The past few weeks during the coronavirus crisis have changed nearly everything about American life. One of the eeriest changes has been to see normally busy roads-from New York’s Times Square to Louisville’s Spaghetti Junction-nearly empty.
With businesses and schools closed across the country, traffic wrecks have also dramatically fallen as people travel less and the roads are less crowded. A new study released by UC-Davis concluded traffic collisions in California plummeted by nearly 50% after Governor Gavin Newsome announced stay-at-home orders in mid-March.
China, which has been under a nationwide lockdown since January, has likewise seen a significant reduction in car insurance claims. The reduction in claims being paid by insurers led market analysts to predict a small rally for car insurance companies’ stock prices in China, in what has otherwise been a devastating year for China’s stock market.
Closer to home, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported a substantial reduction in traffic across southwest Ohio, with traffic down by as much as 30%. According to the Enquirer, Kentucky does not keep statistics on traffic volume; however, Kentucky’s traffic fatalities for 2020 were at 150 deaths as of April 14, down from 184 for the same time period in 2019.
With fewer claims to pay, multiple car insurance companies are offering policy holders refunds or discounts on their premiums, including Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Liberty, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers, and USAA. Additionally, many insurers have agreed not to cancel a car insurance policy because of inability to pay a premium. In California, auto insurers have been ordered by the state to repay premiums to clients for the months of March and April and to not cancel any insurance policies for a 90-day period, even if premium payments are missed.
Refunds and premium discounts are being offered across the county, not just in California. One of the reasons insurance companies are offering refunds-other than the fact they may be flush with cash and have not been paying as many claims-is that car owners may decide to cancel their insurance and avoid paying premiums because they are not driving.
However, canceling car insurance mid-policy, instead of at the renewal time, can lead to penalty fees. Additionally, most drivers will still need to drive some during the lockdowns, to the grocery store or medical appointments, and are required to have car insurance. Your car could also be stolen even if it is not being regularly used. In short, better to accept the rebates than leave things to chance.
If you have been injured in a truck wreck or car accident, or if you have struggled to file an insurance claim because of an improper cancellation of your car insurance policy during the COVID-19 crisis, please call the Poppe Law Firm at 502-895-3400 or contact us online at www.poppelawfirm.com/contact.