The Hartford Insurance Company has been offering exclusive car and home insurance for AARP members for over 200 years. It’s longevity says a lot about the company and its services. It offers quality customer service and comprehensive coverage, including unique options like RecoverCare, which pays to hire someone to help you around the house if you’re injured in an accident. The Hartford also offers lifetime renewability, so you can’t be turned down for renewal as long as you continue to pay your premiums. It also locks in your premium rate for a full year, while most other providers will typically raise it after six months.
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In terms of price, though, The Hartford’s not the best option; especially for younger drivers, or those with multiple accidents on their record that are considered to be “higher risk.” If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to go with a company known for its low rates, like Progressive or Geico.
|Price||Varies by location, vehicle and other factors|
|Best For||AARP Members|
|Not For||Young Drivers|
Defensive driver course
Driver training course
Hybrid or electric vehicle
|In Business Since||1810|
|A.M. Best Rating||A+|
|Pros||Offers full coverage car insurance
Added services such as roadside assistance, in-home care and classic car coverage
12-month rate lock
Discounted rates for those over 50
|Cons||High number of customer service complaints
Higher rates for young or risky drivers
AARP membership is required to get discounts
|Stand Out Features||12-month rate protection
Reimbursement for home services following an accident
Classic car coverage
Cannot be refused renewal
The Hartford promises affordable rates, quality coverage, and excellent customer service. It offers insurance to drivers of all ages, but it focuses on serving AARP members, offering them benefits that can’t be found elsewhere — like lifetime renewability and extra in-home assistance following an accident.
Is it True?
Sort of. The Hartford offers all major types of car insurance coverage, including liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist, collision, comprehensive, and personal injury protection. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can add Accident Forgiveness and a disappearing deductible to your policy, which could translate into big savings if you have an accident down the road. The Hartford also offers specialized insurance for classic cars, cars that includes full coverage for the vehicle and injuries (exact coverages vary by state).
Its customer service has received mixed reviews. It was ranked the best car insurance provider in one region in J.D. Power’s latest customer satisfaction survey, and it received above-average ratings in several others. Most customers seem fairly happy with the price and policy offerings, but they’re less pleased with The Hartford’s claims resolution, though this varies by region.
Older drivers and members of AARP, in particular, will be hard-pressed to find a better deal. Once you purchase your policy, your rate is locked in for one year. After that, you’re guaranteed lifetime renewability, so long as you maintain your driver’s license and keep paying your premiums. It also offer special coverage options tailored to seniors, like its RecoverCare service, which pays for home services like cleaning and lawn care, if you find yourself unable to do this work following an accident.
Younger drivers, on the other hand, may find The Hartford’s rates to be among their most expensive quotes. I got quotes from several major insurers and found that The Hartford’s rate was $161 more expensive than what my cheapest option, Progressive, would charge me. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider another company like Progressive or Geico, which is known for offering affordable rates to younger drivers.
Each car insurer has its own quote algorithm, which uses personal information (age, address, marital status, etc.) and driving factors (vehicle make and model, accident history, etc.) to determine your level of accident risk. Though all insurers look at the same data, they weigh them slightly differently, which is why you get different rates from different companies. That’s why it’s smart to shop around and get several quotes before making a final decision.
The right company for you will depend on your priorities, but unless your budget is really tight, you shouldn’t make a decision based solely on price. Look at the level of coverage you’re getting and what customers have to say about their experiences with that insurer. Claims handling is particularly important because we all want a company that’s going to help us get back on the road quickly. Choosing the wrong insurer could mean a longer wait and a big headache.
|Insurer||My Quoted Rate for State Minimum Coverage|
Our Deep Dive
- Must call for a quote: Alhough The Hartford claims to have an online quote tool, it doesn’t actually work. If you want to get a car insurance quote from The Hartford, you will have to call and speak to a representative.
- Locked-in rate: The Hartford guarantees your car insurance rate for an entire year, while other companies may do so for only six months.
- Lifetime renewability: Once you’ve had The Hartford insurance for over 60 days, you qualify for lifetime renewal. As long as you continue to pay your premiums, maintain your driver’s license, and have no convictions for driving while intoxicated, you cannot be refused policy renewal (not available in all states).
- Offers all major coverages: The Hartford offers bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection, and medical payments coverage. By law, you’re required to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage, though the exact amount varies by state. If you’re looking for higher coverage limits, these are available as well.
- Good selection of discounts: The easiest way to save on your car insurance is to bundle it with home or renters insurance. This could save you up to 25 percent. If your vehicle is equipped with safety features like airbags or an anti-theft device, you’ll also save. The Hartford is one of the few insurers to give a discount to drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles. Young drivers who complete a driver’s safety course or older drivers who take a defensive driving course are also eligible for a discount.
- Classic car coverage: If you own a classic car, The Hartford will work with you to settle on a value and offers full coverage including bodily injury liability, property damage liability, physical damage to your car (mandatory for collectible cars), medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorists and no-fault up to the agreed-upon limit. You can also add optional coverages, like full glass and spare parts, so if something on your classic car breaks down, you can quickly get it repaired.
- 24/7 claims service: The Hartford has representatives standing by 24/7 to assist you if you need to file a claim. You can do this online, over the phone, or through one of the company’s mobile apps. Once you’ve submitted a claim, you can track its progress every step of the way until it’s resolved.
- New car replacement: If you total your new car within the first 15 months or 15,000 miles of ownership, The Hartford will replace it with a new vehicle that’s the same make and model as the old one.
- Accident Forgiveness: If you sign up for The Hartford’s Advantage PLUS program, you get accident forgiveness. This prevents the insurer from increasing your rates after an accident. All drivers on the policy must be accident-free for five years in order to qualify for this service.
- Help with household tasks if injured: The Hartford’s RecoverCare service helps you cover the cost of basic household tasks, like cleaning or mowing the lawn, if an injury prevents you from doing so following an accident. This type of coverage is unique to The Hartford, so if you’re interested, it’s worth getting on the phone and getting a quote.
- Options to lower your deductible: With The Hartford’s disappearing deductible, your deductible will decrease every year you don’t have an accident until that number reaches zero. If you get into an accident that’s not your fault, The Hartford will, in most cases, waive your deductible completely. And if you are at fault and you get your vehicle repaired at one of The Hartford’s 1,600 authorized repair shops, your deductible will be lowered by $100. These benefits are available with the purchase of The Hartford’s Advantage PLUS program.
- Full glass coverage: If a rock flies up and cracks your windshield, The Hartford will pay for you to get it repaired, and you won’t have to pay a deductible. This type of coverage is optional, so if you want it, you’ll have to pay a little extra on your premium.
- Assistance if your car breaks down: The Hartford offers towing coverage if your car breaks down and needs to be brought to a repair shop. And if it’s going to be there for a while, The Hartford will also reimburse you for the cost of renting a car in the meantime.
- Mobile access: The Hartford has mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices. You can use these apps to view your policy documents, pay your bill, and check on the status of claims. You can also request roadside assistance and contact a customer service representative directly if you have any questions.
How to Save on your Car Insurance
Every state requires its drivers to have car insurance, and getting caught without it could cost you thousands of dollars in fines. Rather than taking that risk, do some comparison shopping and try to find your best deal. If you’re not happy with what you find, there are a few simple steps you can take to lower your insurance premiums over time, including:
- Tell your insurer about important life changes. Getting married and finishing college can lower your risk to insurers, so let them know as soon as these events occur.
- Limit your driving time. If you can, spend less time out on the road. This decreases your risk of getting into an accident, and that translates into a lower premium.
- Choose a safe vehicle. That means something with high safety ratings that’s not a target for thieves.
- Complete a defensive driving course. Most insurers will give you a discount if you’ve completed one of these courses within the last three years.
- Improve your credit. Make sure you pay your bills on time and don’t accumulate a bunch of debt, as this looks bad to insurance companies.
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- Progressive: This could be a good provider to turn to if The Hartford offers you an expensive rate. Progressive is known for its affordability, though its customer service ratings aren’t quite as strong as the other companies on this list. It offers all major coverage types, including bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist, collision, and comprehensive protection. Progressive also offers unique options like pet injury and custom parts coverage.
- Geico: In terms of affordability, Geico is right up there with Progressive. It offers all major types of coverage, an impressive selection of discounts, and strong mobile tools. It’s customer service isn’t spectacular, as it was rated below average in five out of the eleven regions in J.D. Power’s survey. It fails to impress when it comes to customer service, though. It was rated average or below in nine out of 11 regions in J.D. Power’s survey. If this concerns you, you may want to choose another company from this list.
- State Farm: State Farm wasn’t my cheapest option when I asked for a quote, but it offers solid coverage and the excellent customer service Progressive and Geico lack. It has a good selection of discounts, including its Drive & Save program, which enables you to earn a discount for letting State Farm monitor your driving habits.
- Allstate: This is another company that doesn’t offer the most affordable rates to younger drivers, but its huge selection of discounts means there’s plenty of opportunities for saving. . Allstate had above average scores in the J.D. Power survey in most regions too, so their reputation for customer service is improving.
What Others Are Saying
- Insurance Journal picked up a story about The Hartford extending its agreement with AARP to provide exclusive car and homeowners insurance to its members. The article states that “The Hartford has been focused on researching and understanding the needs of the 50-plus population,” and underlines the importance of this partnership for the future development of The Hartford’s line of personal insurance products.
- Cleasurance recently ranked The Hartford tenth on its Top 10 list of America’s best car insurance companies. The report stated that, “while the Hartford ranks tenth on this list, the company did have the fifth-best claims service rating of companies in the top 10.”
- CBS investigated the affordability and value of The Hartford’s AARP car and homeowners insurance plans. It concluded that there are definitely cheaper options out there, but that The Hartford’s unique offerings and reputation for excellent customer service still makes it a viable option: “You can save money — in some cases a lot of money — by taking your business elsewhere. But the policies do offer a few appealing features that you might find are more than worth the extra cost. And The Hartford has an impressive customer service record.”
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The Bottom Line
The Hartford’s not right for all drivers, but if you’re over 50 — and especially if you’re a member of AARP — it’s worth taking the time to get a quote.