Doug Heller, insurance expert with the Consumer Federation of America, an association of non-profit consumer organizations. ConsumerFed.org
Auto insurers have been giving customers a break this year because they are driving much less amid the coronavirus pandemic—and so are getting into fewer accidents. Details of the automatic credits or refunds vary from insurer to insurer. If yours seems too stingy, you may want to consider that next time you go shopping for auto insurance. Also, try calling your current insurer to check whether you can get a bigger break, especially if the pandemic is having an ongoing effect on your driving levels and patterns. As of mid-April, the largest auto insurance issuers provided the following automatic breaks…
Allstate: 15% back on April and May premiums “on average.”
American Family Insurance: $50 credit per covered vehicle.
Farmer’s: 25% reduction on April premiums.
Geico: 15% credit on the next six- or 12-month policy term.
Liberty Mutual: 15% refund for two months.
Nationwide: $50 refund.
Progressive: 20% credit for April and May.
State Farm: Credit of around 25% off March 20 to May 31 premiums, though precise amounts vary by state.
Travelers: 15% credit on April and May premiums.
USAA: 20% credit for two months of premiums.
What to do: If you are likely to continue driving less for an extended period—whether that’s because you lost your job, changed jobs or will keep doing your job from home—call your insurer and ask to be “re-rated” for that lower number of driving miles. That is a significant factor in the calculation of premiums, so this re-rating could save you up to 30%.
Substantial savings are especially likely in California, where insurers are required to make miles driven the second most important factor in setting rates after driving safety record.
With some policies, recategorizing vehicle usage from “commuting/pleasure” to just “pleasure” can lower rates, too. That means you get a break if you are not using the vehicle to go to work.