Apr 7, 2020 - Health

Some auto insurers giving customers refunds as drivers stay home

 An aerial view of light traffic before sunset on the I-110 and SR-101 freeways and Sunset Boulevard amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 6, 2020 in Los Angeles

Light traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles on Monday evening. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Auto insurers Allstate and American Family Insurance announced Monday they're giving back some $800 million in premiums to customers in recognition that many are not driving much during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The payments their customers will receive are not vast amounts, but the "nature of the action is exemplary — and rare — given the context of a pandemic," notes the New York Times, which surveyed nine other auto insurance firms to see if they would follow their rivals' lead.

The latest: Nationwide announced on Thursday it will offer a one-time premium refund of $50 per policy for personal auto policies active as of March 31.

By the numbers: Allstate said most customers will receive 15% of their monthly premium in April and May as part of a "Shelter-in-Place Payback," totaling more than $600 million, as the firm noted that "less driving means fewer accidents."

  • American Family will pay $50 per vehicle covered by clients' personal auto policy, costing about $200 million in total.

Of note: A Progressive spokesperson told the NYT that plans would be in place soon on "how to best return some premium to customers," while a USAA representative said the company was "exploring options" and an announcement was expected in "the coming days."

  • A State Farm representative told the Times the firm was weighing "how best" to "return value to our auto insurance policyholders," with a decision expected by the week's end.

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