As the rippling effects of COVID-19 continue to spread, it’s no surprise that there is a massive amount of financial stress and uncertainty across the globe. Many have lost their jobs and are struggling to make everyday payments whether rent, mortgage payments or most importantly, car insurance payments.
For the most part, those who are lucky enough to remain employed have said goodbye to their daily commute and in general, the regular driving habits of Canadians have been heavily disrupted. While most vehicles aren’t being used in response to the COVID-19 lockdown or are only being used for essential travel such as trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, most car insurance providers are offering ways to alleviate the financial burden that their customers are facing.
On April 8, 2020, the Insurance Bureau of Canada put out a press release in order to address the financial concerns of Canadians during this time of uncertainty. “This is an incredibly challenging and uncertain time for many Canadians, and insurers want to help alleviate some of the financial burden for the most vulnerable. Insurers understand that many drivers are no longer commuting or using their vehicle as regularly, which could result in savings,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC.
Canadian insurance companies are aware that their customers need their help during these difficult times and as a result are there to support them with financial relief, whether immediate or long term. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, car insurance should be the least of your worries.
As insurance policies are extremely complex and customized to each customer’s unique needs, it is difficult for there to be one band aid solution spread across all companies in order to mitigate financial ruin. Because of this, the available discounts/rebates available to customers will also reflect their driving profiles and existing individual coverages. It is recommended that you engage in a discussion with one of your representatives in order to work out a solution that is best for you.
If you find yourself struggling with your finances or currently paying the full premium of your car insurance policy for a vehicle that is hardly being used, be sure to reach out to your insurance provider to see how they can help. Each company is responding differently, but it is safe to say you will be presented with at least one or all of the following options:
- Payment deferral options
- Waiving non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees
- Extension of coverage
Below are some of the many car insurance providers that have made an effort to alleviate the current financial stress of their customers in response to COVID-19.
AllState is offering their car insurance customers a one-time “Stay at Home Payment” which is designed to provide financial relief from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have made it very easy for their customers as no work is required on their end to receive the rebate. As long as you are a customer who has an active car insurance policy with them as of April 8, 2020, you will receive the payment.
Aviva customers can take advantage of premium reductions based on usage and flexible payments options. They have also agreed to freeze premium increases at renewal. With the #StayHome endorsement, customers who are no longer using their vehicle can reduce their premiums by up to 75%. Those who are still driving but only for essential travel can also reduce their premiums by up to 15%.
For the duration of a 12 month term, CAA is offering a 10% rate decrease for both new and renewing car insurance policyholders until the pandemic is declared over. Further, if you reach out to a licensed CAA Insurance Agent, they will work to help you find ways to further reduce your premium by adjusting your coverage and payment plan.
The Co-operators are offering a Reduced Driving Refund to their car insurance customers in response to COVID-19. Eligible customers (essential workers and those who are driving less) will receive a minimum 10% refund on the premium they paid from April 1 to May 31. If eligible, refunds will be applied to your policy starting in July. In order to qualify, policies must be active by May 31, 2020.
A larger refund is available for customers that continue to reduce their driving and claims also continue to decrease. The Co-operators have also introduced flexible payment options and an extended payment grace period to further mitigate financial hardship. As needed, The Co-operators are willing to review and adjust your policy based on the use of your vehicle.
Desjardins Insurance understands that drivers are on the roads much less and mainly using their vehicles for essential travel such as getting groceries or going to the pharmacy. In response, they’re offering a refund on your car insurance premium based on the minimal use of your vehicle (not including motorcycles or recreational vehicles). This refund is calculated based on a 3-month period and will reflect the client’s annual distance travelled, as stated on their contract. Customers interested in receiving this rebate should apply online by May 31, 2020. You can get further discounts for storing your vehicle away.
Like a majority of insurance companies, Echelon Insurance is offering discounts to customers who have reduced their driving levels during the pandemic. Customers may receive up to 15% off their policy. Customers must reach out to their broker in order to take advantage of such discounts.
Economical Insurance customers have the option of contacting their broker to request a discount. For those who are driving less, Economical is offering savings of up to 15% (based on mileage prior to June 30, 2020) and savings up to 75% for those who aren’t driving at all.
Intact Insurance has introduced a variety of relief measures for their customers including
flexible payment options (including waiving of missed payment fees or payment deferrals) and discounted premiums to reflect your current personal driving habits.
Drivers who are using their vehicle less can expect an average premium reduction of 15% for three months. This can be done either online or by reaching out to your broker.
Those who agree not to drive and safely store their vehicle can expect to see savings up to 75% per month. To take advantage of this discount you need to go directly through your broker.
Johnson’s AUTOmatic Rebate is giving all car insurance customers with an active policy on May 22, 2020 a 10% reduction in their car insurance premiums for the months of April, May and June. No action is required to receive the discount, their system will automatically apply the reduction of this premium, and customers will see the adjustment to your deductions starting in June. To support those who are struggling, Johnson has also offered their customers flexible payment options, waiving of NSF fees, and adjusted premiums for changes in driving habits.
Northbridge Insurance customers will receive an automatic 15% premium rebate for three months (April, May, and June). For customers who have stopped driving entirely can put their coverage on hold. These drivers also have the option of reducing their coverage to comprehensive only. Northbridge is also waiving all NSF fees until May 31, 2020.
TD Insurance is offering a car insurance premium reduction for their existing customers. They are aware that driving habits have shifted and that vehicles are only being used for essential travel. In response, they are offering up to 15% off your current premium payments for 3 months, or, if you aren’t driving your vehicle at all (and have it stored away safely) your monthly premium can be reduced on average by 75%. The discounts applied before May 31, 2020 will automatically revert back to normal after 3 months unless you call and have your policy reviewed.
In order to save, Wawanesa Insurance is encouraging their customers who are only using their vehicles for local travel such as groceries or medical appointments to reach out to their broker to reduce their coverage to reflect their current vehicle usage (savings up to 75%). As there has been a massive reduction in vehicle use, Wawanesa only wants their customers to pay for what they need. NSF fees have also been waived until May 25, 2020.
Whether your driving habits have shifted dramatically or you’re experiencing severe financial burden due to the pandemic, the IBC encourages you to reach out to your insurance company to find a solution. They understand the impact that COVID-19 has had, and are willing to offer their customers their support. While some companies are providing automatic discounts to all of their customers, this isn’t the case for all insurance providers. As the driver, it is your responsibility to reach out to your insurance provider to see what discounts you may qualify for. It’s also a good idea to review what currently falls under your coverage, such as accident forgiveness or collision towing.
As every driver is unique and premiums vary based on company and your individual driving habits, your savings will also be impacted in the same way. If your insurance company isn’t offering any financial relief or you aren’t satisfied with what your existing company is offering you, remember that it’s never too late to shop around for a new policy.
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