The reality is that even the best driver on the road may make a mistake at some point and be involved in a collision. You could have a momentary lapse of judgment and bump into a curb or even hit another vehicle. While an accident is never intentional, an insurance company must always hold someone responsible. However, if you're a good driver who made such a mistake, there is hope in the form of at-fault accident "forgiveness."
Who's to blame?
In accidents where you're the sole individual involved, you are automatically to blame. For instance, if you back into a post, you are automatically found to be at fault. This makes logical sense: if there are no other parties involved, then the only possibility is that you are at-fault, since there is nobody else involved to make a mistake!
When it comes to accidents between two individuals or more, determining fault can be more difficult. As a rule of thumb, if you rear-end a vehicle or pull into one while making a lane change, you are at fault. In other cases, other factors will be taken into consideration to determine fault. Typically, the police will determine fault by gathering witness testimony and examining the scene.
If you're found to be at fault, an accident can stay on your record for up to 10 years. This means that your premiums will remain higher than normal for the duration of time that your insurance company chooses. This is why safe and responsible driving is such a vitally important habit; not only will you save yourself the personal trauma of having caused a collision, but you will save money on your premiums.
Thankfully, good drivers are often eligible for accident forgiveness. If you've been with an insurance company for a number of years, and have maintained a clean driving record, you could be given a slightly reduced increase in premiums. Your accident will not be entirely forgiven, and you will see a small increase in your rates, but you will not see the same increase that others would. By maintaining a clean driving record, you have shown your insurance provider that you are a responsible driver, and that an accident is more likely to do with circumstance than poor driving habits.