When you are involved in an automobile accident, you expect certain things to happen with regards to your insurance policy. This is especially true if it is determined that the accident was as a result of your own negligence rather than that of the other party or parties involved. If your insurance company agrees to make a payout to the other driver, your premiums will most likely increase. If you continue to incur driving and traffic infractions, then your insurance agency may cancel your policy altogether as your risk factor will be too high to justify your coverage.
In the insurance industry, the term "accident forgiveness" can be simply described as not being punished by your insurance agency for being involved in an accident. It is getting off lightly, so as to speak, provided certain conditions as specified by your policy apply. Naturally, choosing a policy with this option may cost you more by way of premiums but may help you in the long run especially if you are a responsible driver.
For accident forgiveness to apply, insurers typically consider the following:
Some accidents are unavoidable and even the best defensive driver may not stand a chance against certain incidences. For example, bad weather can significantly deteriorate road conditions due to black ice or sleet. Rain and snow may also cause poor visibility increasing the chances of accidents. Other accidents are solely due to the negligence of other drivers. If you generally have a good driving record or have taken defensive driving courses in the past, then your auto insurer may let you off with a slap on the wrist when you are involved in an accident.
If you have a tarnished driving record, have many traffic and speeding tickets or have been involved in numerous driving infractions over a duration of time usually between one and three years, chances of getting accident forgiveness from your insurance agency in the event of an accident are slim to none.
Some agencies are stricter than others when it comes to accident forgiveness. Even if you have a perfect driving record but it is determined that you were to blame for the accident, they may choose not to grant forgiveness as others will overlook this. Be sure to check on the stipulations provided by your insurer to see what conditions apply.
As earlier indicated, accident forgiveness has a validity period. This is not so much with regard to its expiry, but rather its application. What this means is that if you go for a certain period of time, say one or two years without having an accident or any other major driving infractions, then you will likely get accident forgiveness in the event you are involved in one. If you have had several infractions within the insurer's stipulated timeframe, then you may not qualify for accident forgiveness. Another important factor to consider is that accident forgiveness may not follow you when you switch insurance agencies. Be sure to check the application of this feature if you are changing to a new insurer.