COVID has drastically affected all areas of life – including traffic. As offices remain largely shut down and employees continue to work remotely, the daily commute has become far more manageable. The result? Fewer vehicles on the road and fewer auto accident claims.

What does this mean for the auto insurance industry? With fewer claims to pay out, many are issuing refunds or discounts to policyholders.

But when it comes to payouts on auto accident claims, don’t expect a generous settlement off the bat. Insurance companies still have an enormous financial incentive to minimize, delay and deny claims. With the economy in shambles and millions of Americans facing job loss – not to mention a vastly diminished need for driving – insurers are bracing for steep drops in policy renewals.

Fatal accident claims on the rise

Despite fewer cars on the road (and an estimated 40 percent decrease in total miles driven), traffic fatalities have actually increased during COVID. North Carolina alone saw a seven percent spike in roadway deaths from January through April. That means insurers are facing a greater burden to pay out these catastrophic claims.

The way auto insurers process claims has changed, too. Many are using Zoom interviews, virtual inspections of property damage and other remote tools to reduce the need for in-person interaction. Claims are generally taking longer to process.

Don’t handle auto accident claims alone

The takeaway? Insurance companies are still just as concerned about profits as ever. If you’ve been in an accident, don’t assume you’ll get a windfall simply because of COVID. It still takes legwork and experienced advocacy to hold insurers accountable.

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