PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Car insurance companies are forking over big cash payments to drivers who are staying off the roads amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There are definitely fewer cars zipping about in Philadelphia. KYW Newsradio’s 24-hour Traffic Center estimates about a 50% decline in traffic in the middle of the day.
Even further, there’s 80% less traffic during the evening rush, ever since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered Pennsylvanians to stay home.
There’s maybe a crash or two on a major road per hour, compared to before the pandemic hit the region hard.
“There were times when we could barely keep up with it. I mean, phone calls coming in — you would have three to four (accidents) just on I-95 in a matter of 10 to 15 minutes,” recalled KYW traffic reporter Justin Drabick.
Car insurance companies are seeing the same thing.
“We saw there was a decline in driving,” said Alyssa Shaffer, spokesperson for Allstate, “so we are passing those savings, that we expected to pay out, through claims on to those customers, since there is such a decline in driving right now.”
Shaffer said Allstate customers are getting back more than $600 million.
“Essentially what that is, is most customers will be receiving a 15% payback of their monthly premium,” she explained.
In addition to those checks going out in April and May, Allstate is also working on special payment plans for customers in need.
“We are facing unprecedented times. Our customers are facing some economic hardships,” echoed Glenn Greenberg, spokesperson for Liberty Mutual.
He said the insurance company will cease late fees and set up special payment plans, too. It will also offer its customers a 15% refund on two months of their annual premium.
“We’re going to return about $250 million to our Liberty Mutual, and Safeco customers,” he added.
Other insurance companies, like Geico, are following suit.