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Consumer Reviews: Car Insurance Companies

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Related Stuff Last Updated: 04/18/2009

See what actual customers have said about their auto insurance company – the good, the bad, and the not-so-pretty

She likes her insurance company.

She likes her insurance company.

We’ve collected one hundred plus consumer reviews for auto insurance companies. Each review comes from actual customers, collected over many months, and time-stamped. Reviewers post actual experiences they’ve had with insurance companies. Sometimes they’re current customers – often they’re former customers with bad experiences.

Consumer Reviews for Car Insurance Companies

Consumer Reviews for the Big and Small Insurers

Consumers review the big names. Sometimes you’ll hear about large insurers not keeping their promises. Problems from Katrina and other natural disasters often suggest those guys are just out for themselves. But read how they treat regular customers – from the customers’ own words.  

Not only that, but we also provide consumer reviews for many smaller insurers. If you’re shopping for car insurance, you need to see what other customers have said – before you buy. This is especially true for smaller carriers.

Leave A Review About Your Own Experience

One more thing: you can help other consumers as they shop for insurance. If you have an experience with a particular company, feel free to leave a review – even if it’s a negative experience.

I’ve included links below for all the insurance companies we have reviews for. If you don’t see the company you want to review – no problem. Send me a message. Write up a short review and give them a 5-star rating for Overall Rating, Price, Service, and Claims. I’ll post it as soon as possible.

As always, everything on Car Insurance Guidebook is FREE.

AAA Customer Reviews

AIG Customer Reviews

Allstate Customer Reviews

American Family Customer Reviews

Arbella Customer Reviews

Commerce Insurance Customer Reviews

Eastwood Customer Reviews

Empower Insurance Customer Review

Erie Customer Reviews

Esurance Customer Reviews

Farm Bureau Customer Reviews

Farmers Customer Reviews

GEICO Customer Reviews

Guide One Customer Reviews

Liberty Mutual Customer Reviews

Nationwide Customer Reviews

Plymouth Rock Customer Reviews

Progressive Customer Reviews

Shelter Customer Reviews

State Farm Customer Reviews

Sun Coast General Customer Reviews

Teachers Customer Reviews

The Hartford Customer Reviews

Travelers Customer Reviews

USAA Customer Reviews

Wawanesa Customer Reviews


Some Insurers Face Problems In 2009

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Related Stuff Last Updated: 03/18/2009

What S&P downgrades mean to auto insurance companies and what you should do about it

Will Some Insurance Companies Crash In 2009?

As we wrap up 2008, we look back at a horrendous year for the U.S. economy. The markets have suffered their worse declines in a generation. Unemployment is higher than any time since the early-Reagan Administration (and climbing), and businesses are folding left and right. Even gigantic insurance companies are struggling to keep business.

Economic Problems Will Affect Auto Insurance Companies

The insurance sector is not immune to economic turmoil. This year brought one of the worst hurricanes in recent memory when Hurricane Ike slammed into Texas. Insurance losses mounted for the major insurers. In addition, we’ve suffered through the most challenging market environment since the 1930s. Insurance companies are now looking forward to a dismal year in 2009.

Standard and Poors (S&P) rates financial services companies in the United States. They recently released their outlook for 2009. According to Insurance Journal,

“S&P notes in its report on North American insurers that in 2008 its outlook on several U.S. insurance sectors was revised to negative, meaning that over the next year to 18 months, more downgrades than upgrades are anticipated.”

These problems relate to the reserves held by insurance companies. Just like small businesses have cash in the bank for a rainy day, insurance companies exist for the rainy day. They must keep cash, bonds, and other securities on hand in case of claims. Most companies hold reserves in the stock market. As the market declined throughout the year, insurance companies’ reserves were depleted. This could pose some challenges for many insurers. Some could struggle – others could fail.

What Insurance Company Problems Mean To Consumers

These challenges are more pressing to those consumers who purchased annuities and other long-term insurance products. For instance, if an insurance company fails, the retiree who bought an annuity from them could lose everything. This is one risk many insurance agents don’t tell you about. According to Annuities for Dummies, 3rd Edition “If the company fails (a rare event, fortunately) and isn’t absorbed by another carrier, you can lose your money.” (p.137, 2008). That’s bad news for the person responsible for receiving benefits from the annuity, or annuitant.

However, I see a far less risk with a failed auto insurer. For one thing, you’re only out the money you paid in advance to the company. If you normally pay your premiums 6 months in advance, then the worst you could lose is 6 months of premium. Not painless, mind you, but still not as bad as losing $250,000 from a worthless annuity.

What To Do About Your Auto Policy

If you are concerned about the financial well-being of your car insurance company, then you should either switch to a monthly payment plan, or switch carriers. Don’t ignore the problem. At the end of 2008, we may not be through with the credit crisis. Keep an eye on the news to see if your carrier is having solvency issues.

Bear in mind: all of the bank failures in 2008 started out as rumors. We will see problems with more insurance companies in the coming months. The question is when and where they will arise. Thank you S&P for letting us know.

Any thoughts about troubled insurance companies?
Feel free to leave a comment.

Do Red Light Cameras Save Lives?

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Related Stuff Last Updated: 12/06/2008

How those traffic lights cameras are making drivers think – and keeping down their auto insurance premiums.

Can running a red light jack up your car insurance rates with a simple picture?

Can running a red light jack up your car insurance rates with a simple picture?

Red light cameras can be an annoying invention. For those of us who grew up driving without these mounted traffic cops at every intersection, it can be unnerving for a ticket to show up in the mail a month after you drove down a particular street. No, I’ve never been ticketed this way (at least not yet), but I have fought a red-light ticket and won. But that’s another story. Today, it’s all about red light cameras.

Red Light Cameras

A red light camera is a complex camera system triggered by a car running a red light. The camera does not take continuous pictures, but begins capturing images when a car crosses a “red lit” intersection (is that grammatically correct?). Some cameras even allow a split-second grace period after the light turns red, but I wouldn’t count on it if you’re aiming to beat the system. Red light cameras have been around since the 1960s, but did not become widespread until more recently.

Do Red Light Cameras Make Streets Safer?

Which driver hasn’t thought twice about running a red light because of these cameras? I know I have. Evidently, I’m not alone. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, red light cameras have reduced collisions by 30% in a sample of 12 cities. This means that more drivers stopped before dangerously rushing through intersections with a red light camera, than in those without a camera.

Whatever annoyances they may cause, I can’t argue with the numbers. Not only do the cameras seem to be reducing collisions, but they also may be reducing traffic related deaths. In 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported almost 900 people were killed in crashes related to running a red light. An estimated 144,000 were injured in the same sorts of accidents. If red light cameras reduce collisions, no doubt they are saving lives too.

Running Red Lights Can Affect Your Auto Insurance

If you get ticketed for running a red light after the camera caught you, your car insurance premiums could be affected. Insurance companies can count moving violations against you in the same way they count an at-fault collision against you.

Most of the time, it only affects drivers who are shopping for auto insurance. Companies pull driving records for shoppers and the prospective company usually finds red light violations. However, those tickets could also affect premiums with your current insurer. Sometimes auto insurers pull driving records at your renewal. If that’s the case, they could find a red light violation and rate you accordingly.

If you find yourself with a red light ticket, then take Defensive Driving to get it dismissed. If you can’t do that, then hope your insurance company doesn’t see it. You’re not obligated to report the violation to your company. Drive safer, keep a clean record, and that ticket will fall off the insurance company radar in 3 years.

But those cameras are not just about car insurance rates. Even if they seem annoying, they’re there for everyone’s safety. Who knows? They may have even saved your life.

Have you ever been ticketed for running a red light or by a red light camera? Leave a comment about your experience.

Insurance Calculators

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Related Stuff Last Updated: 11/20/2008

AmPm Insure

AmPm Insure

I’m a member of an insurance forum called AmPmInsure. The forum members are all very knowledgeable about the various aspects of insurance including car insurance. I even learn from the contributors. There’s a lot to know in this business.

One of managers at the forum asked if our readers might be able to use a few insurance calculators. Even though they don’t directly relate to auto insurance, I thought someone might find them helpful.

Here’s the list:

1) Life Insurance Calculator

2) Disability Insurance Calculator

3) Home Insurance Premium Savings Calculator

4) Sports Injury Calculator

5) Body Mass Index Calculator (for Health Insurance)

To see these calculators on their website, check out:
AmPm Insurance Calculators

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