Esurance makes it easy to build a custom auto insurance policy and manage it on the go, but that flexibility comes at a high price.
Esurance, owned by Allstate, was one of the first insurers to start selling direct to consumers online. Innovative technology has been a key part of its business ever since. It offers a streamlined quote process and some of the best mobile apps in the business. Choose from several optional add-ons, like custom equipment and gap coverage, to help you design a policy that’s exactly what you need. And its new Pay Per Mile service is a huge plus to those who don’t spend much time on the road.
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Despite what its commercials would have you believe, however, Esurance’s premiums can be pricey. Like Allstate, it offers a huge number of discounts, but they seem to have little effect on how much you’ll pay in the end. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to go with a lower priced insurance company, like Geico or Progressive instead. However, it’s still worth getting a quote from Esurance to see what it can offer you.
|Price||Varies by location, vehicle and other factors|
|Best For||People interested in a flexible insurance policy|
|Not For||People on a budget|
Defensive driving course
Online quote (Fast 5® Discount)
|Years in Business||20|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||A+|
|A.M. Best Rating||A+ (Allstate)|
|Moody’s Rating||Aa3 (Allstate)|
|S&P Rating||AA- (Allstate)|
|Standout Features||Gap coverage
Custom equipment coverage
Pay Per Mile insurance (OR only)
Excellent mobile tools
Esurance supplies “insurance for the modern world.” That means innovative online and mobile tools to keep up with your busy lifestyle, and a streamlined claims process to get you back on the road fast. And of course, you’re still getting great coverage and a reasonable rate.
Is it True?
Sort of. Esurance has the tools you need to manage your policy quickly and easily from anywhere with an internet connection. Its quote tool is straightforward and clear about how much each type of coverage costs, which makes it easier to select the level of coverage you need. Esurance’s mobile apps are some of the best in the industry, offering innovative technology like its video claim appraisal that you won’t find with other companies.
In terms of coverage, Esurance covers all the basics and also offers extras, like custom equipment and gap coverage, that aren’t available with most insurers. It’s also rolling out a new Pay Per Mile coverage, tailored to those who drive less than 10,000 miles per year. It’s currently only available to Oregon residents, but it’s something to watch out for in the future.
What Esurance doesn’t tell you is that “the modern world” is pretty expensive. Despite its many discounts, Esurance came out to be my priciest option by $232. And like its parent company, Allstate, Esurance continues to raise its rates. This may be an issue if you’re on a budget, but you’ll have to get a quote to see what it’ll cost you.
|Annual Premium Cost||
(State minimum coverage)
Esurance’s customer service also exceeds expercations. In the latest J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey for the California region, esurance scored the top spot. Strengths listed include customer service and sophisticasted technology. Other high-scoring insurers include The Hartford, and Auto-Owners Insurance.
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Our Deep Dive
- Backed by Allstate: Esurance is a relatively new entry to the insurance industry, but that shouldn’t be cause for concern. Its policies are underwritten by Allstate, which has been around for 86 years and has high financial strength ratings.
- Purchase a policy in minutes: Esurance’s online quote tool automatically pulls in information from public records, which saves you time when entering your information. Once you’re presented with your quote, you have the option to customize your coverage limits. The cost of each type of coverage is clearly listed, so you can see which are costing you the most and adjust your limits accordingly. Once you have your desired coverage level, you can contact an agent by phone or purchase your policy online.
- Good selection of discounts: You may be able to lower your premiums by taking advantage of Esurance’s numerous vehicle and driver discounts, including multi-policy, claim-free, and homeowners discounts. You can also save if you insure multiple vehicles, pay your policy in full, or complete an approved defensive driving course.
- Pay Per Mile: Esurance recently unveiled a new Pay Per Mile insurance program in Oregon, which charges you based on how often you drive each year. Drivers who average less than 10,000 miles annually may be eligible for significantly lower rates through this program than they would get with a traditional policy. Currently, Pay Per Mile insurance is only available in Oregon.
- Covers your lease or loan: If your car is totaled in an accident, Esurance’s gap coverage will pay the remaining balance of your lease or loan, so you’re not stuck paying for a car you no longer own. This is an optional coverage, but it’s a good choice if you have a newer vehicle with a sizeable loan.
- Coverage for custom parts: If you’ve added a new sound system or custom paint job to your vehicle, you can purchase up to $4,000 of additional coverage for this, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket to replace it following an accident.
- Excellent mobile tools: Esurance offers apps for Android and iOS devices. They enable you to view your policy details and ID cards, pay your bill, add a new vehicle, and file and track claims. It also offers a video appraisal option, which is unique among auto insurers. Rather than waiting for someone to come out and inspect your vehicle, you can use your smartphone to speak with and show the damages to an appraiser over the phone.
- Help when your car breaks down: Esurance offers towing and labor coverage to get your vehicle to a repair shop if it breaks down. And if your car is going to be there for a while, it’ll cover the cost of a rental car to get you by until your vehicle is fixed.
You can’t predict how much your auto insurance is going to cost you without getting a quote. Companies look at a variety of factors when calculating your premiums, including your vehicle make and model, address, credit history, and driving record. Every insurer has its own algorithm that weighs these factors differently, which is why rates vary from one company to the next.
You should compare quotes from multiple companies before committing to a purchase, but don’t just look at the price. Make sure the company you choose has strong financial strength ratings, or else it may not be around to pay your claim when you need it to. And see what other customers have had to say about its customer service and claims handling, too. That may not seem as important as a low rate, but it can make a huge difference when you need to file a claim.
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
All states require their drivers to carry auto insurance, so you can’t skip it. If you’re looking to save money, try some of these strategies instead:
- Inform your insurer of major life changes. Tell the company as soon as you get married or graduate college. Nearly all insurers offer lower rates to these consumers.
- Improve your credit. Your credit history is considered a measure of your overall responsibility, so the better it is, the lower your insurance rates.
- Limit your time on the road. Less time driving means a smaller chance of an accident, which decreases your risk to insurers.
- Choose a safe vehicle. Look for something with high safety ratings that isn’t a known target for theft.
- Complete a defensive driving course. Most insurers, including Esurance, give discounts to drivers who have completed an approved defensive driving course in the last three years.
- Choose a high deductible. If you’re purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage, go with the highest deductible you can afford. You’ll pay more out of pocket when you file a claim, but your monthly premiums will be a lot lower.
Allstate: Allstate, Esurance’s parent company, is known for offering excellent rewards to good drivers. Claim-free drivers are eligible for accident forgiveness, insurance discounts and a Safe Driving Bonus Check. Allstate is also the only insurer on this list to offer a claim satisfaction guarantee, which gives you a refund if you’re unsatisfied with how the company handles your claim. Like Esurance, Allstate offers many discounts, but its rates remain above-average.
State Farm: State Farm is the largest auto insurer in the country. It offers reasonable rates and some of the best customer service in the industry. It’s missing some of the optional coverages, like gap insurance, found with some of its competitors, but it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a basic insurance policy and quick claims handling.
Geico: Geico offers some of the lowest rates in the industry, which makes it a good choice if your budget is tight. Its selection of discounts rivals Allstate’s and Esurance’s, so there’s plenty of opportunities to save. In terms of customer service, Geico has received mixed reviews. In the latest J.D. Power survey, it scored about average in most regions.
Progressive: Progressive doesn’t offer as many discounts as some of the other companies on this list, yet its rates are some of the most affordable in the industry. Like Esurance, it offers several optional coverages, including custom equipment and gap coverage and pet injury protection. According to the J.D. Power survey, its customer service and claims handling is nothing special, though.
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The Bottom Line
Esurance offers great coverage and is an industry leader in terms of mobile policy management, but its prices may be out of reach to drivers on a budget. It’s still worth setting aside a few minutes to get a quote, though.