Are auto insurance companies benefitting from roads emptied by the coronavirus?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As time goes by, we are learning more about the coronavirus and how it is affecting all of us. That includes the rates we pay for auto insurance.

Here's the question being asked: Are auto insurance companies making an unfair profit off the coronavirus? We are driving less, accidents are way down -- but our insurance rates are the same.

When you look at these empty streets you see a pandemic in action.

When consumer advocates look at those same streets they see a social injustice: motorists forced by the state to buy auto insurance, and then forced to stay home.

"Most, through no fault of their own, are not commuting to work, college students are not commuting to college; we have parents whose childrens' schools are closed, so they are forced to be home," says President of the Consumer Federation of California, Richard Holober.

"We are calling on insurance companies to voluntarily to notify people and start initiating rate reductions immediately, because people are hurting," Holober continues.

I reached out to California's two largest auto insurers, State Farm and Geico. I have not heard from either.

The Consumer Federation of California has filed with the California Department of Insurance, saying if companies don't drop rates on their own, the state should step in.

"If you are not driving, your rates should go down. The number of miles you drive a year, under California state law, is the second-most important factor for determining what your auto insurance premium is," says Holober.

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