The Hartford Insurance Summary
The Hartford Financial Services Group was founded in 1810 in Hartford, Connecticut, where its headquarters still resides. As a financial company, it splits its business between insurance and investments, operating primarily in group benefits, individual insurance and mutual funds. The Hartford began as a fire insurance company for Connecticut merchants. By 1913, it started to offer accident and indemnity coverage, and added life insurance to its list by 1959. Today, The Hartford offers a variety of products for individuals and businesses.
Although The Hartford originally offered a wide array of wealth management products, they have since sold many of their product lines, including some life insurance and retirement planning, in order to focus on auto and property insurance. The company is affiliated with AARP, and AARP members receive special discounts and perks when they obtain insurance through The Hartford; this makes it a particularly popular provider among older drivers.
The company employs over 15,000 people, including a staff of agents across the country. The Hartford is publicly traded and has earned a positive reputation for its corporate policies and charitable activities. It’s been recognized several times by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.
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The Hartford offers insurance coverage for private automobiles, recreational vehicles and business autos. Specialized policies are also available for antique and collector cars, taking the particular needs of these vehicles into account.
Both full coverage and liability-only policies are eligible for a number of discounts, including The Hartford’s TrueLane program. TrueLane is a type of pay-as-you-go insurance that requires the driver to monitor his habits via a plugin that tracks mileage, speed, braking and more.
Aside from TrueLane, The Hartford offers a few unique product options through its Advantage and Advantage Plus packages:
- No Drop Promise – Ensures that your policy will not be dropped even if you have an accident or traffic conviction.
- Rate Protection (Six Months) – Prevents premiums from rising during that period.
- RecoverCare – A $2,500 stipend offered in addition to medical payments coverage. This coverage helps to pay for household services that an insured may be unable to complete due to an accident-related injury.
- New Car Replacement – Options for new vehicles that are totaled before they reach 15,000 miles. Qualifying vehicles are replaced without depreciation deductions.
- Advantage Plus – Encompasses all of the above while including rate protection, accident forgiveness, deductible waiver and a disappearing deductible for safe driving. However, this policy does cost more than basic auto insurance.
Although The Hartford is better known for its auto products, it does offer property insurance for homeowners, condo dwellers and renters of houses and apartments. Customers who carry both home and auto policies through the company have access to greater discounts when they bundle their policies.
The Hartford offers a few special products and programs:
- Home Replacement Cost – Up to 125% of the policy limits in the event of a total loss. Personal property can also be replaced with new items, without depreciation, in certain situations.
- Deductible Forgiveness – For large losses of $25,000 or more.
- Special Protection for Valuables – Exceeding the standard $5,000 limit on personal property.
Homeowners can also purchase umbrella insurance to accompany their property coverage. Umbrella policies provide additional liability protection when an underlying auto or home policy is exhausted.
In addition to individual policies for homes and vehicles, The Hartford also sells group policies for employers to offer as benefits to their workers. Among these offerings are life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance and accidental death insurance. Policies can be purchased individually or grouped together for a single plan depending on the needs of the employer.
Individuals who carry group life plans through The Hartford have access to a few unique perks, including beneficiary counseling services for bereaved survivors of policyholders. The Hartford also offers some funeral planning and will preparation services to group policyholders.
The Hartford Insurance Price (Rates)
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*At the time of this review, The Hartford quote system was down for the state of California, so the numbers below are from the last time we updated this page.
The Hartford offers online claims reporting for its auto and homeowners policies. Employees can also file online for short and long term disability group policies, but life and accidental death claims must be filed over the phone. Claims can be filed online by selecting the Claims option from the tab of the appropriate insurance type.
Alternatively, policyholders can file claims over the phone:
- 1-877-805-9918 – AARP Members
- 1-800-243-5860 – Auto and Home Policyholders
- 1-888-563-1124 – Life Insurance Claims
The specific claims process will depend upon the policy type and details of the claim. In general, you will need to provide an explanation of what happened and provide contact information for any other parties involved.
Once the claim has been filed, it will be assigned to an adjuster who will walk you through the rest of the process and arrange to complete an inspection or additional investigation if necessary. The Hartford is partnered with auto and home vendors who can handle your repairs if desired; if not, you can arrange to have your claim settled by check.
Consumer Research and Complaints
In J.D. Power & Associates’ 2013 Insurance Shopping Study, The Hartford fared well in all categories for consumer satisfaction. Overall, it ranked four out of five stars, with the same rating in the categories of policy offerings, price and call center representatives. Local agents did not rank as well, receiving just two out of five stars. The same rating was given for website design and usability.
The Hartford is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it does have a B+ rating on the website. The BBB site lists 322 complaints lodged against The Hartford in the last three years, with 91 having been closed during the previous 12 months. Of these, the majority are listed as issues with the product or service. Many of the more recent complaints seem to revolve around communications failures with customer service.
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The Hartford offers a lot of optional features for their auto policies, while at the same time not inflating their prices too much. Their claims process is pretty standard, but their financial strength ratings are lower than many of their competitors.
According to a JD Power survey (mentioned above) they score above average in a number of categories, but they are one of the few insurance companies that have a Better Business Bureau rating below A. They market heavily towards the older generation, and anyone who is a member of AARP can get an additional discount on their policies.
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About the Author
I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.