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These businesses are refunding customers amid coronavirus

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

The coronavirus pandemic has frozen large swaths of the economy as people limit contact with others to slow the spread of the disease. With everyone at home and only “essential” businesses open in many parts of the country, some businesses have offered refunds for certain services that cannot be rendered.

Yahoo Finance is compiling a roundup of some of them.

Insurance companies

With the amount of driving people need to do sharply reduced, car insurers have been collecting premiums but not paying out as much – less driving, less traffic means fewer road accidents.

State Farm is issuing a 25% credit on premiums paid between March 20 and May 31, that amounts to $2 billion back to consumers.

Allstate (ALL) is issuing a 15% refund for April and May premiums.

Geico (BRK.A, BRK.B) is offering a 15% credit on policies up for renewal between April 8 and Oct. 7.  

Liberty Mutual is offering 15% back on two months of premiums.

Allstate said there have been fewer vehicle accidents during the COVID-19 pandemic as people stay home more to slow the spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Progressive (PGR) is giving all auto customers a 20% credit for April and May.

Farmers Insurance is giving a 25% reduction in April premiums.

Chubb Auto Insurance (CB) is offering 35% premium reductions for April and May — and potentially more discounts.

USAA auto insurance is giving a 20% credit for two months of premiums.

Nationwide is offering auto customers a "one-time premium refund of $50 per policy for personal auto policies active as of March 31, 2020."

Many other insurers are joining in and are announcing new programs, and Consumer Reports has a great tip: Simply call your insurer. They might give you a discount even if one isn’t announced. 

Gyms

Though gyms traditionally have a reputation for being difficult to negotiate with when it comes to cancelling memberships or getting any kind of refund, many gyms have been proactive about stopping monthly payments. 

Obviously, in states that have mandated non-essential businesses to close, it’s impossible to use the services.

LA Fitness wrote on its website that it has “suspended all billings until one or more clubs in your market reopens.”

Planet Fitness (PLNT) said it has “proactively frozen all memberships on your behalf, and you will not be charged any fees during this time,” and it is offering free video content. If someone has been billed during the closed time, Planet Fitness says it will make an adjustment for the next billing cycle upon reopening.

Equinox has frozen memberships automatically, scheduled sessions will be refunded, and expiration dates will be extended. 

Other gyms, such as Gold’s, have not announced refunds or payment freezes. Some gyms are also changing their policies, so if one gym hasn’t issued refunds or freezes, that could change. New York Sports Club, which was sued by a customer for charging members during coronavirus closures, has changed its policy and is freezing memberships.

Hospitality and travel

Most airlines have been offering free ticket changes, though they may be one-time changes. AirFareWatchdog has compiled a useful list of policies here.

Passengers walk through the United Airlines terminal at San Francisco International Airport on April 12, 2020 in San Francisco. San Francisco International Airport has a seen a huge decline in daily flights since the coronavirus shelter in place. United Airlines, the airport's largest carrier with the most daily flights with 290 flights per day before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has reduced their daily flights to 50 per day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The biggest American carriers:

American (AAL) has waived change fees through Sept. 30, 2020 and extended expiring tickets through the end of 2021.

Delta (DAL) has extended to re-book affected travel for up to two years.

United (UAL) has a rubric with its policies, which involve waiving fees and giving free 12-month changes for people who book now.

Southwest (LUV): If you have travel scheduled until April 30, you can change your flight for up to 60 days after, for free. If you don’t want to travel you can get a voucher for a non-refundable ticket that lasts a year.

Alaska (ALK) has no change or cancelation fees for travel through May 20.

JetBlue (JBLU) has no change or cancelation fees through May 31, regardless of when the ticket was purchased. New flights booked before May also have no change or cancelation fees.

Spirit (SAVE) has waived cancelation and change fees. Cancelations can be done even if the flight has flown, and travelers get a credit good for 12 months.

Frontier (FRNT) is giving a free one-time change to impacted customers.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, personal finance, retail, airlines, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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