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What Does Accident Forgiveness Mean?

It is a fact that car accidents happen quite frequently. In Canada alone, some 160,000 car accidents are recorded each year by insurance companies. Statistically speaking, most drivers will be involved in an accident, whether at-fault or not. So what insurance coverage can drivers get to protect themselves from rising rates after causing an accident? One such option is Accident Forgiveness also known as collision forgiveness, driver record protection, or first claim forgiveness. Let us now look at the details of accident forgiveness coverage to determine who qualifies for it and how it can protect you from increases in your insurance costs. 

What Is Accident Forgiveness Coverage?

In the most basic sense, accident forgiveness is a ‘rider’, or an add-on to your standard car insurance policy which prevents your insurance rates from going up after you have caused an accident. It is important for drivers to understand that you must purchase this coverage option prior to a collision claim, otherwise, accident forgiveness will not be applicable. Also, be sure to contact your insurance agent or broker as accident forgiveness coverage is only valid for one term and must be renewed each year.   

Who Is Covered Under Accident Forgiveness? 

Insurance companies determine your coverage costs based on your driving record, focusing on past claims, accidents, tickets, and criminal convictions. This also applies to the eligibility for accident forgiveness coverage, however, there are stricter guidelines from insurance companies as to who can be offered this option. Most often, you can get accident forgiveness coverage if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are the primary driver as listed on your insurance policy.

  • You have been at-fault claims free for 6 years.

  • Accident forgiveness coverage applies on a per vehicle basis for: cars, trucks, motorcycles, motorhomes. 

Accident forgiveness adds an extra layer of protection for the policyholder when making a claim, however, this claim can be used for one collison and will stay on your driving record for six years. Be sure to check with your broker or insurance agent whether accident forgiveness is offered by your insurance company. 

What Accident Forgiveness Doesn't Cover

There are situations in which accident forgiveness is not applicable when making a claim through your insurance policy. In Ontario, you will not be applicable for accident forgiveness if:

  • You have been charged with an offence under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act: (i.e. careless driving, stunt driving, impaired driving, driving without insurance).

  • You have accrued demerit points to your licence as a result of your conviction. 

  • You have caused an accident while driving a business or commercial vehicle.

  • Any driver, other than yourself, has caused an accident. 

  • Any collision after your first one is not applicable for accident forgiveness. 

Also, be sure to opt for accident forgiveness coverage when you switch insurance companies, do not assume it will apply automatically. In fact, some insurance companies do not offer accident forgiveness at all, or have different criteria for eligibility. 

If you are looking to have an extra layer of protection with accident forgiveness coverage, please contact us today and we will gladly help you.