria. This policy only applies to your first at-fault accident, and it’s not available in California. 


Geico is among the most popular and affordable car insurance companies in the country that also offers accident forgiveness. You can get this coverage at the time of renewal of your policy or when you first purchase the policy. 

You can earn accident forgiveness free of cost if you reach a milestone anniversary with Geico and have a safe driving record. You will be notified when you earn this coverage. 

Here are the Geico accident forgiveness eligibility criteria:

  • You must be over 21 years old.
  • You must have a clean driving record for the past five years.

You can check whether you are eligible for free accident forgiveness coverage by logging into your online account and selecting your auto policy. The notification for accident forgiveness might be shown as a reward in your policy if you have earned it. If you have purchased it as an add-on, you can go to “My Policy Details” and find it under the “Upgrades” section. 

The Hartford

You can qualify for the Hartford accident forgiveness program if you’ve maintained a clean driving record for the past five years. Keep in mind that you can only be eligible if all drivers under your policy have a clean record for the past five years. 

State Farm 

The State Farm accident forgiveness is available for the policyholders who have a clean driving record and have been with the company for at least nine years. State Farm’s rate of accident forgiveness varies, depending on numerous factors, including your driving history, age, car model, and location.

With accident forgiveness insurance, you will still qualify for any discounts and benefits after the first at-fault accident. However, there is a limit of one claim per policy. Therefore, if you have already claimed accident forgiveness for your first at-fault accident, you won’t be eligible for this coverage.


The Farmers insurance accident forgiveness is only available in certain states and is an add-on to your policy. This coverage is available with the Branded Smart Plan Automobile policies and is applicable for one accident every three years.


The Travelers accident forgiveness is available under a Responsible Driver Plan which also includes minor violation forgiveness. In this coverage, one accident and one minor violation are forgiven every three years. This is only available for drivers who have a good driving record. 

When looking for accident forgiveness auto insurance, it’s essential to shop around to determine which policy works best for you. 

How Does Accident Forgiveness Work in Massachusetts?

The insurers assess your driving records, looking at traffic violations and accidents when approving you for accident forgiveness. Your first at-fault accident won’t result in higher premiums. 

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, accidents stay on your record for five years before automatically getting removed. 

What Is MassachusettsCollision Deductible Waiver?

You won’t need to pay the collision deductible waiver when you have been less than 50% at fault in the collision. 

Is Accident Forgiveness Allowed in California?

Accident forgiveness isn’t available and is considered illegal in California because of the voter-approved Proposition 103 passed in 1988, making it illegal for insurance companies to charge excessive rates on the policies. 

This proposition also requires insurers to justify their costs, and it’s almost impossible to justify accident forgiveness policies, which indirectly bans accident forgiveness. 

How Long Does an Accident Affect Your Insurance in California?

In California, most minor violations and accidents can affect your insurance for around three years.

Good Driver Benefits

Aside from accident forgiveness, many car insurance companies offer several other benefits to drivers with a clean record. The two major good driver benefits are as follows: 

Vanishing Deductible

It’s a perk offered to drivers with a clean record that helps reduce their deductible amount. It means you won’t have to pay a high deductible when you use the insurance coverage in case of an accident. 

Good Driving Discount

Various car insurance companies offer this discount for drivers who have gone three to five years without accidents or traffic violations. The amount of discount you receive varies by the insurance provider. 

How Do I Qualify for Accident Forgiveness?

The only way you can qualify for accident forgiveness is to maintain an accident-free driving record for the past several years. Keep in mind that accident forgiveness is not available in all states, and not all car insurance companies offer it.

Some companies provide accident forgiveness for free based on the driving record, but others offer it as an upgrade or add-on to the policy. 


So, is accident forgiveness worth it? 

Like all other insurance purchases, it’s important to weigh all your options and analyze your situation to determine whether or not you should purchase accident forgiveness. It’s essential to keep in mind that accidents can happen to even the best drivers, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Learning more about the accident forgiveness insurance coverage offered by different companies can help you make an informed decision. Consult your car insurance provider to determine if getting this coverage is a good option for you. 


Do You Pay a Deductible if You Have Accident Forgiveness?

Yes. Your at-fault accident may not result in higher premiums, but you still have to pay your deductible to get repairs done on your car. 

Can You Get Accident Forgiveness After an Accident?

Once you get into an at-fault accident, you can get accident forgiveness after three to six years, depending on the insurance company policy. 

Can Your Insurance Go Up if Someone Hits You?

If you are not at fault, the insurance doesn’t go up. 

How Often Do You Get Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness only applies to one accident per policy, and it resets after three to five years. 

How Do You Get Rid of an At-Fault Accident?

The at-fault accident stays on your record for three to five years or longer, depending on the severity of the accident and the state laws. It automatically gets removed from your record after that. 

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