Coronavirus car stories

Posted: 8 April 2020 4:35 pm

A black car crash into the rear of a grey car

Coronavirus car stories from drag racing to doggy DUI

We’re living in unprecedented times, watching real-time broadcasts and reading rolling news in the world’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. From California drag races to waived auto insurance premiums, we round up car stories from the last week or so.

Drag racers risk more than safety

While most people around the country are practising social distancing, a small but reckless cohort in Los Angeles is turning out in the hundreds to participate in street takeovers and drag races, according to Fox 11.

A major concern is these gatherings have the potential to be breeding grounds for the transfer of the deadly COVID-19 virus. People bunch into close proximity to one another not knowing if the person next to them in the crowd is carrying the coronavirus.

In addition to general health concerns stemming from COVID-19, people in LA participating in these types of activities are threatening their insurance coverage. Car insurers check your criminal record when you’re applying for coverage. If they see citations for street racing or reckless driving, you risk paying more in premiums or even denial of coverage. And if you damage your insured car in a drag race, your insurer will likely deny the claim.

DDWI: Dog driving while intoxicated

In what might be one of the strangest attempts at social distancing, a Washington State man was arrested after he was caught with his pitbull behind the wheel of his vehicle, says AFP.

Police responded to reports of a car hitting two other vehicles and leaving the scene. Calls received shortly after reported the same vehicle driving erratically at high speeds. Following a high-speed pursuit, the arresting officers discovered the owner of the vehicle in the passenger seat, who was controlling the pedals and steering wheel while his pitbull was in the driver’s seat.

The driver, who was charged with a litany of offences that included driving under the influence, told officers that he was trying to teach his dog how to drive.

Though most people know not to let their pets drive their car, a DWI or DUI on your record can wreak havoc on not only your ability to purchase car insurance but also how much you’ll pay for it. To get back on the road, you might even require SR-22 insurance — a document your insurer files with the state, certifying that you have a policy that meets the minimum insurance requirements.

Car insurers offering premium forgiveness for COVID-19

Many Americans are dealing with the strain of unemployment and shelter-in-place precautions in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re experiencing undue financial pressure because of the coronavirus, check whether your auto insurer is one of many allowing customers to skip payments during the crisis.

For example, Geico is postponing policy cancellations for nonpayment until April 30, 2020, for those affected by COVID-19. And if you live in California, the state has mandated a 60-day grace period on payments for car insurance.

What to keep in mind about car insurance during COVID-19

As the nation shelters in place, you can use the time to determine eligibility for relief, review your existing insurance policy for financial wiggle room and shop around for cheaper coverage. Just keep in mind that you could face longer wait times than usual.

  • Research financial help. Along with those allowing customers to skip payments, other major insurers are extending due dates, waiving late fees or postponing policy cancellations.
  • Review your level of coverage. Consider lowering your coverage just enough to make your monthly bill more manageable. You may be able to drop nonessential coverage like roadside assistance or lower your annual limits to your state’s requirements.
  • Shop around for savings. If you switch car insurance companies by phone, the savings for your monthly premium could be worth the wait. We’ve found that most drivers save as much as $500 a year just by swapping to a new insurer.

Image: Getty

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