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The Public Employees Mutual Insurance Company, or PEMCO, is based in Seattle, Washington.
PEMCO sells home insurance, car insurance and other specialty products. Policies are available for purchase only from agents located across the Oregon and Washington. So if you are not from one of these two states, PEMCO is not an option for you.
The company began in 1950, selling liability insurance in conjunction with PEMIC, another casualty insurance company. In 1977 PEMCO and PEMIC merged to become one property and casualty insurance company.
PEMCO relies heavily on their marketing, which tries to emphasize how well they understand people living in the Pacific Northwest. Their motto says it all: “We’re like you. A little different.” But are they? Let’s dig into PEMCO’s offerings and track record to see just how different they are from competitors.
PEMCO hasn’t been graded by most of the insurance and economic rating organizations. AM Best gives PEMCO a B++ rating with an only stable financial outlook. The bottom line is, because their financial health has not been graded by the most common rating organizations and the one that has graded it gave it a lackluster rating, we are inclined to give their financial health a low rating.
PEMCO has a targeted market that’s only, as previously mentioned, in two states located in the Northwest. Therefore, offering a comparison to nationwide companies isn’t easy.
Online quoting is available from PEMCO. However, it does require that you enter your social security number, which not everyone is comfortable with. Because they are a preferred-risk insurer, they prefer to insure people with clean records. That means their rates are not competitive for drivers with infractions. Instead, the good rates only go to low risk homeowners and drivers.
Also, because PEMCO uses an agent dependent model to sell insurance, rates tend to be higher overall. This is because an agent must be always provided a commission for setting up a policy.
So, whether or not you are a low risk customer, you might still have some trouble finding good rates with PEMCO.
On the other hand, PEMCO has received a JD Power and Associates award for customer service. This is the highest ranking for customer service for car insurance companies. So, that means that PEMCO customers are pretty happy.
For this award, 45,521 people were surveyed on insurance companies in the Pacific Northwest. They were determined to be recipients of one of the top awards. That says a lot about their reputation among customers.
However, PEMCO is NOT accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is a good way for customers to research insurance companies. BBB also resolves customer complaints. Despite not being accredited with the BBB, PEMCO has earned an A+ rating with five customer reviews (3.94 out of 5 stars).
That’s not exactly a large amount of customer of feedback, but it does seem to support JD Power’s high ranking.
PEMCO Insurance Discounts
Here’s a list of some of PEMCO’s insurance discounts:
Home Insurance Discounts
- No Claims: Save money with PEMCO if you haven’t had a claim in three years.
- Educator Discount: If you are a teacher or just work in a public or private school, you may qualify for this discount. You can keep the discount if you retire.
- Home & Auto Discounts: If you insure your car with PEMCO, you can receive a discount for getting home insurance with them too.
- Device Protection: You can save on your home insurance when you use theft alarms, self or centrally-monitored systems or an automatic shutoff feature.
- Sprinkler Discount: If you have a sprinkler system in your home, PEMCO offers savings.
- Fire Resistant Construction: If your home is built with fire-resistant materials, you can save money
- New Home Discount: Save on insurance for your home if it’s less than 15 years old.
- UW Alumni Discount: Are you a University of Washington grad? If you currently live in Washington or Oregon, you may qualify for this discount.
Car Insurance Discounts
- Safety/Security Discount: Car alarms and airbags save policyholders money at PEMCO.
- Good Student Discounts: Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher save money.
- Distant Drivers: If you’re a student away at school more than 75 miles away and don’t have a car, you are eligible for discounts.
- Accident Forgiveness: If you have been a safe driver for over five years, your rate won’t increase following your first accident. Each driver on a policy is eligible.
- Minor Offense Forgiveness: No ticket in five years’ time? You will receive no increase in your rates with your first minor ticket.
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The following are some of PEMCO’s home and car insurance coverages.
PEMCO Home Insurance Coverages
- Dwelling Coverage: This pays for repairs or to rebuild your home if it is damaged by fire, smoke, vandalism, storms, burglary or water damage from burst pipes. PEMCO dwelling insurance also covers sewer backups up to $5,000. Like most policies, they do not cover earthquakes, floods, and normal wear and tear.
- Personal Property: This protects your home (including furniture, appliances, and clothing). It even covers items you take when you travel.
- Replacement Cost: If your items are stolen or at risk for breaking, this is the insurance you want. PEMCO will cover the cost to replace your belongings at their current worth.
- Other Structures: Coverage pays to rebuild structures other than your home on your property such as a garage, playhouse or shed.
PEMCO Car Insurance Coverages
- Collision Coverage: If your car is damaged from a crash or rollover, this coverage will handle costs. The bank that holds your loan usually requires this coverage.
- Comprehensive Coverage: This covers things that are not covered by Collision. This may included theft, fire or vandalism.
- Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist & Property Damage: PEMCO covers you if you are involved in a crash with someone who is underinsured or has no insurance.
- Towing and Labor: Covers when your car needs to be towed to a shop.
- Rental Reimbursement: This reimburses you if you need a rental car after an accident.
- Auto Loan: Coverage pays off your car loan if the car is totaled and less than three years old.
- Replacing/Recoding Keys: Covers up to $500 of the cost of replacing or recoding undamaged lock and key components.
- Camper, Canopy or Tonneau Coverage: Pays up to $500 for this equipment. You can purchase more coverage if you wish.
- Custom Parts Coverage: Pays up to $500 for customized parts. Again, you may purchase more coverage
- Renters: PEMCO takes care of the loss of personal property when renting.
- Condo: This covers you if you have to replace internal amenities such as plumbing or flooring. It may also cover your personal property.
- Umbrella: This is extra coverage on existing auto, home or boat insurance.
- Boat: Covers replacement of personal belongings or to cover boat damage or emergency service.
PEMCO’s reach is very narrow being that they only insure in Oregon and Washington.
To get a quote from PEMCO, you must submit your social security number in order to get a credit report that tells them if you qualify for their insurance. Not everyone will be comfortable doing this.
The most benefit for prospective PEMCO customers will go to those living in Washington or Oregon that have a pristine record. Otherwise, it’s best to consider other insurance options.
The bottom line: another, national company will probably offer you better rates, especially if you have a ticket or history of accidents.