Allstate’s “Accident Forgiveness” Program Shows What’s Wrong with Car Insurance

Recent advertisements for car insurance provide blatant examples of what is wrong with auto insurance in this country and how it fuels the epidemic of dangerous driving in America.

One of the ads is for Allstate’s new “accident forgiveness” plan, which is now available in 21 states. Under the program, for about 15 percent more than a standard policy, an Allstate customer can have multiple “accidents” without seeing a rate increase. Allstate expects this plan to be especially appealing to parents of teen drivers as well as to crash-prone adults.

As with all auto insurance sold in the U.S., Allstate’s “accident forgiveness” plan provides full coverage in a crash regardless of what the policyholder is doing when he or she crashes. A crash could be caused by an adult or teen driver who was driving 25 mph over the speed limit, talking on a cell phone, operating a laptop computer, running through red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, or any combination of these behaviors, and it would be covered just the same as if it were a genuine accident.

Promising, in exchange for a fee, to buy someone a new car and pay all their legal expenses, as well as liability up to the limits of their policy, when they crash their car while engaging in deliberate illegal or negligent behavior should itself be against the law.

It’s not. As a result, car insurance plays a major role in promoting and encouraging deadly driving in America.

Allstate is not the only company that has recently launched an ad campaign highlighting its willingness to cover reckless and negligent driving. Farmers insurance recently aired an ad featuring a scene from the 1991 film, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” in which Kathy Bates’character repeatedly and deliberately rams her vehicle into a parked car belonging to two rude young women, after which she yells out to them, “Face it, I’m older and I’ve got more insurance.”

The message, once again, is clear: “We cover it all, so go ahead and crash until your heart’s content.” This ad aired during television network news, on the History Channel and Showtime, as well as during other movie-oriented programming.

The Partnership believes that as long as dangerous drivers continue to be shielded by auto insurance from the true cost of motor vehicle crashes, they will have little incentive to change their behavior.

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