GEICO Insurance Review

RATINGS BY CATEGORY
Premium Price
Claims Process
Consumer Feedback
Financial Strength
OVERALL

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Love it or hate it, GEICO draws you in with their catchy commercials and adorable gecko spokesperson.

But they are more than an internet-based car insurance company with a huge marketing budget. They are a real player in the car insurance industry, and they are owned by one of the most successful companies in the world.

GEICO Insurance Overview

GEICO, which stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, was founded in 1936 to sell insurance products to federal employees and certain military members. The company went through many transitions over the following decades, with the largest one coming in 1996 when they were purchased by Warren Buffet and his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

GEICO is a direct-to-consumer insurance company that focuses primarily on auto insurance, but does have an extensive portfolio of other coverage options such as home, renters and motorcycle.

Direct-to-consumer means that GEICO’s primary sales channel does not involve a middleman, also known as an agent.

Customers can get quotes, purchase policies, and make changes to existing coverage over the phone or directly online. There are agents licensed to sell GEICO products, but the bulk of policy sales are done directly between GEICO and their customers.

Direct-to-consumer insurance companies (like GEICO, Esurance and Progressive) have a competitive advantage over their more traditional agent-driven counterparts in that they can reduce costs since they are not paying out large commissions for each sale and renewal. The downside is clients with very extensive insurance needs may unknowingly find themselves with gaps in coverage, unless they have a good understanding of everything they need.

One thing is for sure. When it comes to car insurance, GEICO is the real deal.

In 2013, GEICO nudged past Allstate to become the second largest auto insurance company in the United States. However, they are still quite a bit behind the leader, State Farm.

Coverage options are available in all 50 states, as well as Washington D.C.

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Products and Services

As mentioned above, GEICO excels when it comes to auto insurance. But their portfolio of products does not end there.

What makes GEICO different from many other companies is they do not actually underwrite a lot of their policies. But I will get to that a little further below.

For now, let us take a quick look at some of their more popular insurance products:

  • Car Insurance – Definitely GEICO’s bread and butter, their policies come with all the standard bells and whistles, with the option to add extended coverage. Pretty standard across most major insurance companies.
  • Motorcycle Insurance – GEICO is one of the few companies that puts a lot of time and money into advertising their motorcycle insurance, and it has boosted them to one of the top spots in terms of coverage in the United States.
  • Homeowners Insurance – Whether you are looking for home, condo or renters insurance, you can do it all through GEICO and qualify for multi-policy discounts.
  • ATV Insurance – If you are looking to protect some of your off road toys, GEICO can help you with that.
  • Umbrella Insurance – Designed as an extension of car and home insurance liability, an umbrella policy can also fill in gaps that will protect you from things like libel and slander lawsuits.
  • Life Insurance – Policies available through GEICO are limited compared to some other full service insurance companies, but if you want term life coverage, it can be done.
  • Boat Insurance – Including other types of personal watercraft, you can protect your water toys through GEICO and in some cases qualify for multi-policy discounts.
  • Business Insurance – There is a reasonable list of coverages available through GEICO, but probably more suitable for a small business. Things like general liability, business owners policies and professional liability insurance can be obtained over the phone or through an agent.

So here is the deal when it comes to GEICO insurance products – besides auto insurance, almost everything is underwritten by a different insurance company.

What does that mean to you?

It means that even though you may have a car, home and umbrella policy you purchased from GEICO, the companies underwriting the home and umbrella policy are probably different.

GEICO sells these other policies through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc, which is basically a huge insurance agency licensed to sell products for other companies. Similar to going to a strip mall and getting a policy from XYZ Insurance Agency, but on a much larger scale.

The policies will almost always be managed by GEICO, and any questions, claims and payments will be handled by them as well. But they are basically outsourcing the underwriting to other firms that specialize in that type of coverage.

For the most part, GEICO is taking a fee off the top of your policy to manage and service it.

But what about car insurance?

As mentioned toward the top of this review, GEICO is one of the largest auto insurers in the United States, and yes, they underwrite those policies. That means when a claim is paid out on a GEICO car insurance policy, they are the ones footing the bill (and possibly reinsurance companies).

And while we are on the topic of car insurance (which is probably why you are reading this review), let’s get into some of the finer details about their coverage.

For many people, GEICO’s car insurance kicks butt.

GEICO is often one of the cheapest auto insurance options, especially for good drivers. Remember how I referred to them as a direct-to-consumer insurance company? They don’t have to pay an agent in most cases, so they can sell policies for less.

In 2013, I did sample rate tests from the top direct-to-consumer insurance companies, and according to the profiles I tested, GEICO was the clear winner when it came to price.

But their car insurance is no silver bullet.

While many drivers get very good rates with them, there are going to be those that do not fit their preferred driver profile. Customers that have questionable driving histories or multiple claims will often be faced with higher premiums or get dropped all together.

Since GEICO typically keeps their rates pretty low, they operate on slimmer margins and have less wiggle room for paying out claims. Plus it costs a lot to be running TV ads non-stop.

GEICO Rates and Premiums

I briefly touched on GEICO’s auto insurance rates in the section above, but here is where we will take a closer look at how they stack up.

GEICO is cheap.

If your primary sales decision when it comes to car insurance is price, then GEICO must be a company you add to your comparison shopping. Year after year in our rate quote tests, GEICO comes in near the bottom (cheapest) every time.

In our last test, GEICO came in a whopping 27% below the average, which puts them in the top five in terms of price.

As previously noted, not everyone will get the best rates from GEICO if they do not fit their preferred driver profile. If you are a good driver with little to no claims history, GEICO should definitely be on your short list if you are looking for cheap car insurance.

Ready for a break? Watch my video review of GEICO Insurance:



Advertising and Media

We all know the little gecko. We see him everywhere. Billboards, TV commercials, radio ads, online. You name it.

Where GEICO saves money by not paying out large commissions to insurance agents, they spend it on advertising. When a company does not have a proactive sales force out doing the heavy marketing lifting, they have to make up for it with TV and internet commercials.

15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.

When it comes to advertising, what differentiates GEICO from many of their competitors is that their claims about saving money are often true. As one of the cheapest major car insurance companies out there, a lot of people CAN save money by switching to GEICO.

We are inundated with insurance ads saying things like – Customers save $423 on average when switching.

The reason that is true is most people that change insurance do so because they get a better deal. It doesn’t mean that most people actually get a better one.

If 100 people get a quote from ABC Insurance Company and only 5 people will actually save money so they switch, the ad will still be true.

What the generic insurance ad doesn’t tell you is – We are expensive, but a few people will save money with us and $423 is what those few actually do save.

See the difference?

GEICO Claims

Up to this point it probably sounds like I am pretty high on GEICO, and when it comes to their price, I am. But the true test is how an insurance company performs is when you actually need them: claims.

On paper GEICO’s claims process is very good. They have multiple ways an individual can file a claim:

As with most major insurance carriers, GEICO has their preferred repair shops which they call Auto Repair Xpress. These shops are generally pre-approved by the insurance company and work directly with them during the entire process.

Customers are not required to use GEICO’s preferred repair facilities. If you decide to go with your own mechanic, you are free to do so. Just know they will generally only cover the amount their in-network facilities would charge. So if you mechanic is expensive, you may have to pay some out-of-pocket costs for the repair.

But how do customers and non-customers feel about their claims process? The next section will dive into that.

Customer Feedback

When researching for this review, I did some digging for customer complaints. And whew… there are a lot of them.

If you simply look at the number of complaints filed against GEICO on various online forums, it can give the impression that they are a bad company. So it is important to look at them in comparison to other companies as well as their size.

Remember how GEICO just squeaked past Allstate to become the second largest auto insurer behind State Farm? Good, because that will provide some context for this section.

Allstate is roughly the same size as GEICO in terms of car insurance, with State Farm being almost twice as big. But the complaint totals on ConsumerAffairs.com show a slightly different story:

  • 862 Complaints – GEICO
  • 818 Complaints – State Farm
  • 472 Complaints – AllState

So a similar-sized company (Allstate) has about half the total complaints about their auto insurance, and a company nearly twice has big (State Farm) has roughly the same number of complaints. So we know on ConsumerAffairs.com that GEICO is about twice as likely to garner a complaint as the other two largest auto insurers.

The numbers on consumer complaint board RipoffReport.com are a bit more murky to look through:

  • 599 Complaints – Allstate
  • 443 Complaints – GEICO
  • 303 Complaints – State Farm

What complicates the Ripoff Report numbers is that they do not distinguish between the different channels of insurance each company sells. So the complaints against Allstate include complaints about auto, home, life, etc. Where GEICO complaints are primarily about their auto insurance, since that is the primary coverage they actually underwrite.

Where GEICO also loses when comparing the big three is with the Better Business Bureau. According to the BBB, the total complaint breakdown as of this review is:

  • 1891 Complaints – State Farm
  • 1869 Complaints – GEICO
  • 1520 Complaints – Allstate

Additionally, GEICO is the only one of the three not to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau and does not currently have a grade.

So despite being quite a bit smaller than State Farm, GEICO has basically the same number of complaints filed against them with the BBB in the past three years.

Bottom Line

They are cheap. Plain and simple.

GEICO is a huge auto insurer in the US, and they use their direct-to-consumer sales approach to keep their insurance rates low.

Where I found GEICO struggling the most is with consumer complaints and feedback. The vast majority of the complaints I read had to do with disagreements over claims and/or delays in payouts. For many people this is an important issue since insurance claims is ultimately why we pay for coverage.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for rock-bottom priced auto insurance, GEICO is a good choice. If rock star claims handling is your selling point, GEICO may not do it for you.
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For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Summary
Reviewer
Eric Stauffer
Review Date
Reviewed
GEICO
Author Rating
4

Best Insurance Quote Providers:

Auto Insurance - Liberty Mutual
Home Insurance - Liberty Mutual
Life Insurance - MetLife
Health Insurance - eHealthInsurance
Business Insurance - Hiscox Insurance

Comments

  1. Jeff Foster says

    I was a GEICO customer for 22 years. Recently, my car was damaged by flood while parked at BWI. They covered most of the flood damage, but they refused to cover damage to my dashboard that occurred either when my car was towed by BWI parking during the flood, or during the repair to the flood damage. They told me the damage was already there and I must not have noticed. Like I wouldn’t have noticed–it was blatant. Or, maybe that’s code that they thought I was lying. I don’t know. The supervisor was awful. Never returned my call. When I called again, he finally called back and left a voice mail that he’d be happy to talk to me, but nothing would change. Thanks. Nice customer service. They treat a 22-year customer like that to save shareholders .1 cent per share. Good bye, GEICO.

  2. ussanmay says

    DO NOT SWITCH TO GEICO! So I get a quote from Geico, pay them money, they send me a policy and insurance cards…then 1 week later, their underwriting department calls me and says there are changes to my policy that will increase my policy by $350 per MONTH! I told them to cancel me immediately. This seems like it should be illegal. BAIT AND SWITCH!

  3. Ashlee says

    I was a Geico customer for 3 years and never had a problem until recently. My boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together at the end of this year. I thought I would be proactive and get a “quote” for adding him to my policy since when we live together he most likely will drive my car on occasion. Right now we see each other a couple times a month due to conflicting work schedules and living over an hour from each other, I explained this to Geico. Geico went ahead and added him to my policy, it went from $200 to $300 a month. They said because I know him and he has an accident on file they had to add him. In the state of Massachusetts the only people required on your policy are people that live with you. They told me to fax 2 documents with his address to prove he doesn’t live with me, after faxing them, they put me on hold for 10 minutes. After the extended hold, they told me no they wont take him off and i have to provide proof of him having his own car insurance. He doesn’t have a car, so he doesn’t have insurance. Geico’s advice: “Then we suggest you find a different company to insure with.” After informing them I will gladly go else where but that I will be filing a report to the Attorney General’s office. They have now blocked me out of my online account (i do everything paperless with them), and when i called to say i was blocked out, they said they were too and didn’t know when I would be able to access it again.

  4. carol says

    Ive been looking for a different Insurance company and got a great quote from Geico. After seeing so many negitive comments I am leaning more towards the Allstate quote which is higher.

  5. Brian card says

    Geico is horrible their driver hit me I was waiting to turn sitting still. They admitted 100 pct fault yet almost a year has gone by and they continue to use every loophole allowed within the law to delay

  6. Joe says

    The savings aren’t worth it. My car was totaled by another driver and I have to fight with geico to get fair value of the car. They do next to nothing to help with the claim one of the worst experiences I have had.
    Don’t use geico.

    stats
    2011 Toyota camry couldn’t find comparable same mileage and model for under 15000
    geico offered me 10700 trade in value at dealership is 13000

  7. Jane says

    GEICO’s computer system failed and as a result, I was charged twice for my policy. Because it is the weekend and everything is still pending. They told me that there was NOTHING that they could do about for 3-5 days. I am overdraft now because of them. I have to wait until my statement comes in then fax it for them to credit my account. Absolutely ridiculous that I have to wait almost 5 days to get my money back. I am a college student with limited funds and now i have nothing for 5 days. They were so careless. Horrible service!

    • lora Johnson says

      Last night I filled a claim after an animal ran out in front of my car and totaled the front bumper.
      I called Geico and spoke with a man named [Redacted] who was very friendly when I asked what my coverage was he told me it was covered and there would be no deductible.
      So today the adjuster that came to look at the damage & informs me that there is now one. He then tells me some one would be calling me shortly after there meeting. No one calls!!
      A supervisor by the name of [Redacted] calls me after I inquired with a sales rep earlier.
      He was very rude and careless and hung up on me. Horrible horrible the way Geico does business and shows no concern for there customers whom I’ve been a loyal now customer for 4 years + . Geico is unprofessional, misinforms customers, lies and does not keep there word.

    • Tatyana Bondari says

      I had pretty bad experience my self with Geico. Ive been costumer for over 4 years. First time in more then 4 years ask for road side assistance. My cars motor exploded, I had 8 more miles to drive. They did not help me with that. Connect me with dome rude truck driver that snapped at me that I need to pay him immediately. What a joke. I was so upset and scared. I mean I am on 285 west. Those semi truck omost hit the car with me in it. I had to call 911 for them to send police car. I was so scared. [Redacted].

  8. Maryanne says

    Say NO! to Geico!!!!! My husband was in an accident and they are so awful. The adjuster is not expected to come see his car for 2 or 3 weeks. He says he is working 14 hour days 7 days a week. Our car doors are open and in the elements, will they fix the mold and muck that will gather from rain or snow? I was in the process of looking into another company when this happened. I previously had Progressive and loved them!!! I will go back for sure, in an accident situation at Progressive we weren’t hit with a voicemail system that kept looping. I am a union member and like to solicit recommended union vendors but this is too much! No care, No compassion, No service! Good going Geico. The saddest thing is I know our car is totaled and would like to move on but I have to wait for someone to tell me this!

    • RN says

      After four years with Geico I think it’s time to move on. I never filed a claim was in a 4 car fender bender they took my car to a shop where the shop quoted am insane price to fix $72 an hour etc ..I did not get fair value for my car at all.. No help .. Customer service from the adjuster is horrible .. [Redacted] is rude the worst she might as well work for the other person … Definitely time to switch back to Allstate … Good bye Geico

  9. Gloria says

    Disappointed the way my claim was handled:

    1.My car was picked up from the scene of the accident 5 days later. Accident happened on the Dec 17th-Car was picked up on Dec 23.
    2. The day it was towed I had to wait for 1 hour for the truck to arrive.
    3. The authorization to repair was given to the shop 3 days later (Dec 26th)
    4. I returned the rental car promptly one month later, but as a result I have been for the last five days asking my friends and relatives for a ride. Geico did nothing to help me.
    5. After all of these disappointing situations, you are “rewarding” me by increasing my premium.

    I am expecting Geico to find a way to work something out to increase my satisfaction as a customer; otherwise, I will have no other choice but to look for a different insurance company.

  10. Fred "Mickey" Finn says

    An Allstate sales person called my home 3 x’s offering a RATE SAVINGS. I gave him my exact coverage –

    Here’s my return email.

    DENNIS – I APPRECIATE YOUR THOROUGHNESS, EFFICIENCY AND FOLLOW UP.

    UNFORTUNATELY YOUR QUOTE DOESN’T COME CLOSE TO BLOWING GEICO OUT OF THE WATER.
    FRANKLY YOU SHOULD SWITCH TO GEICO AND BLOW ALL STATE AWAY. JUST SAYIN’!

    CHEERS!

  11. James says

    We had a not a fault claim and were told by the adjuster that our deductible would be $250. We had our vehicle repaired and when we picked it up the deductible was $500. GEICO admitted that it was their mistake; however they would not honor the $250 quote we were given. Also, we have full coverage and rental reimbursement was not included on our policy. The rental car company told us that insurance companies deliberately do not include rental reimbursement because they don’t make any money off it. So beware. I would not recommend GEICO as an insurance company, and am looking for quotes elsewhere ([Redacted] looks good).

    • Morgan Mundane says

      When you fill out the online app it clearly ask if you want rental coverage insurance and there is an asterisk that takes you to a webpage explaining what this coverage is and the limits to the coverage per day.
      If you wish to have it you select it and it is added to your costs. I didn’t need it in that I have two cars.

  12. Thutmose Janic says

    My car was broken into for the second time in less than 90 days. I had to pay $1000 the first time it happened, so when it happened again, I knew it would cost me about the same. GEICO picks up the car over the weekend and then they are calling me for an authorization. I tell the on site rep I will not have the monies for a few weeks, he can’t handle it, call GEICO. I call GEICO, they tell me talk to the body shop. Body shop says, you will have to pay $25 a day for storage and then they say we usually charge you $50. Then I call [REDACTED] supervisor for some help, he tells me GEICO did nothing wrong. So, I am telling him it was never explained the cost to keep the car if I could not pay. Some background, the first time this happened the shop was busy and it took over two weeks for the work to get done and I had to wait and they extended the rental time. This time the shop is slow, so they are rushing my claim through to get paid. And here is my problem instead of you cyborg [REDACTED] seeing everybody as a dollar bill, take a minute and listen to people and explain what is going on. I already told them, make it right or I will be gone from GEICO. I will also post to any social media that has an outlet to voice my perspective. I may even start a blog, you can’t rush me, I am the customers.

  13. Rocky Burgess says

    Geico left my wife stranded and only handles claims m-f 8 -4:30. Their driver turned into on coming traffic causing an car to clip them and spin around and hit my wife. All they can say is file a claim with your insurance and they will collect from us. Or wait till Monday. Never buy insurance from them. They will not be there for you when you need them.

  14. Jason Kustra says

    I recently had to file a claim with geico insurance as my vehicle was broken into and all of my identification and vehicle ownership documents were stolen and I have full coverage insurance and here it is that it’s against the law to drive a vehicle in any state without the proper documents for the vehicle and now I’m being told to go pound sand as geico is refusing to assist me with the replacement of these documents as there is a police report filed and even the offer of a reward for the return of these items . I feel like I’ve invested my money in a fraudulent insurance company and the one and only time that I ever needed the assistance to get back to where I’m driving my vehicle legally with all of the documents for this vehicle that they ( geico ) have really let me down. I really must say that the insurance industry has really become a BIG money SCAM operation and I would never again go with an insurance company that is only out there for the MONEY and not out there and in business for the customer, so in the end I state to you geico ” your insurance company service rating really sucks and I’m gonna come for my claim pay out check ” and yes I think you can pretty much well tell that I’m upset with what they(geico )said about my claim. Thank you , j.g.kustra

    • Morgan Mundane says

      Everything changed with the so called No fault laws years ago. I run into you, your at fault for being there and I’m at fault for hitting you so what happens. My company takes care of me, your company takes care of you and both find ways to inch up your premiums so they get their money back.
      Only if their are injuries does this change. Then the insurance companies go after each other in court as to who really was at fault and who is paying those medical bills.

  15. Dylan says

    If you were a better driver they wouldn’t complicate your life. Everyone claims that they are not at fault yet when all the facts are weighed they played some role in the accident. Your own insurance company isn’t going to be cozy and warm about this if you are found to be partially at-fault. All insurance companies set rates based on the quality of the drivers on the policy. Good luck with this. The Arbitration Board also considers your actions and they are also not cozy and warm. They are honest.

    • Barbara says

      Please explain how I was at all at fault when an 18 wheeler truck reversed into my vehicle while stopped at a red light… with a line of traffic behind me and AMPLE space between us, he just backed up. Even the police officer who witnessed the accident wanted to know why the truck driver didn’t look back before reversing. [Redacted]

  16. deneice says

    i simply asked for a “quote” on the price to add someone to my policy. they added this person without my consent. now i have to pay almost $300 for what? a quote does not confirm a policy. im changing insurance companies. they will not even take the new persons name off unless i show proof of other insurance for said person, which i have to fax to them. get that! geico has lost me for good.

    • Lee says

      If they are in your house hold, have a liscense, and no car of their own, then the presumption of accessibiity to your car may be what is driving the automatic coverage{addition} to your account. I believe that folks in your HOUSEHOLD do have some insurance protection even if they are not in your car when an accident occurs.

  17. David says

    GOT MY GEICO SHOCKER… After 20+ years with American Family I switched to Geico… I did massive research to try to avoid any gotcha’/surprises… spoke with agents at length before I decided to buy… I accepted my 6 month rate… was pleased, except when my daughter got in a $1,100 accident (total)… my rate went up 20% in the MIDDLE of the same policy term! I expected my rate would go up when my policy renewed, NOT in MID policy!
    “Caveat emptor” – Buyer Beware! Hopefully, you may now be better informed.

    I may not have been so frosted about this if someone may have advised me, saying “When you buy with Geico, although you may get an initially lower rate, your insurance policy will immediately cost more, when you get in an accident and you’re a new customer.”

  18. Dona says

    GEICO is HORRIBLE!! My car was totaled in Hurrican Sandy and Geico did not offer me fair market value for the car i lost. we went back and forth to no avail, they sent numerous inspectors and are still jerking me around. I would NEVER get another Geico Policy nor recommend Geico to anyone. to date, i am still not settled. you ROT geico!!!!

    • Lee says

      Sounds awful an ordeal but without some details/facts [Year of the car, mileage, offer, your take} it could also sound like sour milk that you are asking us to swallow.

  19. jennifer says

    Thanks for correcting Clotide. You may have a good driving record but not everyone does. With insurance you are paying into a pool and when claims happen its paid out of that pool. Its also like you mentioned where you live has a factor, along with a multitude of other factors. Cost of living goes up and so does insurance.

  20. Clotilde Olivares says

    I think is “RIDICULOUS” that I was charge $11.98 for a change of address. And “Y” is my policy going up? I’m a safe driver. No tickets!!!! The reason I switch to U, from my previous insurance was for the same reason. I am not happy with the changes.

    DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER!!!

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Clotilde,

      It is very common for insurance rates to adjust when you change your address. The reason is because the location of where your car is primarily stored is a big factor when calculating rates. Some people see decreases, but unfortunately some see increases too.

      • Lee says

        I changed address (Fom NYC to Albany, NY) and after anticipating still having to make additional payments, received a large refund. Location, Location, Location.
        So while you are not happy, te could be a brighter siide in that would be unhappy if you had to pay and additional $250.

    • Morgan Mundane says

      Many moons ago I got out the Navy. Moved three blocks to an apartment waiting for a job opening. My insurance went up 60%. Found out I have moved into the majic insurance circle that said I was a Chicago driver now and not an outstate driver.

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