COVID-19: How insurance companies are supporting those who have been affected financially
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to financial struggles and uncertainty for many across the country. Whether you've been laid off from your job or you're an hourly worker whose shifts have been reduced — or if the pandemic has affected your finances for another reason — you might be having a hard time staying on top of your bills right now, including your insurance premiums. Insurance companies understand, and we're taking measures to support those who are facing tough financial situations as a result of the pandemic. The Insurance Bureau of Canada announced that its member companies will take the following measures to support their customers:
- Drivers whose habits have changed may qualify for reduced car insurance premiums. If your driving habits have changed significantly because of the pandemic (for example: you're no longer commuting to work or one of your family's vehicles is no longer in use), your insurer could reassess your coverage needs and reduce your premium to reflect that change.
- Insurers are deferring premium payments and exploring other flexible payment options for those Canadians and businesses who have been most affected financially. Similar to mortgage payment deferrals, insurance companies are deferring insurance premium payments to people who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Insurers are also exploring other payment options to help those who are still able to pay for insurance but may need some additional flexibility at this time.
- Insurers are waiving their NSF fees for customers who can't pay their premiums. Under normal circumstances, if you didn’t have sufficient funds in your account to pay your premium, you would end up paying a non-sufficient funds fee to your insurer as a penalty. Right now, insurance companies are waiving these fees for customers who don’t have sufficient funds in their accounts because of COVID-19 financial impacts. It’s worth noting that while your insurer may waive your NSF fee, you’ll still need to pay the principal amount owing on your account. (Note: Your bank may still charge you a fee if you try to make a payment without sufficient funds in your account. Your insurer doesn’t have control over this fee.)
- If you're temporarily using your car or home differently because of the pandemic, it won't affect your premium or coverage. For example, if you're driving to work now instead of taking public transit, or if you're working from home when you don't ordinarily do so, this won't affect the cost of your insurance or prevent you from making a claim.
- Insurers are working with small businesses and commercial clients to help them manage their costs. If you own a business and you've been affected financially because of the pandemic, there may be other solutions available for you, which you can discuss with your broker.
Contact your insurance broker to learn more
Insurance is there to protect you when you need it most — but paying for it should not add to your stress during this financially challenging time. If you've been affected financially or your driving habits have changed significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact your insurance broker to find out what options are available to you.
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