How Will COVID Affect Auto Insurance Rates?

It is now more than two months into the nationwide COVID lockdown, and medical experts and government officials are warning Americans that returning to their normal routines may take months, or even years. With many people laid off from work or working from home, and travel severely restricted, there is some good news. The number of automobile accidents have decreased, and people are putting less wear and tear on their cars, causing many drivers to wonder how their insurance rates might be affected.

Fortunately, most major car insurance companies have taken steps to compensate their customers for part of the premiums they have paid for vehicles that have been virtually idle since March. Many have offered rebates and/or discounts on premiums during the pandemic. Some of these include:

Allstate: A 15% discount on premiums for April and May

Farmers: A 25% credit for April premiums

GEICO: A 15% discount on premiums for new policies, and for policies that renew between April and October 2020.

Liberty Mutual: A 15% discount on premiums for April and May

Progressive: A 20% credit on April premiums, and a 20% discount on May premiums

State Farm: An average credit of 25% for the period between March 20 and May 31.

USAA: A 20% credit for April and May premiums

All companies report that discounts and rebates will be applied automatically.

Since driving habits may be altered for quite some time after the pandemic is over, some insurers are offering new products, such as User Based Insurance (UBI). A UBI insurance policy calculates premiums based on the actual number of miles driven during the policy period. Users will have to install a tracking device on their vehicle to qualify for the programs, which could save money for people who drive sporadically. Some insurers also offer discounts for safe driving, based on devices that monitor such things as speed, the time of day a car is driven, and whether the driver makes sudden stops. While many are skeptical about allowing insurers to have access to so much information, others may be willing to accept the trade-off.

Insurance tracking devices may also be useful in the event of an accident, to prove that a driver was not exceeding the speed limit, for example. If your insurance company offers UBI or safe driving discounts, make sure to learn as much as you can about the type of devices they use and how the collected information is protected from unlawful use and disclosure.

If you or a loved one is injured in an automobile accident, the attorneys at The O’Brien Firm are here to help. Just call 716-907-7777 to for a free consultation. COVID-19 UPDATE: Although we are working from alternate locations, we remain fully functional and look forward to helping you.

 

Protecting Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is normal to feel anxious, frightened, and even relieved if you were not seriously injured. Understandably, you may not be able to think clearly immediately following the incident or even a few hours to days after. However, time is not on your side after an accident and you must act quickly to preserve your rights. Before going out for a ride, all motorcycle riders should know what they should do to protect their rights in case they are involved in an accident.

  1. If you can, take photos of the accident scene before any vehicles are moved. The relative positions of the vehicles can be a crucial piece of evidence needed to establish who was at fault. Other physical evidence, such as skid marks and debris on the road, may disappear or fade within days or even hours. Photos can also help show weather conditions at the time of the accident.
  2. If there are witnesses, try to obtain their contact information, in case they leave the scene before the police arrive.
  3. Do not admit any fault to anyone. Even if you believe you may have been partially or completely at fault for the accident, you may not be aware of all of the circumstances. A hasty admission of fault can affect your rights, even if it turns out that you were mistaken.
  4. Ask for a copy of the police report. It will contain important information that you may need later on.
  5. Always seek medical care. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. The stress and adrenaline of the accident may mask pain and lead you to believe that you are uninjured. Failure to seek immediate medical attention will weaken your case if you start to experience symptoms afterwards. Even in extenuating circumstances, such as with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is important to be checked by a doctor after an accident. Take proper safety precautions, but do not delay in getting medical attention.
  6. Call an accident attorney. Your attorney will be able to help preserve evidence, interview possible witnesses, and work with insurance adjustors to get money for your medical expenses even before your case is settled.

The attorneys at The O’Brien Firm are dedicated to helping accident victims and have the experience necessary to handle the unique circumstances involved in motorcycle accident cases. Visit our website at  http://www.theobrienfirm.com/ for more information, or call us at 716-907-7777 to arrange a consultation. During the current coronavirus outbreak, we are available for phone and video consultations.