Allstate offers solid protection and safe driving bonuses that are hard to find elsewhere, but high premiums and frequent rate hikes continue to drive customers away.
Allstate offers all the regular auto insurance policy options, as well as some extra coverages, like sound system, and towing and labor coverage. It rewards safe drivers handsomely with its Safe Driving Bonus Check, vanishing deductible, and Allstate Rewards program. It also has a unique claims satisfaction guarantee that gives you a credit on your policy if you’re dissatisfied with the way it handled your claim.
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All of this seems to live up to Allstate’s “good hands” promise, but what the company doesn’t promote is how much those good hands cost. Allstate’s premium rates are above average, and they routinely increase their rates. That’s going to be a serious problem if your budget is tight or if you’re already viewed as a high-risk driver. In either case, you may want to check out a company known for offering lower rates, like Progressive or Geico.
|Price||Varies by location, vehicle and other factors|
|Best For||People who want rewards for their safe driving|
|Not For||Price-conscious shoppers|
Defensive driving course
Pay in full
Sign documents online
|In Business Since||1931|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||A+|
|A.M. Best Rating||A+|
|Standout Features||Huge selection of discounts
Claim satisfaction guarantee
Safe Driving Bonus Check
Sound system coverage
Allstate markets itself as a protector, selling safeguards against life’s uncertainties. You get solid coverage, efficient claims handling, and a low price, all backed by the good hands of the nation’s third-largest insurer.
Is it True?
Sort of. Allstate offers all the basic types of auto insurance coverage, as well as extras like towing and sound system protection. If you feel a basic auto insurance policy doesn’t provide adequate coverage, you can also add an umbrella policy to raise your limits. Good drivers are eligible for accident forgiveness and the Allstate Rewards program, which gives you points for safe driving that you can then spend on merchandise and gift cards.
Allstate’s protection comes at a price, however, and a steep one at that. Despite its unmatched selection of discounts, Allstate routinely offers some of the most expensive auto insurance rates in the industry. I got quotes myself and found that Allstate’s price cost over $150 more than my cheapest option, Progressive. This doesn’t mean they will be equally pricey for you, but you’ll have to get a quote to find out, since everyone’s premiums are calculated differently by each insurance provider.
|Annual Premium Cost|
(State minimum coverage)
|Annual Premium Cost
Auto insurance premiums are currently rising at their fastest rate in years, and Allstate seems to be leading the charge. It raised Illinois insurance premiums three times in 18 months with plans for more increases in the future, and a recent rate hike in Georgia could end up doubling what residents currently pay.
These skyrocketing prices are a big factor in Allstate’s poor customer satisfaction ratings. In the 2017 J.D. Power survey, Allstate generally scored below the regional average. Customers also reported dissatisfaction with the company’s claims service, despite Allstate’s claim satisfaction guarantee. If any of this is a concern for you, you may want to choose another company like Geico or State Farm.
Our Deep Dive
- Financially strong: Allstate has received excellent long-term stability ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s and S&P. These agencies assess insurers’ financial strength to determine the likelihood that they will be able to pay out claims when the time comes. Allstate is well-established in the industry and is likely to be a major player for years to come, so you don’t have to worry about your safety net vanishing down the road.
- Claim satisfaction guarantee: Allstate offers a unique claim satisfaction guarantee that gives you a refund if you’re not happy with the way your claim was settled. Send a letter to Allstate within 180 days of the accident and it will give you up to a six-month credit on your premium for the vehicle that was involved in the accident.
- Safe Driving Bonus Check: Every policy period you don’t have an accident, Allstate will send you a Safe Driving Bonus Check for up to 5% of your annual premium in the mail.
- Unbeatable selection of discounts: Allstate offers the most auto insurance discounts in the industry. Safe driving, bundling home and auto, and signing documents online are just a few ways to save. The company also offers some uncommon savings, like passive restraint and senior adult discounts. Depending on how many discounts you qualify for, you may be able to take the edge off those high premiums.
- Vanishing deductible: Allstate takes $100 off your deductible every year you go without an accident, up to a maximum of $500 off.
- Coverage for ridesharing services: Allstate offers auto insurance to Uber and Lyft drivers to insure them in the event of an accident that takes place while they are working for the ridesharing service.
- Accident forgiveness: Allstate’s accident forgiveness is an optional coverage that protects you against rate increases following your first at-fault accident. Most companies don’t offer accident forgiveness until you have several years of accident-free driving under your belt, but with Allstate, it goes into effect the day you sign up.
- Sound system coverage: If your stereo is damaged or stolen, Allstate’s optional sound system coverage will give you the funds you need to replace it.
- Get credit for safe driving: Allstate’s Drivewise program monitors your driving for signs of risky behavior. Depending on how you do, you may be eligible for additional savings.
- Add extra protection: If you don’t feel that your traditional auto insurance policy provides enough coverage, you can add an umbrella policy. This kicks in as soon as you reach your auto insurance policy’s limit and will cover any additional costs up to your umbrella policy’s limit.
- Help if you get stuck: Allstate’s optional towing and labor coverage pays for any towing expenses you incur if your car breaks down and needs to be taken to a repair shop. And if it’s going to be there for a while, rental car reimbursement can help pay for the cost of renting a car until it’s fixed.
- Allstate Rewards program: If you sign up for Allstate’s Drivewise program, you’re also eligible to earn rewards. This system gives you points for your safe driving, which you can later redeem for merchandise or gift cards on Allstate’s website.
- Excellent mobile tools: Allstate’s mobile apps for Android and iOS devices are some of the best in the industry. They enable you to pay your bill online, file and track claims, and view policy documents. You can also contact your agent or roadside assistance with a single click. It’ll also keep you updated on any vehicle recalls. It can also help you locate gas stations or your parked vehicle through your GPS.
Auto insurers weigh a variety of factors when calculating premiums, including your age, driving record, vehicle, address and credit history. Every company has a unique algorithm that weighs these factors slightly differently, which is why you end up with slightly different rates from one company to the next. So the only way to know how much auto insurance is going to cost you is to get quotes and compare them.
Don’t make your decision based on price alone, though. It can seem tempting, but you may regret it when you go to file a claim. Make sure the company you choose is well-established and has strong customer satisfaction ratings. This will significantly reduce the headache of filing a claim and will help you get back on the road more quickly
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
Every state requires its drivers to carry some auto insurance, though exact requirements vary by state. Driving without insurance will earn you some hefty fines, so it’s not advisable. Instead, try some of these other money-saving techniques:
- Choose a safe vehicle. Make sure it has high safety ratings and isn’t a model commonly targeted by car thieves.
- Tell your insurer about life changes. Insurers tend to offer lower premiums to married people and college graduates, so let them know when these things happen.
- Spend less time on the road. Driving less lowers your chance of getting into an accident, which decreases your risk to insurers.
- Improve your credit: Your credit history is used to assess your overall responsibility, so a higher credit score translates into a lower insurance premium.
- Take a defensive driving course. Several insurers, including Allstate, will give you a discount if you’ve completed an approved defensive driving course within the last three years.
- Go with a higher deductible. You’ll end up paying more out of pocket when you file a claim, but it’ll reduce your premiums significantly.
Progressive: Progressive is a good option if you’re on a budget. Its customer satisfaction ratings aren’t spectacular, but its rates are among the lowest in the industry. Its Name Your Price tool enables you to build a policy around your budget and its many optional coverages let you purchase extra protection for pets and custom equipment. Progressive is also one of the few insurers to offer gap coverage, which pays the difference between the actual value of your car and the amount remaining on your loan if your vehicle is totaled.
Geico: Geico is another top choice for those interested in a low rate. Its discounts are almost as impressive as Allstate’s, which could help lower your premiums even further. Geico received mixed reviews in terms of customer service, according to the J.D. Power survey, but outscored Allstate and Progressive in several regions. Geico is also the only company on this list to offer the rare mechanical breakdown coverage, which pays for repairs that aren’t included in your collision or comprehensive coverage.
State Farm: State Farm’s rates are typically lower than Allstate’s and its customer service is the best of any company on this list. It doesn’t offer much in the way of optional coverages and its discounts aren’t as impressive as Geico’s or Allstate’s, but if you’re looking for a straightforward policy and superior customer service, State Farm is an excellent choice.
What Others Are Saying
- Claims Journal discussed Allstate’s new rate increases in Georgia. The rates went into effect in May of 2016 and could raise premiums between 25% and 58%. The insurance commissioner plans to review the filing and promises residents that “If the filing is proven to be excessive, then I will do everything allowed by law to reverse Allstate’s actions.”
- The Chicago Tribune reported that Allstate plans to “continue to aggressively pursue rate increases” despite the fact that the constant rate hikes are making it difficult for the company to attract and keep customers.
- The Chicago Tribune also picked up a story about Allstate’s plans to mine even more personal data about their customers. It recently filed a new patent for an invention that could monitor drivers’ heart rates and blood pressure through steering wheel sensors. This is an advancement of the growing telematics programs that insurance companies are using to monitor and record their customers’ driving habits. Allstate can also sell this data to other companies: “The recorded data may also provide an objective behavioral data collection system for third parties, e.g., health insurance companies, lending institutions, credit-rating companies, product and service marketing companies, potential employers, to evaluate an individual’s behavioral characteristics in a real-life and commonly experienced situation, i.e., driving a motor vehicle.”
The Bottom Line
Allstate offers solid coverage and some nice bonuses to good drivers, but its prices are typically much higher than its competitors and likely to get worse in the coming years. If this concerns you, go with a company that is known for low rates, like Geico or Progressive.
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