There have been a few positives to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, such as more time with family, decreased pollution, and fewer car accidents. In fact, at least 20 states have reported a noticeable drop in car crashes, specifically those with fatalities. In California, alone, there has been an astonishing 84% decrease in fatal crashes.
While it is true that fatalities are down, overall accidents haven’t decreased as much as they could. This is largely due to the number of drivers who are taking advantage of the open roads by speeding.
Insurance companies have taken notice and have made some effort to automatically pass on a part of their savings to their customers. After all, with fewer accidents, fewer people are filing claims, meaning they aren’t paying out as much money.
Starting in March and April, some insurers issued credits or rebates, ranging from one-time $50-$60 refunds to discounts on monthly premiums. A few companies have continued to give discounts in June, while some say they plan to offer coronavirus-related discounts of around 11% when a customer’s policy is renewed.
However, customers may be eligible for even more savings, something they’ll have to work to get back.
Are Car Insurance Companies Holding Back?
According to a traffic and accident analysis completed by the (CFA), consumers should have received a 32% decrease in premiums for the final two weeks of April, along with the entire months of May and June. In fact, the CFA, along with the (CEJ) sent letters to this effect to insurance companies and state insurance regulators on March 18 and March Despite this, the CFA reports that only a few companies provided relief of 26% or more during April and May, while ignoring the two weeks in March.
At the same time, some stakeholders in the insurance world have pointed out additional and mitigating factors regarding car insurance risks during the coronavirus pandemic, such as allowing privately insured cars to be used for delivery services. Their argument is that such a large rebate or refund is unwarranted.
Driving During the Summer Months
Although the US is trying to get back to ‘normal,’ driving is expected to remain at lower levels than normal for some time. Despite this, some insurers aren’t planning to provide any further rebates or reductions. Of course, some are. For example, USAA and Allstate have extended their monthly relief into June. Additionally, USAA has declared their intention to continue monitoring claims and providing month-to-month relief, if the numbers call for it.
Other insurers are staying quiet about their plans for summer insurance relief. Still, other insurers, including State Farm, have promised only slight savings. From March to May, State Farm provided a 25% credit for all premiums paid. Now, they say they’ll offer an 11% reduction, beginning with policies renewed in July and August.
Rebates and Refunds Tied to Your Current Insurer
Insurers have been able to choose how they provided relief. Some opted for refund checks, while others have chosen to give statement credits or provide credit against a future insurance policy purchase. So, what happens to any relief you may be due if you decide to switch insurers?
Well, it’s not all that clear. Many company websites use vague or unclear language to detail their plans, which is likely due to an effort to discourage shopping around and switching companies.
How Can You be Sure You are Getting What it Owed to You?
Start by talking to your insurance company. Ask them to clearly explain what their plans are for offering continued relief due to the coronavirus.
Let them know if you are not satisfied. Most companies want to retain their customers, so if you aren’t happy with their answer, complain to encourage them to see what else they can do for you.
Don’t be afraid to shop around. If you haven’t received your spring savings, contact your insurance company. Ask about any account credits that may be issued with your policy renewal. Ask how you will receive credits if you choose to switch companies. Be sure to do this well ahead of your renewal date, so that you have time to shop around if you are not happy with their answer.
Stay up to date on your insurers’ plans. To be certain you are aware of any changes, subscribe to notifications and news update from your current insurer. This can usually be done through their website or their app.
Look at information available through your state insurance commissioner. State insurance commissioners are elected, in part, to regulate premiums and consumer policies. In some states, these public servants are already highly involved in mediations between the insurance industry and consumers/consumer groups to effectively resolve any issues related to insurance and the coronavirus.
However, some are not. In this case, you may want to advocate for them to do more. You can find your state insurance commissioner and their contact information here. There’s no doubt that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on many aspects of our life. Don’t allow it to affect your car insurance, get the rebate you deserve.