Allstate Car Insurance Review

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Allstate is the second-largest car insurance company in the United States, serving 18 percent of all auto insurance customers and offers a wide variety of insurance products, including homeowners, automobile, personal liability, business and umbrella policies.

Allstate History

Allstate began as a division of the Sears and Roebuck Corporation in 1931. Named after the Allstate Tire Line which had been highly successful, Allstate was sold through Sears catalogs and direct mailings nationwide, tapping a huge ready-made market in Sears catalog customers.

Allstate continued to grow, adding homeowners, fire, and life insurance lines, and in 1995, the company broke away from its long-time parent company of Sears to become completely independent.

Today, the company is a publicly-traded corporation on the New York Stock Exchange with S&P 500 standing. The ownership of the company by stockholders is argued by some as being a detriment to an insurance business, since stockholders are more interested in profits than coverage for members. By contrast, a mutual insurance company is owned by the policyholders; prevailing logic holds that a mutual company will make decisions which are more beneficial to the customers. However, Allstate has continued to grow and manage its assets to become the second-biggest automobile insurer in the nation, so the corporate management seems to be doing some things right. Allstate currently employs 35,000 people nationwide, and is headquartered in Northfield Township, Illinois.

Allstate Car Insurance Coverage

Allstate offers a wide range of insurance products for automobile customers, including bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage and a variety of additional products like roadside assistance and gap coverage. Allstate also offers coverage for boats, RVs, motorcycles, mobile homes, off-road vehicles, marine craft and a motor club.

Allstate’s motto, “The Good Hands People,” is meant to convey the idea that the company supports its customers with protection in any circumstances. However, recent criticism has alleged that Allstate actually takes a “boxing glove” approach to customer claims. Critics aver that Allstate routinely denies legitimate claims in an effort to make and keep assets and avoid paying out money. However, this criticism comes primarily from personal injury lawyers who, as one might expect, are not usually happy with any insurance companies.

Allstate Customer Satisfaction

The customer satisfaction level with Allstate tells a slightly different story. In J. D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Customer Satisfaction Survey, a perennial industry ranking system, Allstate scored “average” in every category except “pricing,” where the company scored “below average.” Overall, Allstate ranked number 14 in the survey, slightly behind Progressive and well below State Farm and Geico, the only companies of comparable size in the top 20 slots of the survey. It would seem that Allstate’s customers are, on average, pleased with the company’s service.

How do I buy Allstate Car Insurance?

Allstate is sold through a variety of independent insurance agencies. However, Allstate has been moving into the “technology-based” market as well, and in a way returning to its direct-marketing roots. Allstate’s website is loaded with information accessible to all visitors, and supports a variety of customer activities, including online bill payment and account management.

For example, Allstate’s website features a program called “Bumper-to-Bumper” which immediately assesses your insurance needs and insures that you have the right coverage. You do not have to put in any personal information to utilize this program; you simply answer questions about the type of car you have and other pertinent facts, and Allstate generates a list of possible insurance options and coverage levels for you.

Another good Allstate website tool is a series of helpful short videos which answer a variety of insurance questions, such as bodily injury, uninsured motorists, and combining insurance coverage. These short, friendly videos give you simple, easy-to-understand answers to some rather complex insurance questions and issues.

Allstate Car Insurance Plans

Allstate offers four levels of “value plans” designed to be flexible enough to meet a wide variety of car insurance customer needs. The Value Package offers full discounts and an “easy pay” plan which lets you structure your payments to meet your budget. The Standard Policy includes all discounts, payment options, and accident forgiveness. The Gold Package includes all Standard Policy items, plus deductible rewards and new car replacement, and the Platinum Package includes all of this plus the safe driving bonus.

Allstate also offers some nice add-ons to your basic insurance policy, such as “accident forgiveness,” safe-driving bonus, new car replacement, and deductible rewards. Accident forgiveness means that your premiums will not increase if your first accident does not cost more than a certain amount. Safe-driving bonuses are assessed every six months you remain claim- and ticket-free. New car replacement, a form of gap coverage, insures that your new vehicle will be replaced if it is wrecked, not simply “totaled” and assessed at book value. Deductible rewards is similar to a “vanishing deductible” plan, whereby your deductible decreases by $100 every year you do not have an accident.

Allstate Car Insurance Discounts

Allstate customers benefit from a variety of discounts to help save money on premiums. If you take a state-approved defensive driving course, you can save money on your insurance costs. You can also save if you are under 25 and a good student. These two discounts help younger people find affordable coverage for their vehicles. Similarly, senior citizens can find an “over 55” discount which makes coverage more manageable. If you buy a new car, you may also qualify for a “new car” discount. Safety devices such as anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices also give you discounts on your car insurance.

Allstate offers coverage in every state and there are independent agents in most cities. However, anyone can apply for coverage on Allstate’s website, and their user-friendly online platform makes it easy to get a quote or manage coverage options. Of course, you can also talk to an Allstate agent by phone at any time of the day or night, as well. In all, Allstate has the size, strength, and stability to serve a wide variety of insurance needs; you can find out if Allstate is the company for you by getting a rate quote for your car insurance coverage.

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