Insurance Discounts During COVID-19

It’s now late in 2021, and while the pandemic has dragged on for well over a year, the initial shock has worn off and most are trying to regain some sense of normalcy. The same is true for auto insurance companies, many of which offered generous rebates or discounts when the realities of the brutal pandemic became obvious.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in almost every insurance company offering some kind of rebate or discount on their services. Mostly, these rebates were automatic. You either got a check in the mail, or had a discount applied to upcoming months, but if you didn’t see any kind of reduction, be sure to contact your insurer.

Most of those programs have been drawn down or stopped. Here’s a sampling of what discounts were provided last year:

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  • AAA - The company refunded 20 percent of premiums from March 16 through May 15, 2020. The company also provided complimentary roadside assistance for medical personnel and first responders.

  • Allstate - Customers should’ve received a 15% rebate of their April and May insurance premiums, during the most impactful months of the crisis. The company also provided complimentary identity theft protection. Allstate customers could’ve taken advantage of delayed payments for up to 60 days with no penalty for home, auto, and powersports insurance policies. People who have to use their personal vehicles for commercial purposes, such as food delivery, medicine, and other goods will have automatic extended coverage for the duration of the time that their state is under an emergency order.

  • American Family - The company is offering insurance premium relief that includes a 10 percent refund of premiums for policies active between July and December 2020.

  • Amica - The company gave its customers a 10 percent refund of premiums over a four-month period, starting in July 2020. Refund amount varies by state.

  • Auto-Owners Insurance - Customers saw refunds of up to 15 percent of premiums in April and May 2020.

  • Erie Insurance - Erie gave customers a 30 percent refund of monthly premiums over a two-month period.

  • Farmers Insurance - The company provided a 25 percent discount for the month of April and a 15 percent cut for May. Farmers also paused cancellations of policies through May 1, 2020 and extended payment due dates to at least May 1, 2020. The company rolled over any remaining balances to the next billing cycle without adding any penalties or late fees.

  • GEICO - no longer offers a discount or rebates related to the pandemic, nor is it offering the pause on cancellations that it put in place early on. At one point, Geico provided a 15% kickback not only to its auto customers, but to motorcycle policy holders as well. The company also paused policy cancellations through May 31, 2020.

  • The Hartford - The Hartford’s program is no longer in place, but it offered a rebate and a pause of policy cancellations during the pandemic. Benefits included a credit of 15 percent of premiums between April and May 2020.

  • Liberty Mutual - LiMu’s program is no longer active, but it refunded 15 percent of monthly premiums for two months, extended payment dates, paused policy cancellations, and waived fees for auto and homeowner policy holders through June 15, 2020. Policy holders also got coverage for using their personal vehicles for commercial purposes.

  • Metlife - Metlife’s COVID-19 assistance programs are no longer active. In 2020, the company issued a refund of 15 percent of its members’ monthly premiums in both April and May. The company suspended cancellations of policies due to non-payment and extended automatic coverage to people that needed to use their vehicles for commercial purposes.

  • Nationwide - Nationwide’s programs are no longer active, but it provided a one-time $50 check, which amounted to about a two-month 15% discount for many. Customers can ask that their payment due dates be extended, late fees be waived, and policy cancellation be paused by calling Nationwide at 877-669-6877.

  • Progressive - Progressive no longer offers programs relating to COVID-19, but last year it kicked back 20 percent of premiums from April 2020 and applied the same credit at the end of May. The company paused policy cancellations, extended billing leniency, and gave special benefits to first responders and policyholders that have to use their personal vehicles for commercial purposes.

  • State Farm - State Farm has closed its assistance programs, but it provided some of the biggest discounts, about 25% of premiums from March 20 through May 31, 2020. Customers still facing hardship can call their agent to discuss payment options.

  • Travelers - Travelers’ program, when active, kicked back 15% of premiums in April and May 2020, and paused policy cancellations.

  • USAA - USAA paid it forward by offering existing policyholders a 20% discount on two months of upcoming premiums in 2020. Policy cancellations were put on hold through June 17, 2020, and USAA customers that need to use their vehicles for commercial purposes were automatically covered through the company.

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Will my insurance rates stay lower permanently?

It’s hard to tell at this point. Though many people have found that they’re able to work remotely indefinitely, the number of miles driven and vehicles on the road will return to almost normal at some point. It’s hard to imagine that insurance companies will let folks slide on payments forever.

Can I cancel my car insurance if I’m not driving?

Generally, no. If you own a vehicle, it’s gotta be insured. If you get caught driving without it, you’ll be on the hook for a ticket AND your insurance premium payments.

Can I cancel part of my car coverage and still drive?

You can do that. Dropping full-coverage in favor of liability-only insurance can save as much as half of your policy. Just make sure you’re comfortable with the fact that you’ll be on the hook to replace your vehicle out of pocket if you wreck it.

What if I can’t afford car insurance right now?

Even if your insurer isn’t on our list and didn’t extend a big refund to you at the beginning of the lockdown, you should call your insurance company or agent to discuss payment plans, options, and relief that may be available to you.

How will remote college and schooling affect the discounts I receive from the “college student away from home” incentive?

That will be up to your insurer. There’s typically some wording in your policy that dictates how far away from home you need to be in order to qualify for the discount, but there’s a chance your carrier will honor the discount either way.

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