Esurance got its start in 1998 by using the newly accessible internet to sell insurance policies directly to consumers. By cutting out agents as middlemen, Esurance was able to keep its costs low for its customers, a tactic which would become increasingly popular as direct sales became easier thanks to new technologies. Because the company was founded on the premise of innovation, Esurance has always been more adventurous than other insurance companies.
It was one of the first insurers to offer cost comparison between policies on its site, allowing customers to compare rates between competing companies. Esurance was also one of the first insurance companies to offer marriage-type discounts to same-sex couples, and the company’s support of LGBT causes is well-established through its participation in gay rights programs, including corporate sponsorship of The Trevor Program. The company also markets itself as environmentally conscious, focusing on its paperless options and its fleet of hybrid vehicles used by its claims team. The company also participates in “Recycled Rides,” a community program that donates vehicles to needy families and businesses.
In 2011, Esurance was acquired by Allstate. The company maintains its same San Francisco headquarters and operates semi-independently despite being a wholly owned subsidiary. It has its own website, advertising campaign and claims department. The Esurance acquisition has allowed Allstate to become more competitive in the direct-sales market, where it has traditionally struggled, and it gives greater financial strength to Esurance, which had previously been a relatively small operation.
Auto and Vehicle Insurance
Esurance offers vehicle insurance for personal automobiles, motorcycles, RVs and specialty vehicles like boats and ATVs. It also offers commercial auto insurance for businesses as well as specialized “classic car” insurance for collectible vehicles, including those that are in the process of being restored and those actively being shown.
For standard personal auto policies, a number of coverage options are available. Full-coverage insurance with collision, comprehensive and liability is standard for most vehicles, especially those being financed. Individuals can also purchase liability-only policies for their vehicles, an option that can save some money when insuring an older car that would not be worthwhile to repair.
Aside from standard coverage, auto policies sold through Esurance include a few optional additions, such as roadside assistance and lease gap insurance. Customized parts and equipment coverage is available for vehicles with valuable after-market sound systems, video systems or other pricy additions that would not generally be covered under a standard auto policy.
Esurance offers several discounts and programs for customers. Some are fairly straightforward, including a 5% discount for buying the policy online or a 10% paid-in-full discount to customers who pay off a year’s premiums at once rather than monthly. Claim-free drivers can save up to 25% on their premiums after five years of driving without an accident or DUI conviction. This discount is available to people who are new Esurance customers as long as their driving history is safe and they have not had a lapse in insurance coverage.
Other programs are a bit more involved. For example, alumni of certain Pac-12 Universities receive a discount, as do drivers who opt to attend a defensive driving course. Other money-saving options are available to people who obtain multiple policies through the insurance company.
Although Esurance is best-known for its auto coverage, it does offer products for homeowners, renters and condominium dwellers.
Standard homeowners policies offered by Esurance provide protection against many common perils, including fires, theft, and frozen pipes. These policies do not cover mold, floods, earthquakes, pest infestation or deterioration.
Aside from standard protection, homeowners can add a few additional products to their policies. These include building codes coverage, which covers modifications to bring a building up to code if the city ordinances change, and specialty protections if you use your home as a rental property or day care center.
Renters and condominium insurance are similar, but they cover only what you own in the property. Therefore, a renter’s policy will pay only for your personal belongings, not the structure. Condominium coverage will pay for the parts of the condo that are owned by you, including structures and personal property.
Additionally, homeowners can purchase personal liability policies through Esurance. These umbrella policies act as blanket protections against lawsuits in the event of any sort of liability claim that is not fully covered by another type of insurance. For example, umbrella insurance will protect you if a guest falls while visiting your home or if your dog bites a visitor. Umbrella policies are generally purchased and added to a homeowners and auto policy as extensions of the liability protection.
Esurance’s auto and home insurance make up the majority of its products, but the company does offer access through its website to other insurance types:
- Health insurance – Through a partnership with eHealthInsurance, Esurance is able to link customers with health coverage. These policies are not underwritten by Esurance itself. Instead, Esurance acts as a broker to match customers with coverage from one of 180 different companies. Availability varies by state, and the details of any given policy will depend on the company the policy is offered by.
- Life insurance – Esurance brokers life policies from several main life insurers, including Transamerica, MetLife and Fidelity life. Customers can begin searching for life insurance quotes on the Esurance website, using the company’s partnership with Efinancial, before finishing the sales process with the chosen life insurance company.
- Pet insurance – Esurance brokers coverage for Petplan, a major pet insurance provider and partner with the Humane Society. A quote can be obtained through the Esurance website before finishing up the insurance process with Petplan.
Other types of insurance, including cell phone, business and international protections are brokered through Esurance, which allows customers to get a quote that will start the process. Esurance does not directly underwrite any of these specialty policies.
Esurance Price (Rates)
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Claims can be filed online, over the phone or through the Esurance Mobile app. Regardless of how the claim is filed, you will need to provide basic information about what happened, contact information for the other party and photos if possible. When using the mobile app, you can easily add photos from your cell phone’s camera. Otherwise, photos can be uploaded or emailed to your adjuster from your computer.
Once the claim has been filed, a team of adjusters will work with you to resolve any liability issues and arrange to have the vehicle repaired. Esurance offers a unique “RepairView” feature that allows customers to get daily photographic updates of their vehicle’s repair status when using certain recommended repair vendors.
Claims information can be found under the site’s “Resources” tab. Online claims status information is available to both insureds and claimants, so it’s possible to check the status of the claim 24/7 through the company’s website.
Consumer Research and Complaints
The 2013 J.D. Powers Insurance Shopping Study looks at customer satisfaction during the insurance purchasing experience. In this study, Esurance has a high overall ranking, with four out of five stars for price and five out of five for website design. The company did receive three out of five stars for its policy offerings and call center representatives.
Worth noting is that Esurance ranks higher in the survey than its parent company Allstate, which received low marks for website design and medium satisfaction in all other categories.
Esurance is Better Business Bureau accredited and has an A+ rating on the website. It has been accredited since 1999, and the site lists 311 complaints as having been closed within the last three years. 138 of these were closed in the past 12 months. Of these, roughly half of the complaints are issues with a product or service. The next largest category is billing and collection issues.
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Esurance is a top-pick in our book for a number of reasons. They offer 24 hour claims services and provide a number of ways customers can file the initial report. They rank above average to superior in most consumer rating surveys, and they have an A+ financial rating from AM Best. Not to mention they have the cheapest rates we seen during our rate quote tests.
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For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.