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Allstate Insurance 2020 Review

Financial Health
Pricing
Customer Satisfaction
Discounts
Coverage Options
Average

Sep. 8, 2020

Verdict

Allstate is a behemoth property insurer that leads the industry in product offerings, discount options, and innovative features. However, if you’re shopping for a basic auto insurance policy for a cheap price, then Allstate is probably not your best option. Other big national carriers, like Progressive or Geico, tend to offer much lower car insurance premiums than Allstate.

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Overview

Since 1931, Allstate has been a nationwide household name. The auto carrier was founded by retailer Sears Roebuck and their car insurance policies were originally sold through the mail, not unlike other Sears products being sold through their famous catalog. Allstate remains headquartered in Illinois, the city of Northbrook to be specific. 

Nearly nine decades later, Allstate maintains a stronghold in the personal lines insurance market by selling products like auto, homeowners, renters, condo, motorcycle, life, boat, snowmobile, ATV, RV, and roadside assistance. The Insurance Information Institute (III) ranks Allstate as the country’s 5th largest property and casualty insurer based on direct premiums of $35,025,903 written last year. Allstate is credited with securing 5% of the total U.S. property and casualty insurance market. 

Instead of mail order auto insurance, Allstate relies on a captive agency system. This means that Allstate relies on agents who are contractually obligated to exclusively sell Allstate coverage. Throughout the country there are thousands of neighborhood Allstate agents available to write Allstate policies (only), answer questions, and assist as needed. 

Financial Health

As you would expect from a big, popular insurance brand, Allstate has deep financial resources and their positive financial ratings reflect that fact. Allstate (NYSE: ALL) earned high marks from all three of the most popular financial rating agencies: 

  • A.M. Best: A+ (Superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations)
  • Moody’s: A3 (Upper-medium grade, subject to low credit risk)
  • Standard & Poor’s (S&P): AA- (Capacity to pay debts is strong)

This year Allstate climbed ten spots on the Fortune 500 list. This makes the property insurer 72nd on Fortune’s infamous list of 500 U.S. businesses. Fortune determines each company’s ranking based on the amount of revenue reported for the previous year, as well as the company’s overall corporate goals. 

It’s worth noting that Allstate also owns 15 successful subsidiary insurance companies, including last month’s $4,000,000,000 acquisition of National General Holdings (NASDAQ: NGHC). National General also sells auto, property, and life insurance products through a network of 42,000 insurance agents. 

Pricing

There are reports that Allstate auto insurance rates average $377.75, but pricing obviously varies based on factors like driving history, credit score, coverage amounts, car specs, and other particulars. In an independent pricing analysis, Allstate auto premiums were found to be an average of 17% to 59% higher than other popular carriers, like Geico, Progressive, and State Farm. 

Although it’s worth noting that auto insurance generally does go up rather than down. That’s true of all insurance companies. The higher cost of auto repairs and medical care tends to be a big reason for premium increases. As you know, your car insurance policy is meant to absorb the costs associated with an accident. So, as insurance plans pay out more for auto claims then premiums, in turn, increase as well to meet the demand. 

In 2017 Allstate was reported to have bumped up premiums three times during an 18-month period. Some Allstate insureds living in Georgia at the time ended up receiving a bill for double their usual rate. There are hints in the industry that Allstate may increase premiums again in the future. Although it’s not unusual for auto premiums to go up (and never down) as we explained earlier. 

Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance in Your Area

Customer Satisfaction

Despite Allstate not being accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the company still earned an “A+” BBB rating. This is interesting considering 224 customers gave Allstate a 1.0/5.0-star rating. In addition, over the last three years insureds submitted 1,352 complaints against the auto carrier. This is a mix of different Allstate products, including auto coverage. Sixty-eight percent of all BBB consumer complaints were in the general category of “problems with products and service.” 

Keeping things in perspective, the BBB complaints only reflect approximately .0008% of the estimated 16,000,000 Allstate households currently protected by auto, home, and other insurance plans. When you look at it that way, you can understand why BBB might still be able to confidently give Allstate an excellent rating. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) published data showing that Allstate’s complaints are primarily related to their auto coverage. Over the last three years, Allstate auto policies prompted nearly 2,000 insured complaints. Among five different categories, insureds primarily expressed dissatisfaction with the carrier’s claim handling process. Of all the NAIC consumer issues: 96% (2017), 95% (2018), and 87% (2019) were specific to claims. 

Things to consider when reviewing the NAIC stats is a) insureds unhappy with how their claim was processed is not unique to Allstate, and b) it appears the number of complaints is slowly going down. You must also keep in mind that customers frequently take to the internet to write a review when they are angry and rarely do so when they are satisfied. 

During our research, we did find unique 2019 feedback from captive Allstate agents who had negative opinions about the carrier. Crain’s Chicago Business published a news report stating that Allstate agent’s expressed an overall satisfaction rate that was an average of 30% lower than the previous year’s survey. Of course, one could assume that survey coincided with Allstate announcing a 10% slash in agent commissions to help lower auto premiums while remaining profitable. 

Does this Crain’s story directly impact the insured’s experience? Will low agent opinion matter much to the public when it comes to finding the best auto coverage? Probably not. 

Claims Processing

Allstate’s famous tagline is “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” So, is Allstate there when you need them the most, after a loss? 

The 2019 J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction survey advised that Allstate had “About Average” auto insurance claims satisfaction. The J.D. Power rating is based on the following categories: First Loss of Notice, Service Interaction, Repair Process, Settlement, and Overall Customer Satisfaction. 

One perk for Allstate insureds is their “Claim Satisfaction Guarantee”. This is a promise from the insurer saying they will issue you a six-month premium credit if you’re unhappy with how your auto claim was handled. This claims guarantee comes free with all standard policies in many, but not all, states. Check with your Allstate agent to verify whether your auto plan will include this excellent claim policy. 

To file a new claim with Allstate, you can use your online MyAccount or their top-rated, free mobile app. You can also contact your Allstate agent for assistance filing a new claim. You can also track an existing claim through both those channels. It’s worth noting Allstate’s mobile app lets users upload claims photos of the damage or accident scene via their QuickFoto system. 

The auto insurer continues to remain committed to innovative ways of servicing their customers. For instance, Allstate offers claimants a “Fast Mobile e-payment”. If you opt for this feature, your claims payment will be deposited directly into your bank account the same day the payment is approved.

Discounts

Finally, if you’re shopping for Allstate car insurance, then be sure to check into these discounts: 

Bundling/multiple policyup to 25% off
Smart student35% off
55 and retired10% off
Passive restraints (seat belts)30% off
New car15% off
Anti-lock brakes10% off
Anti-theft devices10% off
Full Pay10% off
Safe drivingvariable
Paperless setup (eSmart)10% off
Green car10% off
Automatic premium withdrawal setup (EZ Pay Plan)5% off
Early signing (7 days before policy is effective date)10% off
Responsible Payor (No non-pay cancellation notices within last 12 months)5% off

In addition, Allstate has a few other unique ways to save on auto insurance premiums. It seems over time they continue to come up with new discount programs. 

  • Drivewise: Allstate grants insureds automatically get up to 3% off premiums when they enroll in the Drivewise program. In addition, Drivewise participants can earn an additional 15% off premiums every six months that they drive safely (e.g. no speeding, hard stops, etc.). It’s only a matter of downloading the Drivewise app onto your smartphone and syncing it to a plug-in within the vehicle. 
  • Deductible Rewards: Every year you go without any driving violations will earn you $100 off your collision deductible, up to a maximum of $500. 
  • Accident Forgiveness: Your insurance premiums will not increase because of one car accident, even if you were at fault. 
  • Safe Driving Bonus: Allstate will provide a check to insureds every six months if they go without an accident during that term. The check is 5% of the premium amount. 
  • TrueCar (Car Buying Service): The insurer advertises discounts when you use this service, which gives information about what other people have paid for the same type of vehicle, including fees and incentives. 
  • New Car Replacement: If you unfortunately total a car within the first two model years, you can receive a claim check to purchase a new car at the new car rate, rather than the depreciate value. 

Coverage Options

Allstate sells all the basic auto coverages you would expect. The giant insurer offers a full menu of other property products like homeowners, 

Of course, they are also known for some additional benefits that you may appreciate. 

  • Milewise: This is Allstate auto insurance that is based on your daily mileage. You pay a per-mile-rate for your premium. The less you drive, the less you pay. Milewise isn’t available in every state so check with your Allstate agent. 
  • Ride-for-Hire: This is optional, add-on auto coverage for drivers of ride-hailing companies, like Lyft and Uber. So, your Allstate rideshare insurance will kick in when you’re driving passengers around, with a limited amount of protection during fairs. Be sure to check with your Allstate agent to find out if Ride-for-Hire is sold in your area. 
  • Roadside assistance: Allstate sells three different emergency roadside assistance plans. You can select from a pay-per-use plan, an add-on to auto policy, or join the Allstate Motor Club which is a membership program like AAA. 

Every auto insured automatically receives access to the Preferred Repair Services feature (at no extra cost) which links the customer with Allstate’s Good Hands Network repair shops. Preferred Repair Services can be used for both collision repairs and mechanical breakdowns. 

Community Service and Awards

Allstate employees, including their neighborhood agents, are committed to giving back to the community through a variety of charities and programs. Since 2011, Allstate staff and agents have completed more than 1.5 million volunteer hours via the carrier’s Helping Hands program. 

In 1952, the Allstate Foundation was established to operate these programs: 

  • The Purple Purse: A campaign to promote financial independence for domestic violence victims. Allstate has worked closely with tennis champion, Serena Williams, to promote Allstate’s Purple Purse campaign. 
  • The Good Starts Young: An initiative to provide students with both in-school and after-school support. The most recent news report shows this Allstate program raised more than $10,000,000 so far. 

Allstate has also been recognized for several different awards and accolades like: 

  • Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity
  • Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index
  • Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality
  • Best Companies for Women (Working Mother Magazine)
  • Best Companies for Military Families (Military Friendly)
  • Most Ethical Companies in the World (Ethisphere Institute) for 5 years straight

Conclusion

Allstate has a long-standing reputation as being a reliable and financially sound insurer. Perhaps that’s why so many families rely on Allstate to insure several generations, from the grandparents all the way to the grand-kids. Allstate agents are experts at designing a comprehensive property coverage portfolio that spans cars, homes, and toys. Although their pricing is higher than other popular auto carriers, they have a solid financial standing and reputation that you might feel that justifies their cost.

Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance in Your Area