Insurance Payment Relief for Customers in Financial Trouble Due to Job Loss

27 Mar

Recently, insurance companies have joined other industries in offering relief from insurance payments to customers who are suffering financially due to job losses from the coronavirus. In addition to some auto and homeowner insurance companies offering financial assistance, California has requested that all insurance companies offer at least a 60 day grace period for insurance premium payments for all Californians.

 It’s not just policy premiums that insurers are waiving. States requested that health insurers waive consumer costs related to copays for screening or testing for the coronavirus. In California and New York, the state has ordered insurers to cover any cost sharing charges for coronavirus testing. 

New York has gone even farther, ordering health insurers to waive copays for in network tele health services and has also started a special open enrollment period so that uninsured New Yorkers can buy health coverage with a start date of April 1st. The special enrollment period runs from March 16th to April 15th in New York state.

California’s insurance commissioner has requested that all insurance companies writing policies in the state offer at least 60-day grace periods for payments on all types of insurance policies. This includes homeowners, auto, and all other insurance plan types. The goal is to prevent customers from losing coverage due to late payments. 

Pennsylvania also stepped up recently asking insurance companies within the state to work with policy holders and provide payment plans as well as extended grace periods to help customers suffering from job losses due to coronavirus. They are also asking insurers to waive penalties and late fees.

How Individual insurers are helping

A number of insurance companies are stepping up and offering extended payment options to their customers across the country even without being ordered by the state. Here is a quick list of what some insurers are offering: 

  • Allstate: Allstate is allowing customers to request a special payment plan which allows them to skip up to two premium payments without a penalty or late fee.
  • Auto-Owners Insurance: Customers can call to inquire about changing their due date, changing up their payment plan or even getting a payment extension if necessary.
  • American Family: This insurer is asking that customers with financial difficulties contact them to discuss various payment options. They may be able to push back customers due dates if they’re having problems paying due to COVID-19. 
  • Geico: GEICO is going a step further and is suspending policy cancellations due to nonpayment through April 30th of this year. They are also encouraging customers having trouble making their premium payment to call so they can set up a more flexible payment plan. 
  • Mercury Insurance: This insurance company would like customers to call if they are facing financial difficulties due to coronavirus and they can help set up a payment plan. 
  • Progressive: Progressive is encouraging customers having problems paying their bills due to COVID-19 to call so they can discuss ways that Progressive can help.
  • State Farm: All State Farm customers are encouraged to call their local agent if they’re having financial issues due to coronavirus. 
  • Travelers: This insurance company is offering billing support to customers who have been affected by COVID-19. Travelers is encouraging customers to contact them directly to discuss billing solutions.
  • USAA: This insurance company is happy to make special payment arrangements for auto and homeowners insurance policies and will waive late fees.  

Going Mobile

In light of the coronavirus and recommendations for social distancing many auto and home insurance companies are encouraging customers to download their mobile apps and use them to file claims and make payments. This will help reduce the pressure on their customer calls centers which are currently being overwhelmed with phone calls.

This is not the first time that insurance companies have offered extended grace periods during a crisis. Previous grace periods happened during natural disasters. As an example, after wildfires ravaged California last year the state ordered all insurance companies to grant a 60-day grace period for customers in wildfire affected areas.

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