With fewer cars on the road due to shelter-in-place orders enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, auto insurance claims have plummeted. The largest auto insurance companies are taking steps to pass some of these savings on to policyholders by returning a portion of premiums, providing refunds or credits at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills.
We estimated how each insurer’s measures will impact consumers and asked insurance experts what you need to know if you’ll be receiving one of these payments.
Average savings reflect total money back based on rates for a sample profile. See the table below for each insurer’s individual COVID-19 response and sample profile.
Credits and rebates will be automatic
“Consumers don’t need to call and ask for the discount to be applied,” explains Kristen Gryglik, an insurance agent with Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Most credits or refunds will be distributed in the same method that they have set up for payment.”
This is good news for already overwhelmed consumers who don’t have time to sit on hold to request breaks on their insurance.
Brent Thurman, President of Keystone Insurance Services, told us that even “if you proactively paid in full earlier, you should see a refund for the amount.”
These payments must be approved by your state’s regulator
Insurance is a heavily regulated industry where state agencies hold a lot of power, including control over what insurance discounts and rebates can be applied.
In some states, this means regulators are requiring insurers to give breaks to customers in response to COVID-19, while other states are scrambling to find ways to work around existing laws to allow insurers to provide this type of relief.
Check for updates from your state’s department of insurance to see how they are handling these payments. If it isn’t clear from the website, you can reach out directly to your insurance agent, but be prepared for a longer on-hold wait than usual.
When you get your payment will vary by your insurer
Auto Insurance Rebates
Some insurers, like American Family, have decided to give a set refund to every customer holding a personal auto policy. This payment is expected to be sent as soon as it is approved by your insurance regulator.
Direct payments are especially helpful right now because they provide cash to people who are in need, but the set amount means if you have a high premium, it may be only as significant as a payment that is a percentage of your premium.
Auto Insurance Credits
The majority of insurers are issuing some kind of credit that will be applied toward your future premiums, but insurers are offering a range of different percentages applicable over a variety of terms.
A credit based on a percentage of premiums is likely more beneficial for customers with high rates, but it doesn’t provide immediate support. For most insurers, these will be processed during the next billing period, but if you have Geico insurance, you won’t be eligible to receive this credit until you renew your policy.
How the largest auto insurers are responding to COVID-19
|Average Annual Premium
|Average Credit/ Rebate
15% credit on April and May premiums
$50 one-time rebate
Now is a good time to look at how insurers are handling this crisis
Here at Reviews.com, when we review insurance companies, we take a close look at a lot of different measures of past performance to help us predict how providers will act in the future.
This crisis gives you the opportunity to look around at how insurers are supporting customers through these hard times and decide whether that response is in line with what you’re looking for in your insurance provider.
How we found the average auto insurance prices
Together with Quadrant Information Systems, we analyzed publicly filed rate data to find auto insurance rates by company, state, age, and credit score. These rates are based on data up to date as of December 2019 and are based on sample profiles created for comparative purposes only.