Let’s take a closer look at one of the biggest names in car insurance.
What is Allstate?
Founded in 1931, Allstate is a massive American insurance company currently ranked #79 on the Fortune 500 list. The company got its name from Sears, who began selling the Allstate automotive product line in 1925 which included tires, batteries, and a novel commodity called auto insurance. By the 1950s, Sears even began selling the Allstate car.
Because consumers didn’t trust a car sold at a department store (and it was a clunker anyhow), the Allstate subbrand refocused its efforts on its most profitable product: insurance.
Today, the insurance giant is best known for its robust auto insurance policies but also sells home, renters, life, and more.
How does insuring with Allstate work?
As someone who gets a lot of insurance quotes online, I got a solid first impression from Allstate’s online quote process. Mercifully, it makes bundling so much easier than its competitors; once you pick a type of insurance from the homepage, it asks “what else?” and offers big, clear buttons for additional policy options to create a bundle.
Allstate makes bundling easier than adding toppings on a pizza – which was great for me when I bought my home and decided to bundle.
After providing Allstate with my phone number, I proceeded through an exceptionally smooth and well-designed quote process.
Many other insurance carriers could learn a lot from Allstate. Both the discounts and premiums pages display complex information in a simple, digestible format.
Best of all, the premiums page clearly outlines how your rates were calculated, empowering you to change up coverage types and limits to see how it affects your premium. This is a highly educational tool that every insurance shopper should tinker with.
Allstate.com is a great place to begin your quote collection process since its coverage page lets you play around to see how different levels of coverage generally impact your rates. For example, a slight decrease in your Bodily Injury Liability Limits may save you hundreds per year.
How much does Allstate insurance cost?
I’m an Allstate customer and I pay about $55 a month for insurance. A few years ago I was paying a much higher rate, simply because I was a single 24-year-old guy. These are three of the worst things to be when you’re shopping for car insurance.
Now, I’m 26, married, and I recently bought a house and bundled home and auto insurance with Allstate. Since then, my price has dropped significantly.
Even when my insurance was higher, it definitely wasn’t as high as some of my friends’ insurance premiums. Thankfully, I haven’t been involved in any accidents, gotten any tickets, and I maintained a good student discount while I was in high school and college (I’ve been with Allstate since I was 16).
All that being said, this is my personal rate. A number of factors could change your rate for better or for worse.
What makes Allstate different?
I’ll admit, when I first signed up for insurance with Allstate, I wasn’t a fan of having to call an actual agent (or go in to see one down the street). But that’s due to the fact that I’m just another Millennial with an aversion to phones.
When I actually got on the phone with an agent, we talked about the insurance I wanted, the discounts I qualify for, auto-pay, and how my mom was doing (she’s been an Allstate customer for years) all in under 15 minutes.
He also left me with helpful advice – to call back the day I turn 25 so I could get a lower rate.
There’s definitely a benefit to a hands-on approach. Many people like the fact that an actual person is dealing with all their insurance information. It makes it easier to call up and make your case in the event of a missed payment or any other financial issue.
Let’s go back to the Allstate commercials. Specifically the one with the man and the woman who are discussing which gender is the superior driver. The woman in the commercial quickly pulls out her safe driving bonus to flaunt in the face of her partner, making the argument that women are, in fact, better drivers. Well, that’s the Drivewise® discount at work.
You can earn up to 10% cash back just for including this in your insurance policy. Then you can earn up to 25% cash back every six months you go without an accident or moving violation.
While every insurance company offers discounts, Allstate wants to make sure you actually get one.
The discounts Allstate offers seem endless. But that’s not the only nice part. I’ve found that agents tell you about them of their own free will. This is unlike some insurance agents that wait until you bring it up and then reluctantly give you the discount.
Like their Drivewise® program demonstrates, Allstate cares about safe driving. Their highest discounts apply to save drivers. They include:
- Premier discount: Save up to 22% for driving three years without any violations or accidents.
- Premier plus discount: Save up to 35% for driving 60 months without any violations or accidents.
- TeenSMART discount: Save up to 10% when your teen successfully completes the TeenSMART driver education program.
- Defensive driver discount: Drivers who are 55 years old, have completed six or more hours of defensive driving courses and have no violations and no at-fault claims can save up to 10%.
And of course, if you bundle renters, home, or life insurance with auto insurance, you’ll get a better deal than if you had multiple insurance companies.
If you go 12 months without submitting a claim, Allstate will reduce your deductible by $100, for up to $500. The rewards reset to $100 off once you submit a claim.
It’s comforting to know that if you make it four years without a claim and then have an accident, you won’t pay a dime out of pocket.
New car replacement
Though not exclusive to Allstate, NCR is worth mentioning. If you have this type of coverage and total a car under two years old, Allstate won’t just cut you a check for the depreciated amount; they’ll totally replace the car. This is a must for rapidly-depreciating cars, like luxury or sports cars.
Though the focus of this review has been on Allstate’s auto insurance, this perk of their home/renters insurance is worth mentioning.
If you’re nervous about AirBnBing your room or your entire place, HostAdvantage insurance covers your property for up to $10,000 per host period.
A wide selection of insurance products
Allstate offers a huge selection of insurance types including auto, home, renters, motorcycle, off-road, term life, and more. And while other large insurance companies can compete on selection, Allstate offers some industry-leading bundle discounts.
My experience as an Allstate customer
I’ve been an Allstate customer for 10 years now, and I’ve never run into a problem. Anytime I’ve needed to call my local office, I was greeted with friendly staff that always had the answers to my questions.
I liked my local agent so much, that I decided to stick with them even though I moved an hour up North.
Getting a quote process is much easier now than it used to be (back when all you could do was call and ask what your rate would be), but Allstate’s killer discounts have always remained the same. Looking at my policy, there are a least 10 discounts I qualify for, and every time I call my agent, they seem to come up with more.
Overall, I would highly recommend Allstate. Yes, you do have to pay a little more (but not much, if you qualify for a bunch of discounts like me), but the cost is worth the service you get.
Who is Allstate best for?
New car buyers
When combined, Allstate’s New Car Replacement and New Car Discount are a heavy incentive package for a new car buyer, both protecting your purchase and slashing your rates.
Allstate’s home and auto bundle discounts are some of the best in the industry (I know from experience). Plus, they tend to score average- to above-average for customer service in both categories, so your ride and your home will be “in good hands.”
Who is Allstate not ideal for?
Though insurance premiums vary wildly by region, vehicle, driver history, etc., it’s unlikely that Allstate will offer you the absolute lowest premium in a list of, say, 10 quotes from competitors.
That being said, their low-overhead, online-only subbrand Esurance is more likely to offer competitive rates.
Buyers who aren’t interested in a relationship (with their provider)
Allstate’s website reminds me of the classic Mad TV sketch Can I Have Your Number. They want those digits so they can connect you to a live agent ASAP.
But some buyers just want to purchase insurance like they purchase any other commodity online: in a few clicks, without the interference of a live representative. Others just don’t want to share their phone number with a major corporation.
But take it from me – someone who doesn’t like to stay on the phone for more than 10 minutes – Allstate agents make the process quick and easy.
Pros & cons
- Robust website — Allstate is thorough, user-friendly, even educational, helping you to understand how different coverage types and limits affect your premiums.
- Agents available — If you would like the support of a live agent to help you choose coverage and navigate claims, Allstate has over 10,000 agents nationwide.
- Competitive discounts — Though premiums start high, steep discounts for new cars and good driving behavior could drop them to more competitive levels.
- Good customer service – A — Allstate scores above-average customer satisfaction and A.M. Best ratings.
- Above average premiums — Allstate offers a wide selection of products and good service, but higher-than-average premiums.
- Phone number required during quote process — Allstate makes abundantly clear that they intend to share your information with local agents, even before you make a purchase.
Allstate vs. competitors
|Competitor||Advantage compared to Allstate||Disadvantage compared to Allstate|
|Gabi||Compare multiple quotes from multiple companies||Does not offer their own policies|
|Liberty Mutual||Lower premiums for drivers with spotty records.||Fewer discounts|
|Progressive||Superior online experience||Equal or higher rates, typically|
As you could probably surmise from the table, Allstate falls into the unique position of offering higher premiums than its competition but more discounts.
That’s why I can wholeheartedly recommend that you spend time carefully tinkering with Allstate’s online quote process to ensure you capture every discount available to you.
But, for comparison, here are a couple of alternatives to Allstate you may want to consider.
Gabi is the one-stop-shop for all your auto (and homeowners) insurance needs. Gabi doesn’t actually offer insurance themselves, but they can help you find a company that’s right for you.
After a brief application process where you answer some basic questions about you and your car, Gabi will collect quotes from a handful of companies and list them by rate, so you can see which company offers the best deals for you.
Once you pick a company, you will have to go through their application process, but you’ll still save a ton of time since you’re only fully applying to one company.
When Allstate is stacked against Liberty Mutual, things become more muddled.
Both companies score above average customer service ratings and offer above-average premiums reduced by a generous list of discounts. Liberty Mutual also offers lower rates to drivers with spotty records.
However, Allstate’s slight advantage is having a superior website and an easier online quote process.
Progressive is like Allstate in many ways. They claim steep discounts and great rates. But, where Progressive and Allstate differ is that Progressive is less about in-person agents and more about an easy online experience.
So it’s up to you to decide which type of insurance company you prefer.
One standout tool that Progressive offers is the Name Your Price tool, which tries to fit an insurance policy to your financial situation. This can be great for someone who needs low-cost insurance.
I’m driving home my Target analogy because I can’t think of a better parallel to Allstate. You know that Walmart is cheaper, but sometimes you just want to go somewhere quiet, clean, and with better service, and you don’t mind paying a few extra bucks for it.
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