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How to get cheaper car insurance during the coronavirus crisis

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Many of the nation's cars have been collecting dust in recent weeks, as coronavirus containment measures keep Aussies off the road and in their homes instead.

While the change in driving habits has been essential for public health, it has also been good news for insurers. With fewer people on the road, the risk of having an accident is greatly reduced. As a result, insurers are expecting fewer motoring claims to arise during the pandemic.

Of course, that begs the question: why are people still paying the same for car insurance if they're at significantly less risk of lodging a claim with their insurance company?

coronavirus car insurance

Well, you might not have to. Several big car insurers have already started offering discounts to customers who are using their car less due to coronavirus, while others are rolling out alternative financial assistance packages.

Who's offering discounts?

Youi was first in Australia to offer a discount on car insurance premiums, giving new and existing customers a 15% reduction, as long as they're using their car less than before.

Suncorp and its subsidiary brands AAMI, GIO and APIA soon followed, offering a 20% premium reduction or a three-month waiver for car and home insurance customers.

The insurer has also started offering free counselling sessions for customers and their families while AAMI is providing free roadside assistance to all doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and police officers, regardless of whether they're a customer or not.

QBE is also worth a mention, after the insurer stepped up to offer eligible new and existing comprehensive car insurance customers a $50 gift card. QBE says that figure represents about 25% of the average private-use motor insurance policy from April to June.

What if your insurer isn't offering a discount?

Your insurer might not have explicitly said it's offering discounts due to coronavirus, but that doesn't mean you can't get a lower premium on your car insurance.

Usually, car insurers will ask how many kilometres you drive in a year. Some will then factor that into the price of your premium. The less you drive, the less you pay.

We did some research on this. Using the same driver profile, but changing the estimated mileage, we requested multiple quotes from more than 30 different car insurance brands in Australia. We found that more than half reward low usage with lower premiums.

That means if you're expecting to drive significantly less this year than you thought you would when you bought your car insurance, you might be able to claim a partial refund or have your premiums reduced moving forward. We suggest giving your insurer a call or using its online chat system to find out more.

How do you get the discounts?

You'll have to be proactive about it. If your insurer is included in this article, get in touch and ask if you're eligible for a discount.

Even if your insurer isn't mentioned in this article, it's worth getting in touch to see if you can claim a discounted premium for low usage. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

We're cutting through the confusion to help you manage your money during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here for more on how COVID-19 could affect your job, budget, super and investments.

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Nicola Middlemiss is a senior insurance writer at Finder.
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