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Can I get a car insurance premium break or refund during the coronavirus outbreak?
You might be able to defer your payment, lower the amount or adjust the excess.
If you have car insurance but are struggling to keep up with payments due to coronavirus, many providers are stepping up and offering financial help. You might be able to ask for a premium deferral, lower your payment amount or even adjust the excess to make payments more manageable.
Does my car insurer provide financial help?
It depends on your car insurer and your financial situation. Many are offering financial assistance on a case-by-case basis, so it’s best to contact them directly if you think you’re going to miss a monthly instalment. Some providers, like Tower, are giving customers refunds, while the AA has set up a dedicated financial hardship fund and is looking at reducing premiums.
IAG, which owns State, NZI and AMI brands, has also said it has “no intention of deriving any benefit from the Covid-19 lockdown”, and intends benefits to flow back to its customers.
The table below outlines how specific insurers are providing financial help. Contact details are also provided so you can get in touch with them.
|Insurer||How it is helping||Contact info|
|AA||Established a $2m customer hardship fund. Freezing increases in car insurance premiums, and is looking at reducing them.|
Customers should make contact directly to discuss their options.
|Call 0800 500 231 (8am – 8pm Monday to Friday; 8am – 6pm on weekends and public holidays). |
Fill out this form online or speak to someone online via their Live Chat team.
|AMI||Willing to help and support customers experiencing financial hardship.||Fill out a form on the AMI Covid-19 page in the FAQs section to let them know your situation. Will be in touch within 5 working days.|
|AMP||Teams are available to discuss customers concerns.||Call 0800 505 234 for assistance.|
|ANZ||ANZ’s insurance partners, Vero or Tower, may be able to provide help.||Vero call 0800 831 123 or email ANZCustomerSolutions@vero.co.nz|
Tower call 0800 847 011 or email RetentionGI@tower.co.nz
|ASB||Will discuss options and tailor solutions to each customers’ situation.||Complete the online form through their Covid-19 page to request financial assistance.|
If urgent call 0800 272 205 between 8:30am – 5pm, Monday – Sunday on 0800 272 205.
|BNZ||Contact them if you have any questions about paying premiums.||For urgent queries, PremierCare team 0800 808 618.|
Non-urgent queries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
|NZI||NZI is working closely with brokers to ensure customers remain updated and that cover reflects the current situation.||For any queries please contact your broker in the first instance.|
|Protecta||Available for customers to contact during lockdown and ready to assist.||For assistance call 0800 776 832 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday |
Contact Customer Services for all queries including payments: email@example.com
|State||Will discuss options and tailor solutions to each customers’ situation.||Complete the online form through their Covid-19 page to request financial assistance.|
If urgent, call 0800 80 24 24 between 8am – 6pm, Monday – Friday and 9am – 6pm weekends and public holidays.
|Tower||Temporary payment deferrals are available for up to three months. Can also review an existing policy to reduce customer payments. |
Looking at giving customers a refund in May on car insurance premiums.
|Get in touch to discuss your options.|
|Vero||Flexible payment solutions including adjusting the excess on a policy or temporarily deferring payment.||Talk to your broker or adviser, or contact their team on 0800 808 508 or +64 9 363 2222 (8.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday).|
|Westpac||Will discuss available options if customers are unable to meet repayment obligations.||Contact their customer service team on 0800 809 378 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday, 8.30am to 5pm.|
To find out if you can delay or reduce your car insurance premium, you can:
- Contact your insurer. Since many insurers consider your situation on an individual or case-by-case basis, you should contact your insurer if you are suffering from financial hardship. Keep in mind that it is busier than usual due to the coronavirus crisis so for urgent enquiries, call directly.
- Provide evidence of your situation. It’s a good idea to have any relevant information related to your financial situation. It might be a group certificate showing you are out of work or other details proving you can’t keep up with payments.
- Try and get an option that suits you. Speak to your insurer about a payment option that works for you. For example, if you expect to be out of work for only a short time, an extension could be enough to get you by.
- Note any important info. Whether you’ve secured an extension, lowered your premiums or temporarily frozen your account, be sure to jot down any new info so you can keep up with the new payments and don’t forget about them.
What about if your insurer doesn’t help?
You’re not out of options if your insurer doesn’t provide any form of financial relief. There are a few other things you can do:
- Shop around. If you’ve lost your job due to coronavirus, it’s a good time to sort out your finances. You might find a cheaper car insurance policy than the one you’re currently paying. You can compare car insurance policies side-by-side to help you find a deal with better value.
- Downgrade your coverage. Downgrading your policy might be an option if you don’t expect to be using your car as frequently. Third-party insurance only covers damage you do to another party’s car, but it is cheaper than comprehensive insurance.
- Cancel your policy. If you can’t afford to pay your current policy and are not receiving any financial hardship assistance, you might want to just cancel your policy. Keep in mind that many insurers have a cancellation fee if you cancel in the middle of a contract. However, there may also be cancellation refunds for unused portions of your premium.
What happens if I miss a car insurance payment?
It’s unlikely during the coronavirus crisis that your policy will simply be terminated if you miss a payment. Insurance companies are required by law to provide notice before cancelling your policy completely anyway. You usually have between 10 and 20 days to pay, which means you are still covered during this time if you do miss a payment. Your insurer usually texts, emails or calls you to let you know.
If you don’t pay within the specified timeframe or don’t contact them to discuss your situation, they may cancel your policy and deny you coverage.
Picture: Getty Images
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