COVID-19 auto insurance refunds: What's happening?
Note: this post was originally published on January 21, 2021. It was updated on February 1, 2022.
As workplaces and communities shut down or changed operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, driving volume across the country dropped substantially. Insurance regulators and companies were quick to respond with a suite of standalone discounts, rebates, or temporary adjustments to payment plans.
Auto insurance relief programs for COVID-19
While for the majority of carriers no action was required to get the discount or rebate, the amount and timing did differ by carrier. Read on below for a collection of the current coronavirus refunds, discounts, or rebates, along with the details for each.
Allstate announced in May that they were extending their Shelter-in-Place payback through June 30.
What does this mean? Allstate was the first really large carrier to announce COVID relief for customers. This came in the form of a credit of 15% off monthly premiums for April and May. On May 26, Allstate announced that they were extending these credits through June.
What do you need to do? Nothing. According to Allstate, these credits are automatically applied to customer’s accounts.
American Family has two concurrent programs in place, a one-time $50 per vehicle credit, as well as a rolling 10% premium credit.
What does this mean? In April 2020, American Family announced one-time $50 payments for each personal automobile they insure. Customers with auto policies that were in force as of March 11, 2020 (the day the WHO declared a pandemic) are eligible. Additionally, American Family is returning 10% of auto premium via their Auto Premium Relief Credit. Eligible customers will receive this credit for personal auto policies in force between July 2020 and March 2021.
What do you need to do? Per American Family, both of these relief programs were automatic. However, they do recommend checking your MyAccount portal to confirm.
CSAA has launched two waves of targeted refunds, as well as announcing a series of other services and support options.
What does this mean? On April 10, CSAA announced an initial premium refund of 20% for the first two months of large scale national stay-at-home orders (March 16 – May 15). This was followed by an additional 10% refund in June, which covered premium payments through June 30.
What do you need to do? These refunds were issued automatically and no action was required from customers. Premium refunds should have been received by August 15.
Farmers went big with their first premium reduction and then followed up with a smaller, secondary cut.
What does this mean? April auto insurance premiums were reduced by 25% and then 15% in May. New York drivers got something a bit different (due to the specific regulatory environment in New York): a single credit equal to 40% of one month’s premium, based on full-term premium as of May 7, 2020.
What do you need to do? Nothing. These reductions were applied automatically.
On April 8, GEICO announced their GEICO Giveback, a 15% credit for auto or motorcycle insurance policies.
What does this mean? GEICO customers who renewed or bought a new car or motorcycle policy between April 8 and October 17, 2020 automatically received a 15% premium credit.
What do you need to do? These credits were automatically applied; however, some customers have had GEICO representatives tell them they may need to return the refund if they choose to switch insurers.
Liberty Mutual also landed on a two month refund period, offering 15% back based on a customer’s premium as of April 7, 2020. This also applied to policyholders with Liberty Mutual’s subsidiary, SafeCo.
What does this mean? Refunds were issued to the most recent payment method you used, or via a check. Additionally, Liberty Mutual made flexible payment options available through June 15, 2020 by either spreading outstanding payments across the remaining months on your policy or transferring the balance to your renewal policy.
What do you need to do? In most cases, nothing. These refunds were applied automatically. However, if you want to check on payment flexibility and you pay your bill annually, Liberty Mutual does recommend that you contact them directly.
Nationwide skipped percentages or credits and issued direct $50 refunds per policy. While this is quick and easy to grasp, it comes out to only about 6% of the average six month auto policy premium — pretty low compared to other major carriers.
What does this mean? Nationwide customers who had a policy effective as of March 31, 2020 should have seen a one-time $50 refund hit their account by the end of April. Also, if you have multiple cars on one policy, you’ll still see just one $50 refund. The refund is calculated per policy, not per vehicle.
What do you need to do? Nothing. These were automatically applied, but if you want to check where you should have received this discount, you can review a helpful table here.
Progressive also started with one of the bigger relief offers, with their Apron Relief Program. This program offered a 20% credit to Progressive auto insurance customers for April and May premiums.
What does this mean? Subject approval by state regulators, Progressive issued credits back to all active auto policy customers on a per policy basis. Progressive additionally offered some payment leniency and suspended policy cancellations through May 15, 2020.
What do you need to do? In most cases, nothing. However, if you’ve already paid your policy in full, you may want to confirm your payment details are correct, as Progressive is issuing refunds to the payment method they have on file.
State Farm took a two-prong approach, combining a 25% policy credit with a state-by-state rate reduction, which itself averaged out to a nearly 11% reduction in premium.
What does this mean? For the policy period March 20 - May 31, State Farm customers can expect an average 25% policy credit automatically applied to their bill. The rate reduction may take a bit more time, as each new rate needs to be filed and approved at the state level. You can actually see a great breakdown of the state-by-state proposed rate cuts here.
What do you need to do? For the 25% policy credit, nothing. This will be automatically applied. For the rate reduction, you may want to contact your State Farm agent to check when the new rates are expected to be approved. Other carriers will also be refiling rates this year, and getting your insurance under control with Marble can put you in a good spot to quickly snap up a new rate.
What does this mean? Customers should expect a 15% premium credit for auto policies that were in force from April to June. Travelers left most of their direct relief measures at this percentage credit, thought they did also commit to accelerating commission payments to their agents.
What do you need to do? These credits were automatically applied, but if you don’t see them in your account, you should contact and confirm with Travelers.
In keeping with their model, USAA has structured their COVID support in the form of a dividend, distributing a first round of $800 million in dividends, with a second distribution of $200 million in the summer.
What does this mean? For customers, these dividends should come in the form of approximately 20% premium statement credits, which should have appeared on April, May, and June statements. Additionally, per follow up coverage, another dividend was scheduled for the end of August.
What do you need to do? These were all scheduled as automatic credits and should have appeared on your USAA billing statement in the spring and summer.