We've seen the pictures of empty freeways during rush hour and clean air over Los Angeles, as millions of cars remain parked. With so many people not driving anywhere, or driving very little, you had to figure auto accidents have declined dramatically, too. How dramatically? By 40% to 50%, according to insurance claims data. That's for personal autos. Claims for commercial vehicles are down 30% to 40%.

Those figures are from Snapsheet, an automated insurance-claims processor. Snapsheet COO Andy Cohen told analysts that collision-related claims for March could be the lowest the industry has seen in 50 years. Snapsheet works with 85 different insurance carriers, and Cohen says some smaller insurers have seen claims drop by 80%.

Those figures bear out anecdotal evidence of much fewer crashes. According to the Washington state patrol, in the third week of March, the number of auto accidents plummeted by two-thirds compared to a year prior. And the accidents that did occur were less severe: fatal accidents dropped by 100%, serious accidents by 78%, while minor accidents dipped 60%.

Based on this news, it would appear that insurance companies can well afford their recent spate of auto-premium rebates. In fact, it sounds like they could afford to give back even more.

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