Practicing safe social distancing or quarantining yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that you are not driving your car very much right now. So you may be asking yourself: “Do I still need car insurance right now?”
In short, yes.
Here’s why: Car insurance is required by law in the State of Maryland and in Washington, D.C. You need car insurance to legally drive on public roads. Whether you’re driving often because you are still working outside of the home as an “essential” employee or you need to make a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, you need car insurance.
This essential financial protection helps you in the case of a car accident or other reason for damage. Opportunities for damage aren’t limited to when you’re on the road. Depending on your coverage, car insurance can also cover theft and damage from flood, fire, vandalism, and tornadoes. In the least, maintain your car insurance for emergencies.
If you get caught driving an uninsured car, you will receive a misdemeanor criminal citation. You may need to pay a fine, face jail time, and lose your license.
Can I still speak to a GEBCO agent?
Yes. Our team is still working hard for you during this crisis. Because of the Stay-at-Home Orders, we are not accepting in-person meetings at our offices. However, our agents are available via phone and email.
Will my car insurance change during the COVID-19 outbreak?
No. Your car insurance is not going to change unless you make changes to your policy. To make changes to your policy, contact your GEBCO agent.
Can I reduce my coverage?
If you have full coverage and aren’t using your car as much as usual right now, you may be tempted to reduce your coverage. However, reducing your coverage may mean that you won’t be covered in the event that your vehicle is damaged or stolen.
The big question is: Can you afford to pay to repair or replace your vehicle in the event it gets damaged or is stolen? If you can answer “yes,” we recommend speaking to your GEBCO agent about your options. If your answer is “no,” then it’s best to maintain your current coverage.
There is one more option: storage or comp-only insurance. If you have multiple vehicles and would like to reduce your premium payments, you may be able to put the vehicle(s) you’re not using on “storage.” This will lower your premium as it lowers your coverage for those vehicles on storage. This is because the vehicles on storage are seen as protected from damage.
If you park your vehicle in a parking lot or on the road, we don’t recommend that you place it on storage. We recommend only pursuing storage coverage if you have a secure garage to house your unused vehicle(s).
There are restrictions on using storage insurance. Your car may need to have been in storage for a certain number of days or weeks before you can be eligible for it. We hope the COVID-19 pandemic won’t last much longer, so storage insurance may not be worth pursuing.
Note that if you have a car loan or lease, your lender or leasing company likely requires you to carry collision and comprehensive insurance, so you will not be able to reduce your coverage until the vehicle is paid for or the lease has ended.
If you are looking for ways to save money on your car insurance premiums during the COVID-19 outbreak or anytime, contact your GEBCO agent.
What if I can’t afford car insurance right now?
We understand that many Americans are facing financial hardships right now, especially as many people have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are experiencing financial hardship and are concerned that you won’t be able to pay your next premium payment, please contact your GEBCO agent.
Do I need to update my coverage if I start a delivery job?
If you recently started delivering pizzas, other takeout food, groceries, or other delivered goods and are driving your personal vehicle, you may need a commercial auto policy in addition to your personal policy. If you don’t and get into an accident, you may not be covered under your personal policy. Contact your GEBCO agent to learn more.