Most people are spending less time on the road as they follow state-at-home orders or advisories during the COVID-19 pandemic. Less driving means fewer accidents. Fewer accidents means insurance companies are not having to pay out as much in claims.
Citing a significant drop in car accident claims, some insurers have been offering refunds to their policyholders. The trend started with two companies announcing refunds. Allstate will return 15 percent of the monthly premium during April and May. American Family Insurance will send its customers $50 for each vehicle on a policy, according to The New York Times.
Others followed suit, according to MarketWatch. They include State Farm, Chubb Insurance, Liberty Mutual, GEICO, Farmers and Progressive. Others may be announcing discounts soon.
Who is eligible for an insurance refund?
If you're not sure if you're entitled to a discount, you should contact your insurer and ask, according to MarketWatch.
"You've got that leverage," Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America, told MarketWatch. "They want to hold onto their customers, they've got to treat them right."
When you call your agent, remind them you are driving less. The Times article states that commuting to work makes up about one-third of all driving. It's likely you are also are not making as many personal trips in your car.
According to the Times article, which was posted in April, Allstate and American Family Insurance were the first two companies to announce refunds. Others were considering taking some kind of consumer-friendly action.
If you're driving less, you are less likely to get into an accident. The Times points out that though roads may have fewer cars on them with more people staying home, Allstate data shows that motorists are driving faster. That means they could be at risk of crashing and sustaining more damage to their cars and serious injuries.
Another unknown is how long the roads will be relatively empty. In Massachusetts, the stay-at-home advisory and the closure of non-essential businesses have been extended to May 18.
How can a car accident lawyer help?
The pandemic has resulted in economic hardship for many people, and the move by the insurance companies to offer refunds is certainly welcome. As experienced personal injury lawyers, however, we must remind everyone that insurance companies are not your friend.
"Allstate is probably giving back only a fraction of the money it is likely to save from reduced insurance claims during the crisis" said Dan Kerr, the CEO of watchdog group ValChoice
So, where's the rest of the savings going? If you've been injured or lost a loved one in an accident, insurance companies may attempt to downplay injuries or convince you that pursuing a claim is not worth the hassle. They may also offer you a small settlement. They do this to not pay as much out, and save money.
Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone as soon as possible after the accident. By putting one of our tough-minded attorneys on your side, you send a strong message to the insurance companies that you mean business.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Trust us to handle your claim while you focus on your recovery.