Insurance Commissioner: Auto insurers assisting consumers

DOVER – Automobile insurers in Delaware are taking a number of consumer-friendly actions in light of COVID-19, the Delaware Department of Insurance said Tuesday.

On Monday, Allstate announced it would embark on a premium payback program resulting in $1.5 million going back to Delaware residents.

Multiple insurers have also temporarily removed their commercial use exemptions on their private passenger automobile plans to allow policyholders to comfortably gain income as delivery drivers using their personal vehicles, putting income into the pockets of thousands of eligible residents.

“As we all do our part to stay home and flatten the curve, our vehicles aren’t being used, and it makes sense for premiums to decrease or be paid back as fewer auto accidents and issues occur,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro in a news release.

“I urge all auto insurers to be responsive to the COVID-19 crisis and enact consumer-friendly policies like these.”

Allstate announced Monday that they will file an endorsement to enact a shelter-in-place payback that will distribute more than $600 million to their personal auto insurance customers nationwide, including $1.5 million to Delaware residents.

Paybacks will equal 15% of a customer’s March and April premiums, payable in April and May respectively.

“It’s no secret that fewer cars are on the road,” Allstate stated, “With costs going down, Allstate is working to do what’s right for policyholders…We are trying to respond quickly and decisively to get money to customers when they need it most – now.”

The Department of Insurance said the company has also offered a special payment plan for individuals facing financial hardship and is offering Allstate Identity Protection to all residents through the end of the year to combat the rise of COVID-19-related scams. Allstate has extended coverage for customers using personal vehicles to deliver food and supplies during the COVID-19 crisis, a recommendation of the Delaware Department of Insurance.

In an April 1 Bulletin to Insurers, the department encouraged companies remove a typically-seen commercial use exemption from their auto insurance policies throughout the pandemic to allow residents to gain income from delivering goods using their personal vehicles. Insurers including Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, and USAA have taken this action.

Residents are encouraged to check their auto insurance company COVID-19 policies before beginning to provide delivery services. While encouraging insurers to take these steps, the department is waiving notice filing fees and has committed to reviewing provided notices within 24 hours of submission.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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