January 20, 2011
With the introduction of managed competition in Massachusetts, auto insurers Plymouth Rock and Arbella have been able to introduce accident forgiveness to Massachusetts drivers. The exact details of accident forgiveness vary between insurance companies, but the basic concept is universal: drivers, for an extra fee (or sometimes for free for customers that have been loyal to a company), have the option of opting in to accident forgiveness, which insures that a customer's rates will not increase if they are found at fault for an accident. Generally, this only applies to the first at-fault accident during a given term.
With Plymouth Rock's accident forgiveness, a driver with a 99 merit rating can opt in for free if that driver's policy has been in effect for at least four years prior to the renewal policy date. New policyholders can pay a fee to opt in to accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness only applies to the first accident surcharge per policy. It remains in effect for the length of the surcharge, but subsequent accidents are subject to surcharge. It only applies while a driver is insured with Plymouth Rock; the loss is still reported to the Merit Rating Board and is subject to surcharge by another carrier. It does not apply to accidents incurred by inexperience operators.
Like Plymouth Rock, Arbella's accident forgiveness is only available to experienced operators with a 99 merit rating. Arbella's accident forgiveness is a flat fee of $45 a year, which entitles the policyholder to waive surcharges as a result of an at-fault accident. Accident forgiveness only applies to the first accident during the policy term; subsequent accidents are subject to surcharges. If a policyholder uses their accident forgiveness endorsement, that policyholder must continue to pay the $45 yearly fee until the policyholder's surcharge points go away.
Call us at 508-540-2400 to learn more, or to enroll for accident forgiveness.