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Allstate Insurance Review – Are You in Good Hands?

At a Glance
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3.9 / 5
Rating

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Allstate

  • Products: Automotive insurance, traditional homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, life insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance, RV and motor home insurance, special vehicle insurance (ATVs, snowmobiles), commercial insurance, landlord insurance, umbrella insurance, pet health insurance, supplemental health insurance
  • Additional Features: Retirement accounts, Drivewise (safe-driver discount), bundle discounts and other savings opportunities, Allstate Motor Club (roadside assistance and other benefits), online quotes, Claim Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Advantages: Drivewise app is informative and could substantially reduce your premiums; new car discount for qualifying policyholders and vehicles; Allstate Motor Club is a nice alternative to AAA; Claim Satisfaction Guarantee is unique among major insurers, according to Allstate; deep local agent network
  • Disadvantages: Pressure to buy from agents; website isn’t very mobile-friendly; no primary health insurance policies; some other minor policy omissions; no way to compare Allstate quotes directly with other providers on-site

Allstate is an American institution. Founded in the early 1930s as a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck & Company, it was among the first insurers to adopt risk-based premiums for drivers. It was also an early advocate for the mandatory inclusion of seat belts and air bags in new cars. Its spinoff from Sears in 1993 was the largest corporate IPO up to that time.

Today, the company competes against national, full-service insurance companies, including Progressive, GEICO, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, and a host of regional insurers. Like State Farm, it still relies heavily on local agents at a time when other companies have cut costs and premiums with a direct sales model that leans heavily on their online assets.

If you want personal attention from a local agent, or you have complex needs that a self-serve online system can’t adequately address, Allstate’s approach is great. If you’re a working stiff who cares about finding the cheapest possible insurance, it may not be for you.

Products Offered

Allstate got its start as an auto insurer, but that’s just one component of its business today. The company offers the following types of insurance coverage, plus other financial products, in all 50 states, though terms and policies may vary between them. You can either get a quote and directly buy a policy online or use the website to get in touch with an agent in your area.

Automotive Insurance

Allstate’s auto insurance policies meet mandatory state minimum coverage levels. In addition to common coverage types like collision, comprehensive, liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection, Allstate offers coverage for stolen sound systems, rental car reimbursement, towing and labor coverage, and other optional add-ons.

Homeowners Insurance

Allstate’s homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for your main house, any outbuildings or other structures on your property, your house’s contents (with possible exceptions for valuable items, such as jewelry), and expenses you may incur if your home becomes uninhabitable, such as hotel fees or rent at a temporary residence.

You can add liability protection to cover the cost of a lawsuit brought by a guest, and medical protection to cover injured guests’ medical bills. All these benefits are capped at specific dollar amounts, which vary depending on the coverage type and your preference.

Renters Insurance

Allstate offers renters insurance policies that include many of the same coverages as homeowners insurance, including your rental’s contents, expenses incurred if the home becomes uninhabitable, liability protection, and guest medical coverage.

Condo Insurance

Allstate’s condo insurance is similar to its homeowners and renters insurance, with condo-specific coverages such as reimbursement for loss assessments – a thorough inspection your condo association may require after an incident like a fire or burst pipe.

Motorcycle Insurance

Allstate’s motorcycle insurance policies include the same coverages, at or above state-mandated minimums, as its auto insurance policies. It also includes biker-friendly perks like new motorcycle replacement, which swaps totaled or stolen bikes for new models, additional payments for mechanics to use genuine parts in all repairs, and cash benefits to your family if you’re seriously injured in an accident.

Business Insurance

Allstate offers a wide range of insurance policies for business owners, including commercial auto, property, and liability policies.

Life Insurance

You can buy term, universal, and whole life insurance policies through Allstate.

Boat Insurance

Allstate’s boat insurance policies cover structural damage to your boat, damage to gear and equipment (including fishing lines and water skis), and costs incurred during and after collisions with uninsured boaters. If you’re at fault in an accident, it also covers your obligations for other parties’ medical expenses and boat and property repairs. These protections apply to U.S. territorial waters within 100 miles of shore.

RV and Motor Home Insurance

Motor home and RV insurance covers loss or damage to the contents and physical structure of your motor home or RV, as well as liability costs if you’re at fault in an accident.

Snowmobile, ATV, and 4×4 Insurance

Allstate offers insurance policies for motorized recreational vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs, and 4x4s. Similar to Allstate’s auto insurance policies, it provides collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, property damage liability, and bodily injury liability.

Landlord Insurance

Similar to homeowners insurance, landlord insurance offers protection for a rental property’s main building, attached structural elements like porches and decks, and outbuildings on the property like garages and sheds. If the covered building is rendered uninhabitable by a fire or other disaster, Allstate’s landlord insurance policies may pay up to 12 months’ worth of lost rent, depending on your coverage choices.

Pet Health Insurance

Allstate’s pet health insurance policies come in two forms: accident-only and accident and illness. Accident-only covers treatments and procedures related to accidental occurrences only, such as vehicle collisions and foreign body ingestion. Accident and illness covers treatments and procedures related to most illnesses, including cancer and many hereditary conditions.

Cats and dogs under age 14 are eligible for new accident and illness policies. Those over age 14 and those with certain chronic conditions like diabetes and FIV are limited to accident-only policies.

Retirement and Savings Products

Allstate offers a range of retirement and savings products, including annuities (traditional, fixed, variable, and index- or equity-linked). It also offers IRAs (traditional, Roth, and rollover), all of which may hold mutual funds, stocks, bonds, CDs, and Allstate annuities. In addition, it offers 529 college savings plans and mutual funds.

Allstate is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which provides up to $500,000 in coverage for the cash and securities you hold in these accounts should the company declare bankruptcy and liquidate its assets.

Supplemental Health Insurance

Allstate’s supplemental health insurance policies cover expenses typical policies don’t, including ambulance bills, transportation to the hospital for ongoing treatments, major surgeries that require significant out-of-pocket expenses, and long-term disability payments that offset lost wages.

Personal Umbrella Protection

Personal umbrella protection (PUP) may provide additional protection if you hit your homeowners or auto insurance policy’s coverage limits. For instance, if you’re at fault for an accident that seriously injures a highly paid driver (say, a surgeon or C-level executive) who sues you for months’ or years’ worth of lost wages, your PUP plan may cover the cost of the resulting settlement or judgment.

Allstate also offers some types of insurance in Canada, though it’s best to check with its country-specific website if you live there.


Additional Features

In addition to these products, Allstate’s most noteworthy features include:

Drivewise

Drivewise® From Allstate is a cost-reduction feature that benefits cautious drivers. After signing up, you’ll need to install a monitoring device in your car that measures your driving habits. The device pays particular attention to how fast, how often, and when you drive, as well as your braking time, to get a sense of how risky you are behind the wheel. Based on this information, Allstate may reduce your premiums by up to 30% each billing cycle.

Your premiums can’t go up as a result of Drivewise. In the worst-case scenario, you don’t see any savings. You can access your Drivewise data anytime through your online Allstate account.

Discounts

Allstate offers several dozen additional discounts on its plans, many of which only apply to its auto insurance policies. These include a $100 reduction of your deductible for every claim-free year (up to $500), premium discounts of up to 10% for completing a defensive driving course, and a 35% premium discount after five years without any violations or accidents. These discounts are subject to change at Allstate’s discretion and may not be available to all policy applicants.

Policy Bundles

Allstate offers specific policy bundles that may convey additional savings. For instance, bundling your auto and homeowners insurance reduces your auto premiums by as much as 10% and your homeowners premiums by up to 35% – though these figures are subject to change at Allstate’s sole discretion. An auto-life insurance bundle also offers savings, though Allstate doesn’t say how much. Other bundles, such as auto-renters, may be available in your area too.

Allstate Motor Club

Similar to AAA, Allstate Motor Club is a wide-ranging motor club that offers two optional levels of service:

  • Roadside Advantage. For about $10 each month, you get 24-hour roadside assistance (up to $100 in incurred expenses), trip interruption coverage (a form of travel insurance) up to $750, arrest bond coverage up to $500, and 25% off any CARFAX history reports you order as an active member.
  • Platinum Elite Plan. For about $15 per month, you get $250 in roadside assistance, $250 in road hazard coverage, $1,500 in trip interruption coverage, $2,000 in arrest bond coverage, 24/7 concierge service, auto repair referrals, and free CARFAX reports. This plan includes coverage for motorcycles and RVs, as well as passenger cars and trucks.

All of these coverage levels may vary by state, so read the fine print before signing up. In addition to the driving-related benefits, Allstate partners with tens of thousands of auto service shops, restaurants, retail outlets, recreational attractions, and other businesses around the country to offer discounts to Motor Club members.

Online Quotes

You can get an online quote for almost all Allstate insurance policies, except commercial plans. The quote-building feature walks you through the process, which you can interrupt at any point to speak with an agent. If you don’t complete your application, you receive a call within a day.

Claims Processing and Support

You can file claims online and over the phone. You don’t need an online account to file, but you do need one to track the status of your claim without calling in. Regardless of how you file a claim, Allstate encourages you to notify your local agent immediately after doing so.

Claim Satisfaction Guarantee

Allstate is so confident in its claims experience that it offers a Claim Satisfaction Guarantee, which eliminates your auto policy’s premium for up to six months if you find the claims process unacceptable for any reason. Allstate purports to have a “no questions asked” policy here. According to Allstate, the Claim Satisfaction Guarantee is unique among American insurers.

To get the credit, you need to send a snail mail letter to the Allstate office in Roanoke, Virginia, within 180 days of the accident, explaining why you’re not satisfied with the outcome. The credit only applies to claims Allstate pays, so you can’t complain about a denied claim. Read the fine print, as terms may vary by state.

Local Agent Network

Allstate has a deep network of local agents who exclusively sell its policies. Not all agents sell every type of insurance, but each one has a dedicated Web portal with an Allstate root domain and a standardized layout, making it easy to compare capabilities and specialties.

Online Account Management Portal

Even if you prefer to work with an agent, you can access your account online and view details about your policy, recent statements, pending claims, and other important information.


Advantages

Allstate’s top advantages include the Drivewise app, a new car discount, Allstate Motor Club (a prime alternative to AAA), and a dense local agent network.

1. Informative and Customer-Friendly Drivewise App

Allstate’s Drivewise feature is similar to Progressive’s Snapshot discount. Both require you to install a monitoring device in your car and provide safe-driving discounts of up to 30%. However, Snapshot is deficient in a couple of ways.

For one, Snapshot only monitors your driving for six months. After that, your savings are locked in permanently. Since you can use Drivewise as long as you want, you can save even more as you become a more experienced and safer driver – which is statistically likely – over the years.

Also, you can’t see the data Snapshot collects in real time, only projected premium savings based on your driving to date. With Drivewise, you can log into your account any time and see detailed reports, including if and when you drove too fast, braked too hard, or logged too many miles in a day.

2. Unique New Car Discount

When you insure a new or nearly new car with Allstate, you’re eligible for a discount of up to 30%. Though other insurance companies, including Progressive and Liberty Mutual, offer discounts for certain safety features that come standard in new cars, such as anti-theft devices and airbags, none offer discounts simply because your vehicle is brand-new.

3. Comprehensive Motor Club

Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance, emergency towing, and other basic services for auto policyholders, but none can match the depth of Allstate Motor Club’s offerings. The trip interruption and arrest bond coverage features are particularly useful for travelers who get stuck far from home. Plus, the myriad discounts at retailers, restaurants, and other businesses rival AAA’s.

4. Unique Claim Satisfaction Guarantee

Though Allstate offers financial incentives for avoiding claims altogether, its Claim Satisfaction Guarantee may save you hundreds of dollars if a claim that doesn’t go your way. While other insurers tout their overall claim satisfaction rates, none is willing to back it up with a significant premium credit.

5. Attentive and Knowledgeable Local Agents

Allstate’s dedicated local agent network is extremely well-developed, and the company takes pains to direct business to individual agents. If you have complex needs that can’t be handled online, you can visit agency websites and see exactly which services they offer, what sort of expertise they have, and how long they’ve been operating. That’s especially useful for business owners who may need to protect vehicle fleets, expensive inventory, and multiple properties, all while dealing with complex liability issues.

State Farm and Nationwide have solid agent networks too, but many popular insurers don’t. For instance, Progressive’s agent network seems like an afterthought. Each participating agency appears responsible for designing and maintaining its own website, and many of them sell insurance from multiple providers, offering no special treatment for Progressive customers.

When you can simply buy a policy and file a claim online, there’s no incentive for you to deal with such an agency. On the other hand, you can always reach out to your local Allstate agent with detailed questions about your policy and be confident you’ll get an answer. That’s a nice resource to have in an increasingly impersonal world.


Disadvantages

Allstate’s biggest drawbacks include pressure to buy through an agent, an outdated website, no human health insurance, and no on-site quote comparison with other insurers.

1. Pressure to Buy Through an Agent

A big drawback of Allstate’s agent network is a website that’s somewhat unfriendly to self-serve customers. Though you can source a quote and purchase many policy types online, nearly every page on Allstate’s website prompts you to call or email a local agent to learn more or complete a transaction. In some cases, clicking on a website tab brings you to a page that provides little to no information aside from “Want to learn more? Contact an Allstate agent today.” After a while, this gets annoying, especially if you’re trying to compare policies from multiple providers.

2. Website Isn’t Super Mobile-Friendly

Allstate’s website also has user experience issues, including dense text, wide scrolling, and small link buttons. These issues are especially noticeable on the sales side of the site, which you’d think the company would want to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible.

That stands in stark contrast to both Nationwide and Esurance, whose sites feature large-font text, big images and buttons, and a quote-building interface that’s easy to use on a mobile device.

3. No Primary Health Insurance

Allstate offers a lot of insurance options, including pet health insurance. However, for such a large, apparently comprehensive company, it has a glaring omission: no primary health insurance plans for humans. Allstate’s supplemental health insurance policies don’t meet the minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

If you don’t have or can’t get health insurance through your employer, you need to look elsewhere, even if you have other coverage through Allstate. Some major insurers, including State Farm, offer direct access to individual health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Others, such as Progressive, have online portals that let you search for plans from other providers. For example, Progressive’s eHealth insurance claims to offer 13,000 different policies across 180 insurers.

4. Some Minor Insurance Types Missing

Aside from health plans, Allstate covers all the major insurance bases – in particular, auto, life, and homeowners plans. However, it’s missing some types of coverage that many people find important, including flood insurance and classic car insurance. Progressive offers these, plus Segway insurance, if that’s your thing.

5. No On-Site Quote Comparison

Allstate’s website doesn’t let you compare its quotes to other insurance companies’. By contrast, Esurance and Progressive both do. You can also use a third-party quote-finder like Netquote, though their results may be less accurate.


Final Word

The American insurance industry is a competitive business. As long as you’re willing to source multiple quotes and carefully read each provider’s fine print, that’s good news.

Allstate might have a storied history, a great marketing campaign, and a comprehensive suite of services, but it can’t be everything to everyone. It lacks some plans that other companies readily offer, doesn’t let you compare its quotes to others’, and has an often-frustrating website. As in any competitive marketplace, it pays to shop around for insurance.

Do you have an Allstate policy? Would you recommend it to others?

Verdict
Allstate Logo
3.9 / 5
Rating

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Allstate

Allstate is a full-service insurance company that offers many common types of insurance. It has a dense network of local agents, many of whom are highly experienced and genuinely helpful. And some perks, such as Allstate Motor Club and the Claim Satisfaction Guarantee, add a lot of value to its plans.

However, Allstate omits primary health insurance, which many of its direct competitors offer. An uneven online experience is problematic too.

Allstate gets high marks for its supportive agent network, Claim Satisfaction Guarantee, and comprehensive motor club and roadside assistance. Tradeoffs include a frustrating online experience and a lack of key policy offerings.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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