Dairyland car insurance review
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- Focused on insuring high-risk drivers at reasonable prices
- Files SR-22 certificates for free in most cases
- Offers coverage options tailored for teen drivers
Dairyland Insurance specializes in car insurance for high-risk drivers who often have difficulty finding coverage due to poor driving records, DUI convictions, significant traffic-related offenses, or little driving experience (e.g., teens). Based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Dairyland touts its midwestern roots and small-town values, though it now has a national presence, offering coverage in 38 states.
If you fall into one of the high-risk driver categories, Dairyland may be the company for you, potentially offering the best rates you will find. However, if you have a stronger driving record that puts you in the normal-risk category, it is unlikely that you will find the best rates with Dairyland. The company’s entire business model is geared toward covering high-risk customers, which requires the company to charge much higher premiums in order to account for the greater expected number of claims.
Many high-risk drivers are required to have what is known as SR-22 coverage, which means that as part of their policy they must file an SR-22 (also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility) with the state, proving they are meeting the state’s car insurance coverage requirements. Dairyland is known for selling non-standard SR-22 coverage at affordable rates.
An SR-22 is typically needed for drivers who have one of the following driving violations:
- DUI or DWI
- Reckless driving
- At-fault accidents
- Driving without insurance coverage
- Driving with a suspended license
You might also need an SR-22 if you have had a number of small incidents. It’s different for every state, so your state might require it for reasons not listed above.
Be aware that an SR-22 only means that you are meeting your state’s car insurance minimum requirements for driving. The SR-22 is not an insurance policy. The insurance provider provides the coverage in return for your premium, and it informs the state that you are covered.
In most cases Dairyland files the SR-22 for free as part of your policy, whereas some companies and agencies might charge you additional fees to provide this service.
- Specializes in insuring nonstandard and/or high-risk drivers at reasonable prices
- Most SR-22 filings are done without a fee
- Does not offer policies appropriate for drivers who are not high-risk
- Rates are very competitive compared to other carriers that cover high-risk drivers, but they are still quite high due to the high cost of insuring this risky pool of customers
- Not available in all states
The buying process
Dairyland offers quotes and payments directly, either over the phone or through its simple-to-navigate website. Note that the actual purchase of the policy cannot be done on the website, but must be completed on the phone. The site also offers some basic information about teen driving safety, the SR-22, DUI, and some other non-standard policy types.
For those who prefer an agent to guide them through the quoting and buying process, as well as to be there to answer questions and provide assistance throughout their tenure as a customer, Dairyland does have a network of independent agents, but it is not particularly large. Hence, depending on where you live, you may or may not find a Dairyland agent located near you.
Even though Dairyland offers non-standard car insurance coverage, it does offer discounts as do other insurers. Some of those discounts are:
- Multi-car discount
- Discount for being covered by another company and switching to Dairyland (not a trivial thing for a high-risk driver who may not have been able to obtain coverage)
- Discount for being a homeowner
- Anti-theft device discount
- Discount for passing a defensive driving course
- Advance payment discount for paying for 3, 6, or 12 months, rather than monthly
It is challenging to make a blanket statement about how a company handles claims, and whether customers find them to be very good, very poor, or somewhere in the middle. Many of the reviews that appear online for Dairyland’s service show a general lack of satisfaction from customers, and in some cases downright anger and outrage.
This same statement can be made for many insurers, so it must be put into context. When it comes to insurance claims, it is more likely that dissatisfied customers will write reviews. And no one wants to have to make a claim in the first place, meaning that almost by default the process starts from a less than desirable place.
It’s understandable that if the insurer is not 100% accommodating in covering or processing the claim, the customer who has been paying premiums with the intent of having all such problems smoothly and promptly taken care of is likely to be angry. In some cases the anger is completely justified, and in others it may not be. The point is, it’s critical that we all take these reviews with a grain of salt.
Dairyland’s performance on claims gets mixed reviews. Its score on Trustpilot is quite high, with many positive reviews. However, Dairyland has significantly more complaints to state regulators than average, relative to its size. Again, it’s best to take all reviews and complaints for what they are worth.
One of the most important things to look for when choosing an insurance company is how it rates in terms of financial strength, which is a good way to measure whether it will be able to maintain solvency and pay out claims. This strength is particularly important in times of financial difficulty, whether in the economy as a whole, or in association with financial challenges specific to the company.
Dairyland, through its parent company Sentry Insurance, ranks highly in terms of its ability to maintain solvency and pay out claims. Its Financial Strength Ratio (FSR) from rating agency A.M. Best is “Superior: A+”, which is the second highest rating possible and is due to Sentry's superior financial condition and operational performance.