What does ‘accident forgiveness’ mean in a car insurance policy?

By: Emma Shulist | Economical Insurance
September 21, 2021

An at-fault collision can happen to even the most careful of drivers, and you may be wondering how you can protect yourself from rising insurance rates if you’re ever involved in one. Adding accident forgiveness coverage to your car insurance policy can help.

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness — also known as collision forgiveness, driving record protection, or first claim forgiveness — is a car insurance endorsement that helps you avoid a premium increase after your first at-fault collision.

How do you qualify for accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is unlike many other car insurance endorsements, which almost anyone can purchase. In fact, many insurers have strict eligibility guidelines and will only add accident forgiveness to your policy after you’ve proven yourself to be a safe driver. This typically means you haven’t been in an at-fault or partially at-fault accident in years.

Eligibility for accident forgiveness, including how long you must stay accident-free, also varies from province to province and from insurer to insurer. If you have a clean driving record, contact your broker to find out if you qualify to add accident forgiveness to your car insurance policy.

Common myths about accident forgiveness

You may be surprised to learn that, even after you’ve added an accident forgiveness endorsement to your policy, there are some scenarios where it won’t apply — meaning your premium may still increase following a claim. Let’s bust a few common myths about how accident forgiveness coverage works to help you avoid any surprises in the event that you make a car insurance claim:

  • Myth: Accident forgiveness applies after any car accident. Reality: Accident forgiveness typically only applies after your first at-fault accident, but each insurer and province has different rules. An accident will also likely not be forgiven if you receive demerit points, are charged under your province’s highway traffic act, or commit a criminal code offense.
  • Myth: Your accident will be forgiven no matter who’s driving the car. Reality: Protection typically only applies to the primary driver on your car insurance policy. Reach out to your broker to see if you can purchase coverage for any additional drivers.
  • Myth: Accident forgiveness erases the accident from your driving record. Reality: If you’ve had an accident forgiven by your insurer, it’s not permanently wiped from your driving record — it’s still there and it could affect your premium if you choose to move to a new insurer.
  • Myth: You can bring your accident forgiveness coverage with you when you switch insurers. Reality: When you switch to a new insurer, you can’t transfer your accident forgiveness coverage. If you want to add it to your new policy, you’ll have to qualify for it with your new insurer.

Before you buy a new car insurance policy or renew your existing one, ask your licensed car insurance broker to find out if you’re eligible for accident forgiveness coverage.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.

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This article was originally posted on economical.com