Auto Insurance Companies Are Worried About Losing Money Due to Post-Pandemic Accidents

Road rage, speeding, and distracted and reckless driving cause car accidents. Of course, fewer drivers on the road means fewer chances to crash. When companies discovered that working from home was a thing and virtual learning kept students out of classrooms, many people parked their cars. They had no place to go.

Though some suggest pandemic drivers are worse than everyday motorists, the data is still out. In fact, many insurance companies saved so much money on claims during the shutdown that they sent rebate checks to their customers. However, stay-at-home orders expired, and workplaces and schools reopened. And insurers now worry.

Pandemic stay-at-home orders greatly reduced traffic on American roads

A car accident in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the night of May 1, 2021
Car accident | JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced cars on the roads. Fewer cars meant fewer accidents. Subsequently, insurers refunded partial premiums in April and May 2020, NerdWallet reported. And some drivers temporarily canceled some of the more expensive coverage, such as comprehensive and collision. However, this decision left drivers vulnerable in cases of car theft.

Others, who owned their cars outright, canceled their policies altogether and reported the vehicle as not in use. And savvy car owners with loans switched to pay-per-mile insurance, which significantly slashed insurance premiums. Concurrently, these motorists could continue using their vehicles if necessary.

However, 2020 is in the rearview mirror, stay-at-home orders are no longer in effect, and businesses are reopening across the country. Students head back to school, and churches return to in-person worship. In short, for many Americans, daily life is becoming business as usual.

Increasing post-pandemic driving worries insurance companies

It’s noteworthy that the pandemic-related parked cars also benefited insurers. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported that insurance companies saw a significant decline in accident claims. As a result, insurers paid out far less frequently, resulting in a windfall. However, this business model is now coming to an end.

Auto insurers worry about a big jump in claims as people return to the roads. Moreover, these are drivers who might not have been driving for six to 12 months. Similarly, hard-won good habits may give way to reckless driving and similar behaviors. Already, insurers worry about their second-quarter results compared to prior figures.

Avoid paying more for auto insurance as traffic increases

Will insurers charge drivers more? If companies have to keep paying out, they’ll certainly pass that expense to consumers. For drivers who spent a lot of time at home, it makes sense to refresh their understanding of road safety. The WHO identifies the most vulnerable as making up the most traffic deaths.

These are pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and motorcycle riders. Moreover, children and young adults are likelier to die from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Therefore, it’s up to drivers to get back in the best driving shape before hitting the roads again full time.

For example, you can significantly decrease “dooring” accidents by opening your car door with your right hand. It all but forces you to look behind you for an approaching pedal cyclist. Wear your seatbelt, and if you have passengers, don’t start the car until they’re buckled up too.

Also, another possible spike in accidents might be attributed to the fact that marijuana is now legal in several places. Just as you shouldn’t drink and drive, don’t toke and drive either. By the way, if you were one of the motorists who canceled some or all of their car insurance coverage during the pandemic, remember to reinstate it before you hit the road. Though paying per mile might’ve saved you money, it can now cost you big time if you don’t switch back.

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