Esurance car insurance review
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- User-friendly website has interactive tools that appeal to tech-savvy customers
- Best for customers who prefer to manage their own policies and have no need for an agent
- Customer satisfaction ratings are mixed, particularly regarding the claims process
Esurance was one of the first companies to offer car insurance online, starting in 1999 during the height of the first internet boom. The company’s stated goal is to change most people’s opinion that insurance is painful, complicated, and overpriced.
In this vein, their website claims that it takes an average of only 6 minutes to get an Esurance quote online, the average customer who switches to Esurance saves $462, and 69% of customers claims filed via photo are approved for payment in one day.
Many consumers may be surprised to learn that Esurance is owned by the well-established insurance giant Allstate, which acquired the company in 2011. Despite being part of a very traditional, decidedly non-Silicon Valley style company, Esurance has continued to push forward with new ways of delivering highly interactive insurance coverage. In addition to car insurance, Esurance also offers home and renters policies.
With no agents available, Esurance is best suited for customers who prefer managing their own policies and communicating online. Despite having a well-targeted customer base, Esurance does not rank much better than middle of the road overall in terms of customer satisfaction, with particular issues noted around slow payouts on claims and increases in rates after an accident. In terms of price, Esurance also falls in the middle, typically offering lower prices than its parent Allstate, but higher than its more direct competitors Geico and Progressive.
- With a focus on customer service and internet accessibility, Esurance’s website and mobile app allow customers to easily handle most of their needs online
- Combines the innovative thinking of a modern internet company with the financial strength of its large and well-established parent, Allstate
- Provides price comparisons with other companies
- Customer satisfaction for claims and payments is below average
- No face to face agent option available, only online or via call center
- Rideshare insurance offered in only 3 states
Esurance offers typical coverage options, including liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Additional coverages you can choose include gap coverage if you have a loan or lease, medical and funeral services payments, towing and labor coverage, and Carmatch rental car coverage, which provides a rental car that’s similar to your car if it is in the shop for a covered claim.
As an example of Esurance’s interactive tools, its website offers a guide to help you determine how much liability coverage you need, based on parameters you set for your premium budget and ability to pay different sizes of deductible. One fairly popular coverage option that is notably absent from Esurance is new car replacement, which pays the value of a brand-new car of the same make and model, minus the deductible, if your new or nearly new car is declared a total loss. In addition, Esurance only offers rideshare coverage in 3 states, California, Illinois, and New Jersey.
Esurance also offers the usage-based DriveSense mobile app, which allows drivers to log their driving, measuring when, where, and how they drive. The system takes note of whether you drive in high traffic areas, at high traffic times such as rush hour, as well as actions like rapid acceleration and braking, all of which play a role in determining the level of claims risk you pose to the company. Esurance makes the app available even to drivers who are not customers, and for customers it offers a discount just for enrolling, as well as additional discounts for safe driving habits.
Some drivers don’t like the idea of a device tracking their driving, because they don’t like feeling as if they are being “spied on.” In an age of data misuse and privacy concerns, this could be a valid objection. But if you are willing to accept this potential downside, and you are a good driver, the savings could be significant.
Esurance also offers its Fuelcaster service, which predicts gas prices, allowing you to time your fill-ups for when prices are cheaper.
The buying process
Esurance does not sell through agents, instead utilizing a direct method of either online or over the phone with centralized sales agents. The process involves entering your ZIP code to see if coverage is offered in your area (the company covers 38 states), and then entering a small amount of personal information.
You are guided through the process of choosing specific coverage options by Esurance’s Coverage Counselor tool, which focuses on avoiding unnecessary complexity, in keeping with the company’s goal of making insurance less painful and less complicated.
Esurance offers discounts for bundling car insurance with other coverages such as homeowners, renters, or life, so you may want to consider this during the buying process. Some of these policies are not written by Esurance but are instead sold by Esurance on behalf of partner insurers.
Esurance has a very wide range of discounts based on different factors, including:
- Fast 5, a 5% discount on your first-term premium if you get your quote online
- Online shopper discount for buying your policy online
- Switch & Save discount for avoiding a gap in coverage between the end of your previous policy and the beginning of your coverage with Esurance
- Multi-policy discount for bundling your car insurance policy with other policies from Esurance
- Multi-car discount for insuring two or more cars on the same Esurance policy
- Discount for being a homeowner, even if your home is not insured by Esurance
- Paid-in-full discount of up to 10 percent for paying your entire premium upfront, rather than monthly
- Discount for being claim-free, typically meaning you have gone for five years with no accidents
- Discount for completing defensive driver training, along with other requirements that vary by state
- Anti-theft discount on comprehensive coverage for having an approved anti-theft or vehicle recovery system
- Anti-lock brakes discount
- Emergency road assistance discount for purchasing a roadside assistance program from an approved third-party provider
- Good driver discount of 30 – 40% for going three years with no incidents on your record
- Good student discount for full-time students under age 25 with a 3.0 GPA or better
- Pac-12 discount for attending a Pac-12 university
- PayPal discount if a driver on your policy has an active PayPal account
Claims and customer experience
Investigating Esurance’s performance in terms of customer experience, and especially claims, is somewhat of a scattered process. In some regards it seems to be viewed highly, and in others quite poorly. While this is not unusual for the insurance industry, it seems a bit more widely scattered in Esurance’s case, including some customers showing downright anger and outrage.
Similar statements 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. The best advice is to make your decisions based on your own research, as well as your instincts, because there is no doubt that customer experiences vary.
Esurance’s claims process generally revolves around its mobile app, which allows you to file and track a claim, find Esurance’s recommended repair shops, view your insurance ID cards, see policy details, and make payments. In addition, customers can file photo claims by submitting photos of damage through the app, thus saving time waiting for an appraiser to come view the damage in person. Some customers can receive payments within one day.
Esurance’s RepairView feature allows you to check on your car’s status while it is being repaired in an Esurance-approved shop. The service includes a daily photo of repairs and allows you to contact the shop directly for information on when your car will be ready. If you choose an Esurance-recommended repair shop for a covered repair after an accident, Esurance guarantees the work for as long as you own the car.
You can find reviews of Esurance on TrustPilot.
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.
Esurance is in an interesting situation, because it is a subsidiary of Allstate, which contributes to its financial situation. Esurance has been independently rate for financial strength by A.M. Best as Superior: A+, which is the second highest rating possible and is due to the company’s superior financial condition and operational performance. In addition, its parent Allstate also has the same A.M. Best rating of Superior: A+, and it also has a AA- rating from S&P Global Ratings, which is the 4th highest possible score out of 21. On its website Esurance states “Our owner, Allstate, provides us with extensive industry know-how and financial stability, so you know we'll be there for you when you need us.”