Driving is still way down; where did the discounts go?

Team Marble
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January 21, 2021

This spring, as COVID stay-at-home orders and lockdowns rolled across the US, auto insurers scrambled to step up. With people driving less and thousands out of work, insurance companies were looking for ways they could offer some relief.

For most insurers, this ended up coming in the form of one-time COVID discounts and rebates.

Why is this notable? Insurance agencies and carriers are typically legally blocked from offering rebates or credits. In this case though, state regulators acted quickly, issuing bulletins like this one from Alabama that made COVID-specific exceptions:

Prospective reductions in premium or retroactive return of premium made in accordance with this bulletin to accommodate COVID-19-related changes in exposure or risk profile will not be considered a rebate or unfair discrimination to the extent they are reasonable and consistently applied.
Where can you learn more about current COVID rebates and check if you got one? Right here.

So what’s happening now? With summer long gone¹ and COVID nowhere near under control, these discounts and rebates have largely expired.

Overview of major carrier COVID relief measures

And even before they expired, a lot of customers didn't think they went far enough, given how much less they were driving. Some are even suing. 

Is driving at least trending back to normal? Are insurers seeing personal automobile mileage back at pre-COVID levels? In a word: No.

Actually, if anything, driving is even lower than it was during the summer.

Federal Highway Administration Monthly Driving Data

Are there plans for more relief? We’re not really sure. We’ve reached out to a couple of auto insurers and state regulators for comment and we’ll update this post as we hear back.

Our hope, as a company dedicated to putting customers back in control of their insurance, is that there are more rebates to come. Given the continued lull in driving volume, it seems appropriate that insurance carriers would offer additional rounds of discounts.

After all, they are doing pretty well themselves these days.

Not bad right?
So what can you do?

Try contacting your auto insurer directly. Caroline, a member of the team here at Marble, was able to secure a follow-up credit by reaching out to her carrier and asking if they planned to offer another COVID discount. The corporate office said they didn’t have a discount available at first, but transferred her to the state office, where they were able to give her 10% off. While experiences might differ by carrier and state, it can’t hurt to call and ask. Here are some points to keep in mind: 

  • Ask your carrier if they plan to offer the COVID discount again. Mention the specific name of the discount and percentage you received off.
  • If something has changed with your situation, such as driving less or working from home, be sure to mention it and kindly ask if there is anything they can do.
  • Sometimes with these situations, your outcome can really depend on who you speak with. If you aren’t able to get a “yes” the first time, we recommend calling again in a couple of days. 
  • If making payments is an issue for you, be sure to also ask for payment flexibility. In our experience, carriers are offering more flexible payment options due to the pandemic.

Shop around. We recommend getting at least three quotes from different carriers. Even if you just renewed, you can still cancel your existing policy. Here are more tips and information you should know before shopping for insurance.

Sign up for Marble. Organizing your insurance and knowing what coverage you have is key to saving money. That’s why we created Marble. With your personalized insurance wallet, you can organize your policies and get rewarded!


¹ Though not for those of us who subscribe to the idea that Summer is a State of Mind.