7 Ways to Cut Car Insurance Costs During the Pandemic

Dayana Yochim  |  June 26, 2020

From quarantine refunds to late fee waivers, here are the car insurance discounts to request from your carrier — and how likely you are to get them.

Fortune favors the bold — or at those willing to ask for what they want. A recent ValuePenguin survey found that 80% of drivers who asked their auto insurer for financial assistance were successful. Yet just 31% of consumers actually reached out to request car insurance discounts.

With a high probability of getting some sort of break, who wouldn’t reach out and ask for it? 

Answer: Women.

ValuePenguin found that men were twice as likely to ask for financial assistance as women. Around 18% of men asked for a discount, compared to 9% of women requesting the same. And 22% of men asked for a payment extension versus just 13% of women. However, both men and women reported equal success (90%) in getting a discount once they requested it. 

Hopefully that last finding inspires you to reach out to your carrier, especially if you need financial help. But also consider other ways you can save money on car insurance right now.

Ask for these car insurance discounts 

Although lockdown orders have eased, not everyone is hitting the road as much as they did pre-pandemic. This is a fluid situation for both auto insurers and individuals. 

Most insurance companies committed to providing financial relief allowances to customers through May or June. Some are likely to extend them. Even if your insurer doesn’t publicly announce an extension, reach out if you need assistance to work with them one-on-one.

Here are seven ways you can save money on car insurance right now, and as your new driving habits evolve:

Ask for a payment extension if you need it: According to ValuePenguin, this was the most common customer request, and 88.9% of survey respondents who asked were granted an extension.  

Request a late fee waiver: More than 95% of requests to waive or remove a late fee were granted. Save yourself a step by pre-empting the fee: Contact your insurance company if you know your payment isn’t going to make it to their billing department by the due date. You’ll reap big savings here. Policygenius, an insurance comparison and checkup site, reports that insurers may charge as much as $15 per day for late payments. 

Make sure all discounts have been applied: Not all insurers automatically apply quarantine credits or discounts to customer accounts. Reach out and ask. While you’re on the phone or online, inquire about other discounts you may be eligible to receive, like a “good student discount,” one for belonging to an association or trade group, and, of course, bundling your home and auto coverage with one company.

Get a quarantine break on your premium: Here, it pays to shoot for the moon. If you’re driving less, you’re a lower risk to insure. While many insurance companies have been offering drivers a 15% credit or refund on premiums, you might be able to do even better. According to ValuePenguin, nearly half of consumers who asked for a break got discounts of 11% to 25% on their car insurance premiums. And 17% scored discounts ranging from 26% to 49%.

Read More: These Car Insurance Companies Are Paying Quarantine Refunds

Ask for a cash refund on a premium you already paid: In a just-released study, Insurify, an insurance comparison site, identified the nine out of the top 20 auto insurers reimbursing policyholders via direct refund — versus credit to apply to future premiums — for driving less. If your carrier isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean it’s incapable of offering the same. You won’t know unless you ask!

Lower your coverage if you’re a two-car household: If you’re still driving less and can reduce your use to just one vehicle, consider downgrading to comprehensive-only coverage on the unused car. 

Review your level of coverage when you renew: If you’ve been driving less and foresee that not changing much in the future, ask your insurer to re-calculate your mileage estimate. 

If it’s been a while since you shopped around for insurance — or if you aren’t getting the allowances you need right now — check out the competition. You don’t have to wait until your renewal date to switch companies. Your existing carrier can reimburse you for unused months at a prorated level. 

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