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Allstate Review

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Our Reviews Last Updated: 05/19/2009

Does Allstate have ‘Good Hands’, boxing gloves, or is it just another car insurance company?

Allstate Logo

Allstate Logo

For Allstate car insurance, it was hard to get a more authoritative spokesperson than a former President. When that President isn’t mired in politics – like a real President – even better.

So when Allstate hired Dennis Haysbert, the actor who played President Palmer in Fox’s television series, 24, they scored big. With a deep, soothing voice, Haysbert plays the part well. But Haysbert isn’t the only person offering advice about Allstate.

If you’re looking for something bad about a company, it doesn’t take long to find it. The bigger the company, the bigger the target. So when the 2nd largest insurance company in the country has problems, it’s pretty easy to find something bad about it. In fact, one guy has been upset with Allstate since 1999: Allstate Insurance Sucks.

So this begs an important question: Do Allstate’s ‘good hands’ commercials match policyholder experience?

About the Company: Allstate

Allstate Corporation (ALL) is the largest publically traded insurance company in the United States. It is an umbrella company with several insurance and financial services companies. They sell 13 major lines including auto, home, boat, life, and business insurance. In recent years, they branched into investment and banking products – but this is not a major portion of their business.

Allstate sells car insurance through a network of Allstate agents. According to their website, they have approximately 14,900 agents who sell exclusively with Allstate. They also sell other brands (Encompass & Deerbrook) through thousands of independent agents. They employ over 70,000 people – Allstate is a big company.

Allstate is a financially strong company. They have an ‘A+’ or ‘Superior’ rating with AM Best, the 2nd highest rating they offer. Other rating companies put Allstate in a similar category. To those who look at these things, Allstate will be in business for quite awhile.

Getting an Allstate Quote

As usual, I jumped online to get an Allstate car insurance quote. The graphics were pleasant, but they could have used more user-testing on the site. For one, there were too many screens. At some places, I answered 2-3 questions then clicked next. Maybe it’s a personal problem, but I don’t like having to click more than necessary.

When I finally got to the end, they gave me different packages: Value, Standard, Gold, Platinum. Being a former insurance agent, I’m not impressed with labels. To me, it seems like they’re hiding something when they don’t want to ask me for my exact coverages – on the other hand, they’re trying to make it easier for consumers. I can’t fault them for that.

Allstate Positive: Longevity

Allstate has been selling car insurance since 1931. Any company that has been around that long deserves some admiration. Begun at the height of the Great Depression by an equally-respected company, Sears, Roebuck, and Company, Allstate has stood the test of time. They are here, and will probably be here for many years to come. That’s a great thing for an insurance company.

Allstate Negative: Price & Reputation

After getting a quote online, I usually give the company a phone call. But after looking at their price – which was already higher than my current rates – I decided not to call. My current rates are high as it is. Why should I start another car insurance policy that’s even higher?

In addition, I’m not satisfied with Allstate’s reputation. Various ‘Allsnake’ and boxing gloves experiences have contributed to the reputation. To be fair, Allstate has made strides at improving their complaints. For instance, in Texas, they only had 186 justified auto complaints in 2007. This may seem like a lot, but the ratio of complaints to policies was just above average. We’ll see if they continue to improve.

Will I Switch to Allstate?

This is a personal review and every person’s experience is different. If you get a car insurance quote with Allstate, you may get a better rate than what you’re currently paying. But considering the rate they gave me – which is the major reason for me to switch – I won’t be buying Allstate auto insurance.

Get a better price and work on your public relations and you may get my business, Allstate. Until then, I’ll see you in 12 months.

Quote Process: 4
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Price: 2
(Scale 1-10: 10=Cheapest)

Customer Service: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Claims: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Overall Rating: 3
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Get an Allstate Car Insurance Quote Here!

Progressive Review

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Our Reviews Last Updated: 11/05/2009

Does an outstanding car insurance quote experience equal a great company for the next six months?

Question: Was getting a Progressive car insurance quote that easy?

Answer: Absolutely.

After grabbing some quotes from a few different insurance companies, I jumped on Progressive’s website. Five minutes later, I had a quote staring me in the face. It was the quickest and simplest quote experience I’ve ever had. Their website interface was the best I’ve seen – period.

I’m not alone in my assessment. In 2007, won the Webby People’s Choice Award for the best insurance website. From what I’ve seen, they deserved it.

Still, a quote is just the first step. Committing hard-earned dollars to Progressive so they can insure my cars for the next 6 months – that’ another story entirely. They may have a solid ‘first interaction’, but it’s worth it to check out other variables before buying a policy.

About the Company

Progressive Corporation (PGR) sells insurance for cars, motorcycles, boats, and RVs. In 2008, they were #175 on the Fortune’s 500 with over $14 billion annual revenue. Progressive is located in Mayfield Village, Ohio. They recently became the official car insurance company of the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise.

Progressive sells to consumers in two ways. For one, they market directly to consumers via the internet and their toll-free number. Second, they sell through independent agents. You may have noticed Progressive’s white SUVs driving the highways. Their Immediate Response Vehicles (IRVs) are supposed to come to policyholders if they ever have an auto claim. It’s a nice touch for a company without an army of Progressive-only agents.

Progressive is a financially strong company. According to independent rating agency AM Best, Progressive carries an ‘A+’ or ‘Superior’ rating.  They are a stable company and should be around for years to come.

Getting a Progressive Quote

Even though I was impressed with their website, I still wanted to call Progressive on the phone. As usual, I recommend doing what I did. First off, I grabbed an online quote with the same coverages as my current policy. It was a good price. Next, I called them up to see if they would say anything different.

When I called, I got right through to Francis in Austin, Texas. According to Francis, Progressive also has call centers in Sacramento, California, Cleveland, Ohio, and Tampa, Florida. He confirmed what they advertise online: 24/7 sales, service and claims support. If I had an accident in the middle of the night, I may not get someone in Austin, but I would talk to someone from Progressive in short order.

As for their claims service, I’ve never carried Progressive Insurance, so I can’t speak from personal experience. However, I surveyed a few big departments of insurance around the country. Progressive seems to have an average complaint ratio. They even track claim progress online – an impressive feature. Chances are good my claim would be handled fairly with Progressive.

Progressive Positives: Easy & Affordable

Progressive offers a virtually-frictionless car insurance transaction at their website. If you’re comfortable giving out your credit card online, then you got yourself a policy in a matter of minutes.

In my case, they were also very affordable. Compared to my current State Farm policy, I stand to save over $500 a year if I switch to Progressive – not chump change by any stretch. However, they tack on an additional $70 every period if I pay monthly. I didn’t like that part.

Progressive Negative: Car Insurance As A Commodity

As nice as Francis was on the phone, he did not go over my coverages with me on the phone. I’ve sold policies before, so I don’t need him to review everything. But Francis didn’t know that. I expect any insurance agent to get a little financial info from prospects to know what coverages to recommend. That’s their job, and Progressive failed that test.

To me, Progressive gets so many things right, but they fail on a basic level. They are an insurance company. If they don’t know what I have, how do they know $50,000 in liability coverage is enough? The fact is they don’t. If they took a few more minutes and asked some questions about my financial situation, they would be able to advise me accordingly.

What’s the Verdict: Will I Switch to Progressive?

I’m still in the process of shopping for car insurance, so I haven’t bought a policy yet. However, Progressive is near the top of the heap. Their easy, affordable, and simple interface calmed my fears about their ability to process a claim. I would have appreciated a little more hand-holding during my phone call, but that’s what Progressive does: lots of easy policies. That may work for you.

Right now, I’m still researching.

Quote Process: 10
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Price: 8
(Scale 1-10: 10=Cheapest)

Customer Service: 7
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Claims: *
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Overall Rating: 8
(Scale 1-10: 10=the best)

Anything to add? Leave a comment about your experience with Progressive or write your own review.

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