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Some Insurers Offer Rebates as People Drive Less During Pandemic

Consumer groups are urging people who drive less during the COVID-19 pandemic to ask their insurance company for a rebate. (Lutgradio/Morguefile)
Consumer groups are urging people who drive less during the COVID-19 pandemic to ask their insurance company for a rebate. (Lutgradio/Morguefile)
April 8, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Two car-insurance giants, Allstate and American Family Insurance, have just announced they'll refund $800 million to the drivers they insure.

The companies say the rebates are possible because people are driving so much less during the COVID-19 crisis and, thus, collision claims have fallen off dramatically. Other companies say they may follow suit.

Charles Bell, programs director for advocacy with Consumer Reports, said some drivers could get back as much as 15% of their premium per month.

"When you buy an auto insurance premium, you're rated for the number of miles that you tell the auto insurance company you'll be driving that year," he said. "And if you're only driving one-sixth or one-fifth of the driving miles that you estimated, you could be due for a very substantial reduction."

He estimated that if the pandemic drags on for many months, some drivers could get refunds of as much as $600 this year. Drivers will need to contact their insurance company and ask to be re-rated based on the new, lower number of miles they're driving each month.

Bell said he wants all car-insurance companies to get on board with the rebates, but added that some will need to be prodded.

"This is only going to happen if state insurance commissioners around the country get involved and encourage all the auto insurance companies to return the money to all of the drivers," he said.

He said people also have the right to contact their elected state insurance commissioners to push for action on this issue.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA