6 Things to Know About Coronavirus and Your Car Insurance

March 30, 2020

Times are tough for all of us right now. If you’ve been staring at your shrinking bank account, trying to figure out how to reduce monthly expenses, your car insurance bill is a good place to start.

The average monthly premium is around $125, but you might be paying a lot more if you live in a state with expensive car insurance, if you drive a new car, or if you have a few dings on your driving record. Whatever your circumstances, you can try these tips for saving money on car insurance during the coronavirus crisis.

1. If you’re having trouble paying your car insurance bill, don’t let your policy lapse.

Car insurance is mandatory. You need to keep your policy active, even if you haven’t been driving because you’re at home. If your insurance lapses because you don’t pay your premiums, you’ll end up paying more in the future. That’s because a lapse in coverage will drive your rates way up when you’re ready to buy insurance again.

A simple solution is switching to a state minimum policy. This is the cheapest policy you can buy that still lets you drive legally. Typically it doesn’t include collision/comprehensive or any extra coverage, but that’s OK! If your goal is to save money, state minimum is the way to go. You don’t need to wait for your current policy to end; just find your best quote and then switch. If you’ve already pre-paid your premiums, you’ll get a refund after you cancel.

2. Need more time to pay? Call your insurer.

Many major insurance companies have said they won’t cancel your policy due to nonpayment if you’re having financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis. Don’t just stop paying premiums, however — you should reach out to your insurance company and ask for an extended grace period or a payment plan. Here’s what a few insurers have said:

  • GEICO says: “Effective immediately, we’re pausing cancellation of coverage due to non-payment and policy expiration through April 30, 2020.”
  • Progressive says: “If you’re experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus and need assistance, please get in touch.”
  • Allstate says: “Customers facing financial challenges can request a special payment plan that allows auto, property and powersports insurance payments to be delayed for two billing cycles without penalty.” Allstate also “will automatically cover customers who use their personal vehicles to deliver food, medicine and other goods for a commercial purpose during the COVID-19 emergency period.”
  • Elephant Insurance says: “If you have been affected by the virus and need assistance, please reach out to one of our licensed chat agents.”

3. Now might be the best time to shop for car insurance.

The average consumer never notices this, but car insurance rates fluctuate every day. Because people are driving less due to coronavirus lockdowns, and causing fewer accidents, car insurance prices are going down too. That means this can be a good time to save.

If you’re stuck at home, wondering how you can reduce monthly expenses, take five minutes to compare car insurance quotes. Quotes from different companies, for the same level of insurance, can vary by hundreds of dollars. So don’t assume your current insurance bill is as low as it should be. You might be surprised by how much you can save. And remember: You can cancel your existing policy anytime, usually without any penalty!

4. Pay-per-mile car insurance can be a good option.

Are you working from home, working fewer hours, or temporarily laid off? That means you’re probably driving less, too. You may be able to save big with a pay-as-you-go car insurance company, which charges according to the amount you drive. The best known is Metromile, which charges you a low base rate plus a set amount per mile you drive. On average, Metromile says, customers save $741 per year. Some of the big insurers, like Nationwide and Allstate, also offer pay-per-mile options.

5. You don’t have to visit an office to buy car insurance.

If you’ve always bought car insurance from an agent, you’re probably used to going into an office to sign documents or even pay your bill. You don’t have to! Contactless car insurance is easy: You can do all your research and buy online or by phone. Compare quotes on Compare.com, then click buy to complete the process.

6. If your insurance has already lapsed, we can help.

Sometimes, a lapse in car insurance is unavoidable. If you’re struggling to buy groceries and pay the rent, then car insurance is often the first thing to go. We get it.

If your insurance has already lapsed, or been canceled for non-payment, you may have a hard time finding a company that will insure you for a reasonable rate. Compare.com can help. We work with more than 60 carriers all over the U.S., including those that specialize in non-standard insurance, high-risk insurance, etc. To find an insurer you trust and premiums you can afford, all you have to do is compare personalized car insurance quotes and pick the best option.

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