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Car insurance companies issue refunds, rate cuts during pandemic

Worried about making a car insurance payment? Many companies are cutting policyholders a break during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many car insurance companies have issued credits or rate cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic to ease the burden on drivers.

Here’s a roundup of what some companies are doing.

Allstate said its Shelter-in-Place Payback would give customers an average of 15% back on April and May monthly premiums, which equates more than $600 million. Customers will either get the money back on the bank or credit card account used or through a credit.

American Family Insurance announced a $200 million nationwide rate cut for personal auto insurance policyholders.

Auto Club announced $125 million in financial relief for policyholders. The insurance will also offer free roadside assistance for medical personnel and first responders.

Auto Club policyholders with auto insurance in effect from March 16 to May 15 will receive a 20% policy refund check for this period. Refund checks will be mailed by the end of May.

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Farmers and 21st Century said their branded auto customers will receive a 25% reduction in April premium to reflect the changed driving environment resulting from various stay-at-home guidelines issued across the country.

The national insurer also said it was implementing flexible payment plans and a temporary pause on cancellations to help relieve some of the financial stress being felt by customers.

Geico said it would provide a 15% credit to auto and motorcycle policyholders when their policy comes up for renewal between April 8 and October 7, 2020.

The credit would also be applied to any new policies purchased during this period. According to Geico, it expects credits to average about $150 per auto policy and $30 per motorcycle policy.

Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance is offering a 15% credit for the months of April, May and June. The policyholders do not have to do anything to receive the credit. Since the company is local to Seattle, many of its workers are also not driving and adhering to the stay at home orders.

"We feel good about that, because really ultimately it's the right thing to do," said Derek Wing, a PEMCO spokesperson. "As a local company, you know, we're trying to look out for people in the northwest."

Wing said the credits will start appearing in May.

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Nationwide said it will provide a $50 premium refund to personal auto customers. The refunds will automatically be credited to policy holders' method of payment.

Next Insurance, a commercial automobile insurance carrier, announced a temporary 25% rate cut.

USAA said it would return nearly $520 million to members. The credit will automatically be applied to customer bills. Every member with an auto insurance policy in effect as of March 31 will receive a 20% credit on two months of premiums in the coming weeks.

Consumer experts say there are other ways to save money in case a rebate is not enough. 

Drivers should shop around, because that alone could save hundreds of dollars a year. However, they advise drivers may want to wait if they are waiting on a rebate. Policyholders should also review their coverage levels and ask their agents for any discounts. And, they may also want to consider changing the status on their policy. For example, changing the status from commuter to non-commuter or reducing the monthly mileage on the policy could bring additional savings.

Do you have a question or concern about money during the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at money@king5.com.