CheapInsurance 's Review
The largest insurer in United States - and also a major player in Canada - State Farm has been selling policies since 1922. The Illinois based company now provides coverage not only for cars, but for recreational vehicles, property, life, identity protection, disability and long-term care. Those seeking financial services can also do their banking, investing and retirement and estate planning with the insurer. Along with its variety of coverages and services, State Farm offers highly rated customer service at a reasonable price.
Coverage Available at State Farm
State Farm doesn't offer as many specialty coverage options as some competitors. Along with liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, customers can add emergency road service.
However, though many insurers also provide rental car coverage, State Farm's car rental and travel expenses plan goes above and beyond. Not only does the company pay for a rental car if yours is in the shop, due to a covered accident, but if you're stranded away from home, they'll pitch in for a hotel and personal items you may unexpectedly need.
Advantages: They are well established and have fan A.M. Best rating of "A++", which is the highest financial rating an insurance company can have from the rating provider. Additionally, State Farm can provide you with insurance for both your personal and business use, and is available in every state in the United States. When you combine multiple policies, you can qualify for a discount, usually about 10% to 25% off of each additional policy, depending upon the type of policies you choose.
Disadvantages: It can be more expensive than many other providers. In addition, after the hurricanes in Florida several years ago, the company took both financial and public sentiment damage when it didn't have enough money to cover the costs. It took several years for the company to recover from both. State Farm seems to be pushing its investment vehicles more and its insurance less. Additionally, they are increasing the number of agents to grow, and this impacts the territories of existing agents. As a consumer, the result is that agents have to cut costs, and push more products to make money.
Discounts Available at State Farm
State Farm's selection of car insurance discounts is also somewhat small, but those that do exist can be very valuable. Customers save substantially for bundling policies or insuring multiple vehicles - up to 20%. They'll get an additional 10% off for going three years without an accident, and 5% for taking an approved defensive driving course.
Insuring young drivers can get pricey, but State Farm offers a few ways for customers to save on these policies. Good students can save up to 25% off their premiums, and if they maintain a clean record and take a Steer Clear course, sponsored by the company, they're eligible to save another 15%.
Still looking for savings? Through State Farm's Drive Safe and Save program, customers can install a telematics device in their car. The company claims this will enable them to offer more customers discounts based on driving behavior, but this and similar programs are controversial.
Customer Service at State Farm
Though, like all insurers, State Farm has some unsatisfied customers, most members report that their relationship with the company has been smooth. Through a network of helpful local agents and 24/7 call centers, State Farm appears to offer the best features of both small and large insurers when it comes to claims and everyday service. In addition, coverage is competitively priced in most markets, and there are many fewer reports of unexplained rate increases than with other companies.
Still, State Farm could afford to improve in some ways. Though reps are always available, some customers complain that they're not always helpful, and slow to process address changes and other routine issues. And while members getting auto repairs tended to be satisfied, those filing medical claims seemed to have a more difficult time getting paid.
State Farm is rated a 4/5 for customer satisfaction with the claims process, and an 89/100 in overall customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports.
The Bottom Line
State Farm is both the US' largest auto insurer, and one of its best rated. While those seeking some specialty coverage options will be disappointed, the company provides great customer service and is often affordable, even without as wide a selection of discounts as some competitors. Anyone in the market for auto insurance should take a look at State Farm.