So, what’s changed in your life in the two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic? You might be tempted to say … everything! At least, it seems that way to most of us. If you’ve started driving more or less frequently, changed your job or address, or made any other significant life changes, it’s important to review and update your auto insurance policy to ensure you have the coverage you need.
Do you work from your home now? Maybe you haven’t seen your coworkers, except through a computer screen, in months or even a couple of years. Your kids have spent more time learning at the dining room table than in classrooms, and everyone in the family wears a mask when going just about anywhere in public.
You also have different driving habits. As the most critical time of the pandemic winds down (hopefully), a lot of those habits will likely remain as motorists cautiously return to their normal lives and old habits.
Here are some of the driving trends we’re seeing.
A Lot of People Are Driving a Lot Less During the Pandemic
During the earliest days of COVID-19, the nation’s drivers cut their mileage almost in half. It makes sense when you think about it. Those suburban employees now working from home might have managed to save 10 hours or more in their weekly commutes.
When their kids were in “remote” classrooms, their parents weren’t driving them to school. And with concerns about contracting the virus, many chose to shop by internet and delivery services rather than getting into their cars and venturing to the local supermarket or shopping center.
So what will happen when the world fully recovers from the pandemic? Won’t we all get right back into our cars and put on the kind of mileage we’d piled up in those almost forgotten pre-COVID days? Maybe. Most kids are back in school now, and their folks will be driving them to and from actual physical schools and daycare, soccer practice, band rehearsals, play dates, and whatnot.
On the other hand, many of those who used to have daily two-hour commutes are continuing to work remotely at least part of the time. Some even moved so far from their job sites that they couldn’t possibly work any other way.
Many drivers will never go back to the old days of basically living in their cars. And they won’t drive to the mall every time they need to go shopping after making the internet their digital mall of choice.
Many of Those Drivers Still on the Roads Are Driving Faster and More Recklessly Than Ever
Between January and September of 2021, vehicular crash deaths had the highest rate of increase ever recorded by the U.S. Transportation Department. This carries on a trend seen and reported throughout the pandemic.
The prevailing theory is that, with less traffic on the road, some of the relatively fewer high-risk drivers can drive at unsafe and sometimes lethal speeds. This creates problems not only for them but also for anyone else on the road with them.
So What Does the Pandemic Mean for My Car Insurance?
If you are driving less, you could save money on your insurance premium. At the same time, you always need to drive defensively to avoid those who are not driving safely.
The fact that congestion isn’t what it used to be — at least in the short term — is good news for insured drivers. Fewer traffic jams and endless commutes. However, less traffic means danger from the speed demons out there, as we’ve seen with the record-breaking rate of fatal accidents during the pandemic.
Many drivers only have the minimum liability car insurance coverage, which is often not sufficient to cover injuries and damage to other vehicles and people if they’re at fault for an accident. Only with collision car insurance and comprehensive insurance coverage will the at-fault insured driver receive payment for damage to their own vehicle and avoid out-of-pocket costs beyond their deductible.
What does this mean to you? That’s what you need to find out.
Our new COVID-19 driving habits mean that you need to reevaluate your car insurance policies. It could be that you already have all of the coverage you need, but don’t assume that to be the case.
Similarly, you should check in frequently with your insurance agent to find out how your new habits and circumstances might give you some discounts on your car insurance.