The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every part of daily life, from sheltering in place to lost paychecks. While car insurance is no exception, the good news is that every major provider has pledged to help Americans in need like never before. To separate fact from fiction, we spoke with experts and analysts across the country to determine exactly how the coronavirus crisis will affect your car insurance.
Is my insurer going to give me money back?
As of March 22nd, the number of cars on the road had fallen dramatically, about 20%, following the declaration of a national emergency in the U.S. Many of the largest auto insurance companies recently announced they will be responding to the lowered risk of auto claims with premium rebates for customers.
State regulators are also putting pressure on all insurers to step up to support consumers with measures like extended grace periods, so if your insurer hasn’t yet responded with meaningful actions, you can routinely check its website to catch updates or reach out directly.
Should I change my auto coverage because of COVID-19?
While you can definitely reach out to your insurance company to see if your lowered mileage could mean a discounted rate, keep the following in mind: Don’t cancel coverage you’ll need in the future. Canceling your car insurance, even if it’s only for a limited period of time, can have several negative impacts:
How can I lower my monthly payments?
Increase your deductible
Your deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket before the insurance coverage will kick in. Increasing your deductible helps lower your premium because you’ll be on the hook for a larger part of any potential losses, but that also means saving on your bill now is something you’ll need to weigh with your ability to take that additional risk.
Reduce your liability coverage limits
Lowering your liability coverage limits can also help you save on insurance, but it will likely make a smaller dent than changing your deductible. Your car insurance coverage will have both bodily injury and property damage liability, or the maximum amount your insurance company will cover, if you cause damage to someone else or their property.
Switch to a usage-based plan
If you’re driving fewer miles than usual, you may want to consider a usage-based car insurance plan. While traditional car insurance is priced using factors like your age and claims history, usage-based insurance relies on driving data (usually gathered through an app on your phone) to determine how much you pay for coverage.
Many larger insurers are starting to offer usage-based options. This option would be best for users who are likely to benefit from a usage-based policy for the long-term, though. Switching insurers too often can signal that you’re not a loyal customer, which can mean you may be quoted higher rates from even other insurers in the future.
Will my future auto insurance premiums be affected by COVID-19?
Most drivers are well aware that an increase in claims can spike car insurance rates, but the economy as a whole is also closely tied to an insurance company’s business.
Will auto insurance claims be affected by COVID-19?
With social distancing measures in place across the country, insurers are making sure their employees and customers stay safe by keeping the claims process digital. This may be a big change from a typically hands-on process or you may not see a change at all.
What if I can’t afford my auto insurance payments because of COVID-19?
If you are struggling with your car insurance premiums, you should contact your insurer. Many are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic with programs to assist policyholders.
For more information, please contact Theodore & Associates today.
It’s easy to lower your insurance costs — especially if you have a great driving record, or don’t mind having higher deductibles.
Who doesn’t want to pay less for car insurance? Billions of dollars are spent on ad campaigns to convince you to “switch and save” — but the truth is, many people can find savings no matter who their insurance company is. According to the Insurance Information Institute and other experts, here’s how you can, too:
For more information, visit Safeco Insurance®.
We, at Theodore & Associates, know the language used by the insurance industry can be confusing. We want to make sure that you clearly understand your options and know exactly what you’re paying for.
Here are some common terms that are used for different types of coverage. We hope this glossary helps make the world of insurance easier to understand!
Additional Living Expenses
If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, your insurance company may pay the necessary increase in living expenses while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.
Broad Form Liability Coverage
Helps protect you from expenses related to injuries or property damage you or your watercraft cause in an accident. Some policies also cover certain accidental fuel spill liabilities and wreckage removal.
C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) is a claims history database created by ChoicePoint that enables insurance companies to access consumer claims information when they are underwriting or rating an insurance policy. It typically contains up to five years of personal auto or personal property claims history.
You can order a C.L.U.E. report:
LexisNexis Personal Reports
Call toll free 1-866-312-8076
Or you can request a copy from the seller of a home you are purchasing.
Pays to repair your auto, classic auto, motorcycle, RV damages caused by an accident. Your agent can help you determine the limits you need based on the agreed value of your vehicle.
Pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in some way other than in a collision. May include loss from fire, cracked windshields, floods, falling objects, and wind.
Custom Parts & Equipment Coverage
Many motorcycle owners like to customize their rides, and some policies pay for customized parts and equipment, often at no extra charge. Ask Theodore & Associates for details.
When you get insurance, you agree to pay up to a certain amount out-of-pocket in case of a loss. This amount is called your “deductible.” The deductible you choose often affects how much you pay for your premium. For example, a higher deductible usually means a lower premium. In the case of a covered loss, you’ll only be required to pay your deductible, and the insurance company usually covers the excess, up to the applicable limit for that loss under your policy.
Emergency & Roadside Assistance
For auto, boat and personal watercraft, emergency assistance pays for the cost of towing or emergency service. For RVs, it also covers housing and transportation costs if your RV becomes uninhabitable and covers the loss of personal property in your RV. Some policies also provide roadside assistance for motorcycles.
Sometimes used interchangeably with “umbrella”, “excess liability” refers to extended liability coverage. This coverage is meant to supplement your insurance coverage if the damages exceed your liability coverage. Be sure to talk to Theodore & Associates about what your excess liability covers.
Companies and businesses often purchase this coverage to protect them against loss from employee dishonesty (such as theft of money, equipment, or other assets).
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open accounts or incur charges without your permission. Thieves can access your personal information in a variety of ways, such as stealing your personal mail, your wallet, or hacking your computer files. The thief then uses your identity to rack up debt in your name or perhaps to issue fake IDs. For more information on identity theft and tips on prevention visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Site.
Providing indemnity means to financially restore someone after a loss, through payment, repair or replacement.
Insurance ScoreAn Credit Based Insurance Score (CBIS) is derived from information on your credit report. It is a number that measures likelihood of having an insurance claim – not a measure of credit worthiness. Insurers use CBIS along with a number of other factors, including driving records, claims history, and the type of home or vehicle owned, to evaluate new and renewal auto and homeowner insurance policies.
Medical Coverage (Home)
Covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover healthcare costs for you or other members of your household.
Medical Coverage (Auto, Boat & Personal Watercraft, Motorcycle, RV)
Provides for your passenger and your medical expenses that are the result of an accident.
Liability & Personal Liability Coverage
For homeowners, this coverage applies if someone is injured or property is damaged and you are to blame. The coverage applies anywhere in the world. When choosing liability coverage for your home, auto, boat, personal watercraft, or RV, consider things like how much money you make and what you own. Your liability coverage should be high enough to protect your belongings if you are sued.
Personal Property Coverage
Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, sports equipment, and other items that mean a lot to you. This coverage helps repair or replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of an insured event.
Personal Watercraft (PWC)
A personal watercraft (PWC) is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. Models have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering.
Physical Damage Coverage for Watercraft
Pays to repair the damage done to your watercraft due to an accident. It also generally pays to repair or replace your watercraft for insured situations such as theft, fire, vandalism or other non-collision damages that occur in or out of the water
Simply put, a premium is the payment you make in exchange for one term of policy coverage.
Property or Dwelling Coverage
Typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event.
Scheduled Personal Property Coverage
If you have special possessions such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles, you may want to talk to your agent about this additional coverage.
Umbrella insurance is the coverage that may kick in when your losses under other insurance policies, such as homeowner’s and auto coverage, have exceeded policy limits.
Underwriting is the process of assessing risks when deciding whether to issue a policy of insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Pays for damages associated with bodily injury or death from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver, as defined by the law in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred, who is at fault. It also covers you if you are hit as a pedestrian.
Unattached Equipment Coverage
Pays to repair or replace equipment that isn’t permanently attached to your boat or personal watercraft. This includes items like life jackets and water-skis.
Feel free to reach out to us for any further questions!