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The effects of the coronavirus for the car insurance industry are already quite severe. Many drivers are quite concerned about their abilities to pay their next insurance bills. Fortunately, many providers have understood the severity of the current situation and are offering payment relief, halting insurance cancellations, and providing online claims processing. Some of them are even providing partial premium refunds because many consumers aren't driving very much due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
No one could have anticipated the damages done by the current crisis. For his reason, the car insurance industry and the drivers are adapting and are making a few changes:
- Failure to pay insurance premiums on time no longer leads to policy cancelation. Insurance providers and their regulators realize these aren't normal times due to the coronavirus outbreak. Insurance companies are offering new programs and procedures to assist drivers who may have suffered a job loss, reduced hours, or medical issues. Drivers who need assistance should contact their insurers for help and guidance.
Car Insurancecompanies are offering extended grace periods. Given the current situation, most insurance providers are extending grace periods and halting cancellations for customers who can't make their payments. Many car insurance providers have announced case-by-case programs to assist customers who have financial troubles.
- Switching to a new insurer is not recommended. Drivers can't just simply switch to a new insurer and obtain cheaper premiums. However, in this involuntarily pause caused by the coronavirus outbreak, drivers can research their insurance options and check if they need to make changes to their coverages, insurance company, or deductibles.
- Drivers who are no longer using their cars to drive to work can get a discount. Drivers should contact their insurers to see if they can dial back the declared mileage until the crisis is over. Many insurance companies have already announced automatic premium rebate programs.
- Canceling coverage during this time should be avoided. Most drivers still need to drive their cars to grocery stores or to medical appointments. Cars can still get stolen or damaged by natural events like storms, floods, or tornadoes. Also, insurance providers don't like to see lapses in coverage, and they can raise their premiums after the crisis is over.
- The current crisis doesn't affect the ability to file a claim. While the coronavirus pandemic is no reason for affecting the driver's ability to file a claim and get the car repaired, this crisis can cause some delays. Most insurance providers are offering online claims portals where drivers can upload documents, photos of the vehicle, and any property damage. Also, claims adjusters may ask drivers to shoot videos that highlight vehicle damages, so they can appraise the damages remotely.
- Dealing with a collision or with a police stop has changed. Drivers should perform all of the duties that are required to do by law while trying to put as much distance between themselves and the other driver as possible. They can do that by placing their documents -- driver's licenses, registration, and insurance cards -- on the hood of their cars, then letting the other party photograph them with their smartphone, then doing the same with their documents. While being stopped by the police, drivers should do exactly what they are told to do.
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