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Coronavirus auto insurance refunds: Here’s what you need to know
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Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the $50 one-time payments per policy from Nationwide.
Coronavirus stay-at-home orders have led to fewer people on the road and many cars sitting in driveways. Now, more than 82% of auto insurance companies like State Farm, Geico and Liberty Mutual are offering policyholders refunds and credits to save money, totaling more than $6.5 billion over the next two months, according to the Consumer Federation of America.
“We applaud the many insurance companies that have recognized that they cannot sit on policyholder premium while their customers sit at home,” said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for CFA and former Texas insurance commissioner, in a statement.
Relief programs offered by auto insurers include refunds, credits or one-time payments. Most of these forms of relief require no action from the consumer and will be applied automatically through the policyholder’s recent payment method on file.
Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus car insurance refunds.
Which car insurance companies are offering relief?
21st Century: 25% discount on premiums in April
AAA: 20% refund between for policyholders with insurance in effect from March 16 to May 15
Allstate: 15% discount on premiums in April and May
American Family Insurance: $50 one-time payment for each car insured
Amica: 20% credit on April and May premiums
Auto-Owners Insurance: 15% refund on April and May premiums
Chubb: 35% discount on April and May premiums
Cincinnati Insurance and Casualty: 15% credit on April and May premiums
CSAA: 20% refund on two months’ premium
Encova: 15% discount on April and May premiums
Farmers Insurance: 25% credit on premiums in April
Geico: 15% percent credit for auto and motorcycle customers whose policies renew between April 8 and Oct. 7 and new policy purchases between that time frame.
Hanover Insurance Group: 15% discount on April and May premiums
The Hartford: 15% refund on April and May premiums, only for policies in effect as of April 1
Liberty Mutual: 15% refund on two months of premiums, refunds begin starting April 7
Kemper: 15% credit on April and May premiums
MetLife: 15% credit on April and May premiums
Mercury Insurance: 15% credit on April and May premiums
Nationwide: $50 one-time refund per policy as of March 31; refunds will be credited automatically within 30 days to the current payment method on file
Next Insurance: 25% discount on April premiums
Progressive Insurance: 20% credit for April premiums for each car insured as of April 30; 20% reduction on May premiums for cars insured as of May 31; credits will be applied automatically in May and June
Safeco: 15% refund on April and May premiums starting April 7
State Farm: Most customers will receive, on average, a 25% credit between March 20 through May 31; exact percentages vary by state; credits will be applied automatically as early as June
Travelers: 15% credit for April and May premiums
USAA: 20% credit on two months’ premiums; credits will be applied automatically
When will I receive my car insurance relief?
It depends. Based on the type of refund program offered by your auto insurer, which can include refunds, credits or a one-time payment, drivers can expect to receive relief anywhere between April and June.
“Most consumers can expect to see refunds arriving from late April/early May to June, depending on their insurer. Those who are receiving a one-time check will likely see refunds by the end of April, while those receiving credits toward April and May policies will see credits in May and June,” said Michelle Megna, editorial director of carinsurance.com.
For insurance companies sending a one-time check, refunds could arrive before the end of April, Megna says, as state regulators have to sign-off before checks can be mailed.
Coronavirus relief: State Farm, Progressive latest auto insurers to return money to policyholders
How can I request a refund if I’ve prepaid my premium months in advance?
Typically, policyholders who have prepaid premiums will more than likely receive credits for the same months’ that are being issued to policyholders with monthly premiums.
What are other ways I can save money on my auto insurance right now?
Relief programs aren’t the only ways that drivers can cut their auto insurance costs down during these unprecedented times. Experts suggest that policyholders looking for more ways to save can shop around for other insurers offering better rates, review their coverage levels, inquire about eligible discounts and change their driving status.
Shop around: Policyholders who are up-to-date on premium payments may be able to save hundreds of dollars by shopping around for companies offering better rates for certain rating factors.
“If you’re waiting for a refund, then you may want to hold off on switching until that comes through,” said Megna.
Review your coverage levels: Reassess if coverages and deductibles that accompany your comprehension and collision coverage still fit your needs. For example, if you have a policy with liability, comprehensive and collision on an old car with low value, you could drop both the optional comprehensive and collision coverages.
Check for eligible discounts: Auto insurers may offer discounts ranging from driver history, training, affiliations and demographics. You may even be able to reduce your rates by bundling both your home and auto insurance with the same company. Policyholders should ask an insurance agent about eligible discounts and opportunities to save.
Change your driving status: “Besides getting this relief, you can call your insurance company and ask them to change your status,” said Hunter.
There are two ways drivers can do this. If you were driving to work and no longer are, you can change your driving status from commuter to non-commuter for lower rates. Drivers can also reduce their monthly mileage. Typically, the fewer miles you drive annually, the lower your rate. Policyholders should contact their insurer directly to do this.