Geico is well known for its auto insurance policies, but did you know that the company also offers affordable homeowners insurance? Unlike other companies, Geico doesn’t offer homeowners insurance directly. Instead, Geico relies on a partner network to underwrite its homeowners insurance policies, rather than doing it itself.
Essentially, Geico acts as a middle man between customers and their partner insurers. You can get a quote and build your policy through Geico, but the policy will be written by a non-affiliated insurance company. Geico works with dozens of insurance providers for homeowners insurance, including AIG, Homesite, Liberty Mutual and Travelers.
For the customer, there aren’t many downsides to having insurance through a non-affiliated company. In fact, customer satisfaction surveys suggest this isn’t a big issue. Geico customers are largely satisfied with the policies they receive through the partner insurers, especially when it comes to price. Policies purchased through Geico consistently offer affordable rates, so if this is your primary concern in purchasing home insurance, Geico is worth considering.
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Geico promises homeowners “top-quality coverage at an affordable rate.” It offers broad protection for all types of homes, including condos and mobile homes, and prompt customer service to assist you with questions or filing a claim.
Is it true?
Sort of. You may be able to get affordable homeowners insurance from a Geico agent, but it won’t be a Geico policy. Geico doesn’t underwrite home insurance policies, but it relies exclusively on a partner network. When you get a quote through Geico, it pairs you up with one of its partners and you get the price and policy options offered by that insurer. If you need to go through the Geico file a claim process, Geico’s claims center will give you the contact information for your policy underwriter.
That being said, people seem to be happy with the policies they get through Geico’s network. Geico ranked fifth in overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2015 homeowners insurance survey. Customers were particularly happy with the premium rates, suggesting that Geico’s claim of providing affordable insurance holds true. However, consumers weren’t thrilled with its customer service. This is likely due in part to people contacting Geico for assistance and being directed to their homeowners insurance underwriter instead.
Geico home insurance deep dive
Because Geico doesn’t offer its own homeowners insurance policies, it’s difficult to determine the coverages, endorsements, and discounts available. These vary depending on which partner company underwrites the policy. However, homeowners insurance coverage tends to be consistent between providers and as the discounts they offer.
Before getting a Geico insurance quote and committing to a policy, do some research into the company you’d actually be buying the policy from. At the least, investigate its financial strength ratings. These give you a good indication of how likely it is that the company will be able to pay out claims when the time comes. A low ranking could mean you’ll end up paying a lot in premiums to see no return when you need it.
Geico home insurance coverages
When it comes to home insurance, there is a standard set of coverages that every provider offers. You can expect all of Geico’s partner insurance companies to offer the following coverage for each policy:
- Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage pays to repair or replace the structure of your home, this includes attached structures like porches and garages.
- Personal property coverage: Personal property coverage helps you pay to repair or replace your personal items inside or outside your home.
- Personal liability coverage: If someone hurts themself on your property, and you’re found liable, personal liability insurance helps you pay for the person’s medical expenses or a lawsuit. It also protects you if you accidentally caused damage to someone else’s home or property.
- Additional living expenses: If your home gets damaged or destroyed, and you’re unable to live there, additional living expenses will pay for your hotel and restaurant bills.
- Medical payments coverage: If someone is injured in your home, regardless of who is at fault, medical payments coverage will help cover their hospital fees or other medical expenses.
In addition to the standard coverages, certain insurance companies also offer add-on coverage for even more protection. Examples include:
- Sump pump coverage: If your sump pump malfunctions, this coverage helps you pay to fix faulty pipes and repair water damage.
- Identity theft protection: Some insurance companies offer identity theft coverage, which would help pay for expenses related to identity theft.
- Earthquake coverage: Earthquake coverage helps you pay for damages caused by an earthquake.
- Electronics coverage: Your personal property coverage has a limit, so purchasing a separate policy for electronics coverage will help pay to replace pricey computers or cameras.
Geico discounts offered
Geico insurance reviews show that customers are happy with the price they pay for homeowners insurance through partner companies. However, you may be able to save even more money by taking advantage of Geico discounts. Some of the most common homeowners insurance discounts include:
- Policy bundling: If you have multiple insurance policies through Geico, you qualify for a lower rate.
- Home security system: If you have a home security system installed in your home, you can get a discount on your premium.
- Fire alarm/smoke detectors: If your home is protected against fire with an alarm system, smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher, you might be able to get a discount.
- New home: Many insurance companies offer discounts to customers who insure a new home, or a home that has been recently renovated.
- Claims-free: If you haven’t filed an insurance claim in the last few years, ask a representative if they can lower your rate.
Geico home insurance cost
As with all insurance products, homeowners insurance premiums depend on a variety of factors. These include the age and size of your home, its location, and your creditworthiness. Every company weighs these factors a little differently, so the only way to estimate how much it’s going to cost you is to get a quote.
Rates also depend on what level of coverage you get. All homeowners policies protect against the following perils:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Riot or civil commotion
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Smoke damage
- Volcanic eruption
More comprehensive policies are available, but obviously, the greater the level of protection, the higher your premium. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes or floods, you’ll have to purchase separate coverage for these hazards because they’re not included in a traditional homeowners policy. You also have the option to add endorsements. These provide extra coverage for valuables, such as jewelry or firearms.
Cheaper (or free!) alternatives
Lenders require you to purchase homeowners insurance, so there’s no getting around it. But there are a few things you can do to lower your rates:
- Shop around. Compare rates from several companies to see who offers you the most protection for the best price.
- Bundle your home and auto. Most insurers give discounts to customers who purchase their home and auto insurance together.
- Choose a high deductible. If you can afford it, a high deductible is a better option. Your out-of-pocket costs will be higher when you file a claim, but the lower premiums will make up for that.
- Prepare your home for disasters. Do what you can to disaster-proof your home. For example, if you live in an area known for bad storms, install storm shutters for doors and windows.
- Beef up security. Having an alarm system in place can help deter would-be thieves and earn you a discount on your homeowners insurance.
Geico might not be the most ideal option for you. Compare it to other providers to see which one is ideal for you. Here is a brief glimpse at other options you might consider.
- State Farm: State Farm offers coverage for most major perils, including theft, fire, and storms. It offers discounts for homes with fire or burglar alarms installed and those that use certain kinds of roofing materials. Bundling your home and auto will earn you additional savings as well. State Farm received an average rating in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey. Consumers were pleased with its policy offerings and their customer service, but not as impressed with its rates.
- Progressive: Like Geico, Progressive doesn’t underwrite its own homeowners insurance, so once you’ve purchased a policy, you deal exclusively with Progressive’s partner. Based on J.D. Power’s survey, customers are less satisfied with policies bought through Progressive than those purchased through Geico. Progressive may be worth considering, though, if you want to add special coverages to your policy. It offers a huge selection of endorsements for your home and personal property, including watercraft, jewelry, and computers.
- Allstate: Allstate has one of the largest selection of homeowners discounts in the industry, but customers aren’t thrilled with their premiums. Allstate received an average rating from J.D. Power. It has a good selection of policy coverages and endorsements, though, so it’s easy to build a policy around your needs. Allstate also offers Claim RateGuard as an optional add-on. This is pretty unique among home insurance providers and functions like accident forgiveness for your home. You won’t have to worry about your rates going up after your first claim.
What others are saying
The Washington Post explains Geico’s exit from the homeowners insurance business in 1995. At that time, home insurance only made up a small percentage of Geico’s business. A representative for the company stated that “we find it harder to find economies of scale in writing and servicing the business.”
The bottom line
Geico may not write its own homeowners policies, but customer satisfaction reports indicate it’s still living up to its promises of providing quality, affordable home insurance — it’s just through partner companies. It’s not a bad idea to do some investigating into your policy’s underwriter before committing to a purchase, though.