GEICO consistently offers affordable auto insurance rates, but customer satisfaction ratings indicate there may be a tradeoff for the quality of service you receive.
GEICO offers a full range of auto insurance coverages and its rates are generally among the lowest in the industry, in part due to its numerous discounts. If price is your primary consideration in choosing an auto insurance provider, GEICO is definitely one to keep on your radar.
However, customer satisfaction surveys have revealed GEICO’s customer service to be decidedly average. We all hope we never have to file a claim, but when we do, we want to know our insurer is going to lessen the headache, not make it worse. If that’s more important to you than a low price, I’d suggest going with a different company, like State Farm or Allstate.
|Price||Varies by location, vehicle and other factors|
|Best For||Price-focused consumers|
|Not For||People who place a high value on reputation and customer service|
Anti-lock braking system
Daytime running lights
Five-year accident-free good driver
Seat belt use
Defensive driving course
Driver’s education course
Membership and employee discounts
Federal employee discount
|In Business Since||1936|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||A+|
|A.M. Best Rating||A++|
|Standout Features||Accident forgiveness
24/7 customer support
Rental car reimbursement
Mechanical breakdown insurance
Coverage for Lyft and Uber drivers
GEICO’s memorable slogan — “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance” — has been attracting bargain hunters for over a decade. The company promises affordable rates and big discounts, in addition to solid coverage, fast claims service, and 24/7 customer support.
Is it True?
Maybe. Auto insurers consider many factors when calculating rates — your driving record, vehicle type, address, annual mileage, etc. — so it’s impossible to say one company is the most affordable for all drivers. I got quotes myself from several major insurers and found GEICO’s rates were affordable, but not the cheapest:
|Annual Premium Cost||$25K/$50K/$10K (state minimum coverage)||$250K/$500K/$100K|
You may get different results than I did. The only way to know which company offers you the best price is to set aside some time to compare quotes.
J.D. Power’s 2017 auto insurance customer satisfaction survey shows that lower price doesn’t always mean a lower quality of customer service. In every region, GEICO was rated average or above. It’s something to be aware of when comparing rates.
Our Deep Dive
- Offers all major coverages: GEICO offers bodily injury and property damage liability coverage ranging from your state minimums to $250,000/$500,000/$100,000. These coverages protect you if you’re found liable for damage to people or property in an accident. Some states also require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which pays for the damages if you’re hit by a driver who has too little or no insurance. Collision and comprehensive coverage are also available to help repair your vehicle following an accident. Though not required by law, many lenders will require these coverages if you have a loan on your vehicle.
- Coverage for Lyft and Uber drivers:GEICO offers coverage to Uber and Lyft drivers. Though this protection is becoming more common, some insurance companies still refuse to cover drivers who provide ride-sharing services, and have even canceled their existing policies. If you work for a ride-sharing service, GEICO is worth considering.
- Plenty of ways to save: GEICO has an impressive selection of discounts to help you save on your premiums. Insuring multiple vehicles or bundling your home and auto insurance could lower your premium by up to 25 percent. Being five years accident-free and wearing your seatbelt can also translate into savings. Teen drivers are eligible for good student and driver’s education discounts. And if you’re a member of the U.S. military or one of GEICO’s member organizations, you could save even more.
- Financially strong: Moody’s, S&P and A.M. Best have all given GEICO high financial strength ratings. This is an important indicator of how likely it is that the insurer will be able to pay out claims when the time comes. GEICO customers can rest easy knowing that the company will be there when they need them, whether that’s tomorrow or months down the road.
- Simple quote process: Getting an auto insurance quote from GEICO takes less than five minutes. Answer a few basic questions about yourself, your vehicle and your driving record and you will be presented with several policy options that you can customize to your liking. You should know most of the information required to complete the quote, but if you can’t recall the details of any recent accidents, you may want to look that information up ahead of time. Quotes are saved in GEICO’s system, so you can return to them at a later date without having to reenter all your information.
- Filing a claim is easy: You can file a claim online, over the phone or through one of GEICO’s mobile apps. According to GEICO’s claims center, the whole process takes about five minutes. Submit the details of your accident and a representative will look into it. If you’re eligible for a repair, you can schedule that right away. You can track the entire claims process from the mobile apps or your online account.
- Accident Forgiveness: Accident Forgiveness is available as an optional upgrade. If you choose to add it, you don’t have to worry about rate increases following your first at-fault accident.
- Manage your account from anywhere: GEICO has mobile apps available for Apple and Android devices. The apps give you access to digital ID cards, roadside assistance, and details about your policy. You can get a quote, file a claim, and pay your bill just as you could from your online account. The mobile apps are also hooked up to GEICO’s live chat, so you can speak to a representative at any time.
- Mechanical breakdown insurance: Mechanical breakdown insurance pays for any repairs your car needs that aren’t related to an accident. It’s only available for new or leased cars under 15 months old with less than 15,000 miles. You can renew it for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. All repairs under mechanical breakdown insurance have a $250 deductible.
- Rental car reimbursement: This is an optional protection. If your car is in the shop for a repair, this coverage will pay for the cost of obtaining a rental vehicle.
- Roadside assistance: This is another optional coverage. If you run out of gas or lock yourself out of your car, GEICO will send someone to assist you at no extra cost
Auto insurance companies look at a variety of factors when calculating auto insurance rates. Your age, your driving history, your vehicle make and model, and where you live are a few of the biggest factors. Every company weighs these factors slightly differently, so the only way to find out what it’s going to cost you is to get a quote.
For me, going with GEICO would cost $240 a year for state minimum coverage. State Farm would charge me an extra $34 for the same coverage, but its reputation for providing better customer service could make the extra money worth it. That’s something you also have to weigh when comparing insurers.
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
All 50 states require auto insurance, so there’s no way to skip it. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you can face some hefty fines, so it’s not worth the risk. Instead, take some time to compare quotes and see who offers you the best coverage for the lowest price.
You can also take simple steps to minimize your risk to insurers. Consider these:
- Drive less. Less time spent on the road means less potential for accidents.
- Notify your insurer about major life changes. Getting married or finishing college can have a significant impact on your auto insurance premiums.
- Improve your credit score. A higher credit score means a lower insurance premium with every auto insurer.
- Complete a defensive driving course. Several insurers, including GEICO, give discounts to drivers who have completed a defensive driving course within the last three years.
- Choose your next vehicle carefully. You want a vehicle with high safety ratings that won’t attract thieves.
- State Farm: In my quote comparison, State Farm offered reasonable rates for state minimum coverage, though that rate went up significantly when I raised my policy limits. State Farm offers all major types of auto insurance coverages, and it scored well in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey. It also has a decent selection of discounts, including its Drive Safe & Save program, which gives a discount to those who agree to have their driving monitored by State Farm.
- Progressive: Progressive is another auto insurer worth considering if a low price is your top priority. It doesn’t offer as many discounts as some other insurers, but its rates are consistently among the lowest in the industry. It provides all major types of coverage, in addition to some protections you won’t find with most insurers, such as pet injury and custom parts coverage.
- Allstate: Allstate has one of the largest selections of auto insurance discounts in the industry, yet it still turned out to be my most expensive option. Again, this may not be the case for you, but you’ll have to get a quote to find out. Also, Allstate received even lower customer satisfaction scores than GEICO in J.D. Power’s survey, so unless it offers you a great deal on your rates, one of the other companies on this list is probably a better option.
The Bottom Line
You should always get multiple auto insurance quotes and compare rates and coverages before making a purchase. GEICO is a good choice if a low price is your top priority, but consumers that place a high value on customer service may want to choose a company with a better reputation, like State Farm.