For USAA auto insurance members out there - If you have been a member for at least 5 years and haven't had an at fault accident in that time, you may qualify for free Accident Forgiveness (Feature Earned). HOWEVER - you must sign up for it even though it is free. For some reason they won't automatically add it to your policy (the CSR I chatted with said their members don't like being signed up for things blah blah blah - i.e. it's a marketing technique that they can skate on if you don't realize you have to take action). I haven't had my rate increase yet and don't know the impact, but this probably could have saved me from it.
I just found this out the hard way with my first wreck, so don't let it happen to you. Sign up for it if you have earned it.
Edit: You have to have been with USAA for 5 years - whether or not you have to have to have had their auto insurance (in addition to some other service with them) that long I do not know - all that was explained to me was that I had been with them for 5 years.
Edit 2: Some people seem to automagically have it without doing anything, some have had to add it. Check your policy to see which category you fall into. They may honor it even if it's not already added, but it's uncertain. I'll report back in the fall when I find out.
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Senior Member - 1K
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 3:14p
I'm a little confused. Do I need to have had USAA's insurance and have been accident free for 5-years? or just accident free for five years.
I.e. I've been with Geico and AmFam over the past 5 years but am accident free, am I eligible for free accident forgiveness if I switched over?
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 3:20p
You have to have been with USAA for 5 years - whether or not you have to have to have had their auto insurance (in addition to some other service with them) that long I do not know - all that was explained to me was that I had been with them for 5 years (18 actually). Sorry I couldn't be more help there. If you qualify you should see it under your coverage as 'coverage accepted' or 'coverage declined'. In my case it was listed even though I didn't have it as 'coverage declined' under my coverage. Not sure why....
FWIW the claims agent said I should probably just get it and shouldn't have had to do anything but I 'couldn't quote him on that'... the online help said I needed to have signed up for it, which is why I'm spreading the word in case it saves somebody.
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 3:41p
I never noticed it before, but my insurance policy says "This feature is included because you have kept an accident-free driving record with USAA for five years. "
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 3:44p
I have that verbage too, but to the right of it (if you are looking at your coverage online), mine curiously says 'Coverage declined'. Maybe the CSR was confused and they already yanked it b/c of my claim but she explained you had to sign up for it and I had not opted to.
Accident Forgiveness Stop a future accident from increasing your premium. This feature applies to only one at-fault accident per policy at a time.
Feature Earned This feature is included because you have kept an accident-free driving record with USAA for five years.
Never added it or seen it before, but thx for the heads up OP, nice perk.
just a salad for me
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 4:49p
I wonder if they really would forgive you if you had maximum coverage with extra personal liability on all your policies then went out drunk driving and caused a bus load of schoolchildren to go off a cliff.
Senior Member - 1K
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 4:50p
I imagine that, like all things insurance, it would vary by state.
posted: Jan. 16, 2013 @ 4:55p
tjguitar85 said: I imagine that, like all things insurance, it would vary by state.
This is true. I have discovered googling around that it's not available in NC or CA (which doesn't apply to me).
Curiously I could add the coverage now (which really affects my next coverage period that starts in Feb which I have already paid for) - will be interesting to see how that shakes out. I suspect since I didn't technically have the coverage when I had the accident, it may not apply. However, since it's on my next policy that will come up for renewal - maybe? Weird.
Edit: I might have some ammo if I'd denied. My printed statement from last fall on my policy states "EARNED ACCIDENT FORGIVENESS APPLIES WITH FIVE YEARS CLEAN DRIVING WITH USAA." So while look at my coverage online, it claims I declined the (free) service, the policy document (with the id cards to print out) tell a different story (and would make it very plausible that by their own documentation I thought I already had that coverage)
posted: Jan. 17, 2013 @ 9:58p
Last year with my renewal package from Liberty Mutual the cover letter said the usual "Thank you for being a loyal customer" BS and went on to say that because of my safe driving and loyalty I was eligible for Accident Forgiveness. Sure enough before the actual renewal date, my wife is in a minor accident (doesn't bother to try and work something out under the table). 2 weeks later we get an updated policy with a $600 premium adjustment (after they paid out $525.. Grrr). I called up to ask about the Accident Forgiveness that I was supposed to be "eligible" for: "Oh yes for $350 a year we can add that to your policy but it won't apply to your previous accident"
I'm with Amica now.
posted: Jan. 17, 2013 @ 10:24p
jfunk138 said: "Oh yes for $350 a year we can add that to your policy but it won't apply to your previous accident"
FWIW, that's the way most of the accident forgiveness features work so far as I can tell.
Whether the cost is explicit or buried inside something else, you essentially are pre-paying the future potential claim.
There's no such thing as a free lunch. Or free claim.
Senior Member - 2K
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 9:50a
I have USAA and can confirm that at least in my case they honored this. I had this and had a fairly significant at fault fender bender 18 months ago (i.e., about $15,0000 worth of damage to two cars--mostly mine which went under the truck's bumper) and USAA has not raised my rates at all (I have had three renewals). I never asked for the coverage and any cost was baked into the overall rates which no other insurance company when I tried (before the accident) could touch so I am happy.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 10:56a
Thanks, added to my account with a click!
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:04a
I'll have to remember to check on this in a few years when I hit my 5 years. Then I can really start driving like a maniac.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:13p
I had to add it but it was free.
The verbiage before I added it (copied below) suggests that if I do have an accident in the future then they will automatically start billing me for this feature, or do you think I'm reading this wrong?
Add Accident Forgiveness
Since you've been insured with USAA at least five years and the drivers on your policy have no at-fault accidents, you've earned Accident Forgiveness! Since you've earned it there is no charge.
But, you'll still want to continue to be protected if you're in an at-fault accident by adding this money saving feature – then it's just a few dollars a month.
Accidents stay on your driving record for up to three years. Accident Forgiveness ensures your premiums will not be increased should you have an at-fault accident and it will continue to protect your rates so long as you do not exceed one at-fault accident every three years.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:16p
No. If you have excessive accidents, you won't get billed to keep accident forgiveness in place. You just lose that benefit ... and typically cannot buy it back even of you offer to pay.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:42p
That verbage (as it was explained to me) applied to some criteria - You've been with USAA less than 5 years but have had a clean record for X years (sounds like 3 years with USAA), you actually could buy this coverage for a nominal fee. Once you hit the 5 year mark you either automatically get it, or get it for free if you sign up for it (no one seems to be able to answer that for sure really). Once you get in an accident, it might not be an option to purchase for 3 years without an accident.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:58p
I am just starting year 3 with USAA. I am buying accident forgiveness for less than 2 dollars (per six months, I believe) and have been doing so for at least a year . I had no chargeable accidents to me when I switched.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:02p
rooms222 said: I am buying accident forgiveness for less than 2 dollars (per six months, I believe)
Interesting. Very interesting. Thank you very much for the data point.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:12p
BEEFjerKAY said: There's no such thing as a free lunch. Or free claim.
Actually, with progressive accident forgiveness is free after a few years with them. I can also verify they do stick by it. My wife was in a decent at-fault accident and when we got the renewal offer it was actually $20 cheaper than the last renewal.
posted: Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:25p
vipercon said: Actually, with progressive accident forgiveness is free after a few years with them.
True, there is no line item on the bill.
However, don't think for one instant that it isn't part of the pricing algorithm for that state/product combination.
It's similar to when GM extended its auto warranties "for free" but raised the prices of all of its cars.
Trust me, in some circles, accident forgiveness generates a fair amount of gleeful giggles. Partly because it effectively becomes an "exit tax" for anyone looking to leave for another carrier.
edit: Actually, let me clarify. If a company offers accident forgiveness to you for free, take it. Because in that case you're effectively paying for it whether you get it or not.
Senior Member - 2K
posted: Jan. 19, 2013 @ 8:16a
Texas. It's on my policy. "Coverage Selected" - $0.00 cost.
Accident Forgiveness Stop a future accident from increasing your premium. This feature applies to only one at-fault accident per policy at a time. Coverage Selected
posted: Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:05a
What rate do ppl pay? I'lll go first $65 month. 12 yr vehicle. 10,000 miles year. In Maryland. Rate include bare minimum with $250,000K. Rate has increased in past years. Was $54 for same car and coverage 3 years ago...
posted: Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:59a
Sign me up! The next time someone cuts me off, they'll get a PIT maneuver and all will be forgiven.
posted: Jan. 31, 2013 @ 7:34p
I just checked. It's not on my policy but it is on my ex-husband's policy and I know he's not the type to read or sign up for anything, so they must have added it automatically. We started with USAA at the same time. I don't think it's been 5 years yet but maybe it has. He only pays 1.47 per 6 months for the feature. I just emailed them about adding it to mine so we'll see what happens.
EDIT: They replied that it isn't available in my state. Grrrr.
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