Allstate and American Family Insurance said earlier this week that their auto insurance customers would get a discount because its customers were driving less. Since then, other auto insurers have fallen in line, with Geico, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, USAA, Nationwide, Travelers, and Farmers offering similar discounts.
The discounts are typically around 15 percent of your next bill, some for April, some for April and May, and at least one on your entire next six-month premium. The auto insurers are couching the discounts as “helping their customers,” though the fact that they have state regulators looking over their shoulders probably also plays a big part.
As one insurance expert told The New York Times:
[Doug Heller, an insurance expert with the Consumer of Federation of America] said in an interview that he was surprised at the two insurance companies’ decisions, since there hadn’t been much pressure on them. He said that probably would have changed, though, because state insurance regulators usually keep an eye out for excessive rates.
“They’re collecting all this premium and aren’t seeing accidents or claims, so they have a choice,” Mr. Heller said. “They either start giving back money or have to explain their coronavirus windfall at some point.”
Still, it’s not nothing to insurers, and Geico alone said the discount would cost it $2.5 billion. The company said its average policyholder would save about $150. (In my case, as a Geico policyholder myself, my back-of-the-envelope calculation is savings of $93.)
The discounts from other insurers are less generous. Farmers said it’ll be reducing premiums by 25 percent, but only for the month of April. USAA said its discount is 20 percent for April and May, costing them $520 million. Progressive policyholders will also get a 20 percent discount for April and May. Liberty Mutual is giving its policyholders 15 percent discounts for those two months, as will Travelers and Allstate’s, a move that Allstate said would cost them over $600 million. Nationwide said it was giving policyholders $50, the same deal American Family is offering.
State Farm so far is offering zero, and did not immediately return a request for comment.