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Aug. 3, 2020
Esurance’s biggest selling points are their sleek automated format for quoting and their company’s financial strength. However, they score poorly under the important categories of pricing and service.
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Since 1999, Esurance has been a trendsetter in car insurance by harnessing the power of technology. The carrier was one of the first property companies to sell coverage online to make insurance shopping quick and painless. In 2011, Esurance was purchased by Allstate which gave the legendary personal property insurer access to the direct-to-consumer market. Twenty years later Esurance sells car, home, rental, and motorcycle coverage online directly to the public throughout 43 states.
Although Esurance may not always have the most affordable insurance policies, they do offer tech-savvy customers an amazing mobile app and online tools, easy quoting, and plenty of discounts. It’s generally worth checking out Esurance’s coverage options if you’re looking to make a change. Customer service reviews of Esurance are average at best with the exceptions of about ten states where their policyholders seem exceptionally satisfied.
Esurance has been recognized for its financial strength by the leading independent rating organization, A.M. Best. Esurance currently has the rating company’s coveted “A+ (Superior)” rating that’s only awarded to the most secure insurers. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Esurance reported more than $549 million in directly written annual premiums for 2019. The insurer further reported to NAIC that the carrier only has 6.12% in liabilities or debts. Basically, Esurance is following the same promising pattern as their parent company, Allstate, who maintains its own superior financial strength rating.
The bottom line is that Esurance customers can feel confident the carrier will remain solvent for many years and all approved claims will get paid.
Twenty years ago, Esurance had a very novel idea to offer online quoting, as well as to share rates from their competition so shoppers could do a thorough comparison. This was a refreshing approach that modern insureds appreciated. In fact, this approach was slick even though it allowed shoppers to see when Esurance’s car insurance was more costly than the competition.
We ran a few rates to find out how Esurance currently stacks up to its biggest competitors. Overall, the auto carrier’s premium quotes for various benefit levels came in dead last compared to the other insurers. Esurance served up pricing that was 39% higher for state minimum coverage than the other big-name insurers. For higher limit policies (e.g. 100k/250k/500k) Esurance had pricing that was 30% more than the other auto carriers. Of course, insurance quotes can vary widely depending on many different factors like driver’s age, zip code, driving record, and vehicle specs.
It seems the key to getting a reasonable Esurance premium may be in locking down as many of their discounts as possible. By doing so, you could potentially decrease your insurance premiums quite a bit. The carrier offers a long list of reductions (8 standard discounts and 5 unique discounts) that can be applied upfront. Read on for more details about Esurance’s various discount options.
Allstate’s little brother is known for an easy-to-use website and a cutting-edge mobile app. These contemporary tools are really intended for people that like to manage their own policies, from quoting to claims. This approach to auto insurance may be the reason Esurance is mostly known for average customer service. Since the insurer is mostly automated and doesn’t have to put in as much effort into customer service as more traditional carriers do.
Overall Esurance has earned an “A-” rating from Better Business Bureau (BBB) even though they are not a BBB accredited company. There have been 295 consumer complaints over the last 3 years. Policyholders gave Esurance an average of 2.0/5.0 stars. We took a deeper dive into the data which revealed 66% of all insured complaints to BBB were under the generic category of “problem with product/service.” Most of the complaints in this classification were about dissatisfaction with how an auto claim was handled which is not uncommon among all auto insurers.
NAIC provides an abundance of Esurance customer complaint data. Reviewing the NAIC stats shows us that 20 of the carrier’s 43 licensed states report at least one consumer complaint. Of those states, nearly half (40%) appear incredibly pleased with their Esurance auto policies since last year there’s only one or two reported consumer complaints for the entire state. Those states are CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NM, NY, ND, OR PA. The states of WA, CO, and TX had the most consumer complaints against Esurance last year. Those three states equated to a total of 29% of all 2019 NAIC consumer complaints about Esurance private passenger auto insurance. So, this leads us to believe your experience with Esurance may be influenced by your location.
J.D. Power & Associates backs-up the NAIC data about how much California insureds appreciate Esurance. Last year the organization awarded Esurance the “Highest Customer Satisfaction Among Auto Insurers in California.” The J.D. Power study ranked Esurance as the number one auto carrier out of 17 car insurers in California, receiving 847 out of 1,000 points. In Florida, Esurance also came up with a 5.0/5.0 rating and ranked second only to Allstate, its parent company.
Policyholders may file a new claim, day or night, through their mobile app or by talking with an Esurance representative via 1-800-378-7262. Beyond the standard claims approach, Esurance offers customers photo claims as well. This is simply an even faster, easier way to open a new claim by snapping a few pictures of the damage and uploading it through their mobile app. The auto insurer’s marketing content hints at being paid as quickly as one day when using the photo claim option.
The insurance company also has a network of more than 1,400 approved repair shops across the United States. You also have the option of taking your smashed vehicle to an auto body shop of your own liking. Should you decide to take your vehicle to an Esurance E-Star Repair Facility, then expect to receive guaranteed repairs for as long as you own the car. You can rely on “RepairView” to check on your car while it’s being put back together. This feature provides you a status on the repair, including a daily photo.
Last year J.D. Power also completed an auto claims satisfaction study that included Esurance. Unfortunately, the carrier was rated as 21 out of 24 auto insurers included in the J.D. Power claims review. NAIC data supports J.D. Power’s assessment of Esurance since they report 60% of all 2019 consumer complaints were claims related.
Esurance gives the public what we’ve all come to expect as far as these 8 standard discounts:
- Anti-theft devices
- Safety devices (e.g. automatic seatbelts and airbags)
- Anti-lock brakes
- Paid-in-full premium
- Emergency roadside assistance
The auto carrier also amps up the discounts with the following unique premium reduction options:
Fast 5 Discount: This is a one-time-only 5% discount for new customers that complete an online quote.
Education Discount: If you’re an Esurance policyholder living in AZ, CO, OR, or UT, you can receive an education discount up to 15% in savings. The Esurance education discount is meant for anyone who attained a specific level of education.
Pac-12 Discount: Current students and alumni of Pac-12 schools that are living in AZ, CO, OR, UT can receive up to 15% in savings.
Switch & Save Discount: Switch from another auto carrier to Esurance to receive as much as 5% off your policy premium until your second renewal.
DriveSense Discount: This discount gets you an automatic 10% savings on your auto premium if you enroll in the DriveSense program. The DriveSense mobile app keeps track of your driving habits. If the analytics show you to be a safe driver then you could get an additional discount on top of the original 10 percent. Esurance does have a stipulation on this discount which requires you to use the app at least 50 times during your six-month policy term.
Esurance offers policyholders all the typical coverage options you could want, as well as other add-on benefits you can purchase like emergency roadside assistance, rental coverage, loan/lease coverage, and gap coverage.
Here are two more popular auto products that Esurance sells:
Pay Per Mile: This is a new insurance product that was unveiled for Oregon customers only, at this point. For drivers that average 10,000 or less miles annually would be eligible for a lot of lower premiums under the Pay Per Mile plan.
ShareSmart: Esurance customers that drive rideshare for Lyft or Uber in CA, IL, and NJ can buy this policy. ShareSmart will offer protection if your personal car insurance isn’t covering you while you have a fare. The auto carrier does have plans to expand this product offering to all states eventually.
Esurance has been selling a modern auto insurance platform from their San Francisco, CA headquarters since 1999. Although the company doesn’t have agents, they do rely on a team of 3,000 associates and 17 regional offices spread out all throughout the country. Most Esurance policyholders will not even notice the lack of people power since they’ll quote and manage their car insurance policy independently through the company’s stellar mobile app. That’s the beauty of Esurance, not competitive pricing or impressive service. The freedom to design their own flexible auto plan quickly and easily is what most Esurance policyholders appreciate the most.