How do you get another COVID ‘stimulus check’ from your car insurance

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How do you get another COVID 'stimulus check' from your car insurance

How do you get another COVID ‘stimulus check’ from your car insurance

As President-elect Joe Biden has announced his plan for another round of $1,400 stimulus checks, consumer advocates are calling on auto insurance companies to provide some more incentive money themselves.

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Many insurers already gave customers a temporary discount on premiums in the spring, realizing that Americans suddenly started driving less and that the number of car accidents fell sharply. That relief ended in May.

Since then, while regions across the country have continued to restrict business activities and other areas of daily life, overall driving behavior is still well below pre-pandemic levels, according to Bureau of Transport Statistics.

And that has led to staggering profit increases for auto insurers, according to research by consumer advocates. Progressive reported an 82% increase in net income, while Geico’s pre-tax profit tripled in the second and third quarters of 2020, to give a few examples.

Americans might ask, why am I paying full price for insurance again when my car is in the driveway and my insurance company is making piles of profit?

Here’s how to try and get second-round premium refunds, plus a few other strategies for lowering that auto insurance bill when money is tight.

Since then, while regions across the country have continued to restrict business activities and other areas of daily life, overall driving behavior is still well below pre-pandemic levels, according to Bureau of Transport Statistics.

And that has led to staggering profit increases for auto insurers, according to research by consumer advocates. Progressive reported an 82% increase in net income, while Geico’s pre-tax profit tripled in the second and third quarters of 2020, just to name a few.

Americans might ask, why am I paying full price for insurance again when my car is in the driveway and my insurance company is making record profits?

Here’s how to try and get second-round premium refunds, plus a few other strategies for cutting costs when money is tight.

Auto insurers thrive during the pandemic

Money bag with the word Profit and an up arrow.  Concept of business success, financial growth and wealth.  Increase profits and investment fund.  Saving money and accumulation.

Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock

The Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Economic Justice have sent a public letter to state insurance commissioners saying auto insurers should be required to provide a second round of refunds to policyholders.

An analysis by the two groups showed that the number of crashes has fallen by 31% since the start of the pandemic compared to the year before – with the trend expected to intensify as the virus spirals further out of control this winter.

So can I get free money from my insurance company?

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Amy K. Mitchell / Shutterstock

A state-by-state analysis by the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund looked at how insurance companies reimbursed parked motorists last spring.

“Regardless of how much each company has profited, most insurers did not return more than half of a month’s premium,” says the consumer watchdog.

But some companies didn’t give refunds or cut rates unless customers called and asked.

That means you can get free cash just by contacting your insurance agent. If the pressure builds, your insurer may be open to revising your premium, assuming you’re still driving less than ever. Note how your habits have changed, such as the distance you have not driving while working from home.

Other ways to lower your premiums, starting today

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If your insurance company won’t give you a pandemic discount, there are still a few ways to lower your insurance bill.

Switching insurer

If your insurer won’t give you a break, you may be able to find a new one that will.

Even if you can’t switch to a company with pandemic discounts, shopping around for the best rate can still help you lower your bill.

If you haven’t shopped in the last six months, you may be wasting more than $1,000 per year. Right away free quote comparison service, you can find the best price in minutes.

Dropped Optional Cover

Some auto insurance policies include extras that you may be able to do without for a while. For example, can you rule out the option that pays for a rental car while yours is at the repair shop?

Removing these extras can save you a few bucks, but make sure you still meet your state’s minimum liability coverage and are still protected in the event of an accident during those few trips to the grocery store.

Increase your deductible

If the risks of a claim are lower, consider raising your deductible – that’s the amount you pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurer takes care of the rest.

A higher deductible will save you money on the monthly premium, but it can lead to more costs if you do have an accident.

Suspend your car insurance

In some cases, it may be possible to cancel your insurance if you completely stopped driving during the pandemic.

This path can be tricky – it can lead to fines or a suspended registration from the DMV, and it may not be possible at all if you make car payments to the bank.

You also need to store your vehicle in a safe place as you will not be covered for non-driving related losses, such as theft.

Remember: there are always more ways to save money

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LightField Studios / Shutterstock

If you can’t squeeze any more savings out of your auto insurer, look for other ways to cut costs.

  • Save while you shop. Even if you are careful with your money, you cannot avoid buying the basic necessities. Luckily you can free browser extension that instantly compares prices on the internet and finds the best deal for you. Also consider a cashback app that will reward you with money every time you shop, dine or travel.

  • Save (and invest) your change. The mobile app acorns automatically collects “change”—either by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar or putting aside a small amount of your paycheck—then immediately invest it. You will not miss the change, but you will enjoy the return.

  • Make your savings work harder. You may be reluctant to invest your savings in the stock market, and that’s understandable. But putting your money in a regular savings account, which can only pay 0.01% in annual interest, won’t get you very far. The answer could be: high yield savings account, which will pay much more than a traditional savings account. That way, your hard-earned savings can actually grow.

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