UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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The merger placed Allied with a Fortune 100 company and launched them onto a larger playing field, offering more name recognition. Allied promises what most agent-driven companies do – great service and superior products, if not the best prices.
Allied Insurance Overview
Allied Mutual Automobile Association was founded in Des Moines, Iowa in 1929. Originally an auto insurance provider, the company expanded over the years into personal property & casualty, business insurance, and farm/ranch insurance.
In 1998, Allied merged with Nationwide Insurance, one of the country’s largest insurance groups, taking over their independent agency system. Allied today handles all of the business for Nationwide Insurance Company of America. Other companies under Allied are AMCO Insurance Company and Depositors Insurance Company.
Through these companies, Allied is licensed in nearly all states; Allied Insurance itself is licensed in 34 states, while Nationwide has the most coverage, licensed in all states except Hawaii, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Coverage and policy types available vary by state, but Allied covers most of the nation in some format.
Allied uses independent agents to sell all of its policies, and is dedicated to this business format, promising local, personal, and customized coverage as a result. Agents are independent, and not captive as with some of the major competitors in the industry, which means they don’t work directly for Allied.
Headquarters today remain in Des Moines, Iowa, although the company has regional offices in several states, including California and Colorado. These offices represent some of the other companies absorbed into Allied during the merger with Nationwide.
Allied offers a strong list of products including auto, home, and life – the big three of personal lines – specialty policies, business insurance and agribusiness. As part of Nationwide, they land at number 8 among the largest auto insurers in the nation, with a 4% market share. They are also one of the top agribusiness insurers in the country, not surprising considering their general focus on the Midwest and roots in Iowa.
In 2014, Nationwide announced that it would begin a branding change to move all of the company’s subsidiaries under the Nationwide name, dropping all of the other brands to reduce confusion. As of the writing of this review, however, Allied continues to operate under its own name, but uses the old Nationwide logo and is noted as being a Nationwide company.
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Allied has a full range of insurance products, making them pretty much a one-stop shop for personal and business insurance products alike. Combined with their parent company, Nationwide, Allied can offer just about anything anyone could want.
Allied promises a customizable auto insurance product that allows drivers to pick and choose the coverage they want. While that sounds novel, it’s actually what most car insurance companies offer – a list of basics and and additional options that can be selected to create the right policy for your needs.
Most of Allied’s coverage options are quite standard. They include comprehensive and collision, rental reimbursement, and roadside assistance. Also available are OEM parts replacement, new car replacement, and loan/lease gap coverage.
Allied also offers trendy coverage options such as accident forgiveness and a deductible rewards program that reduces the deductible over time for every year of save driving. Though Allied refers to these as Allied Rewards, they are not a rewards program as some insurance companies have, but rather add-ons and generally gimmicky programs that ultimately drive up the cost of premiums.
Allied Extra is a package of added coverage that is included when a customer insures both their car and home with Allied. It provides:
- Single deductible when both home and auto are damaged in the same occurrence
- Emergency lockout coverage for home and car
- Airbag replacement for accidental deployment
- $10,000 accidental death benefit
Auto discounts available are generally the basics, with common choices like good student, accident free, multi-vehicle, and new vehicle. Since Nationwide traces its roots back to the Farm Bureau, allied also includes a discount for members.
Allied offers coverage for a number of different toys and specialty vehicles under their Powersports program. The products that fall under this banner are:
- Motorcycle insurance, which includes all the basics as well as coverage for gear and equipment, guest rider medical, and agreed value options
- Boat insurance, which includes liability and coverage for the boat, as well as options to add on-water towing and labor, fishing equipment coverage, and more
- Recreational Vehicle insurance, which covers things like extended towing an labor, personal effects, and an optional full-timer’s package
- ATV insurance, with coverage that includes an OEM parts endorsement
- Snowmobile insurance, which can be customized with an added equipment endorsement
Allied has a comprehensive homeowners insurance program that covers all of the expected basics as well as some useful extras. Features that are considered optional or part of an add-on package with other companies are included in the standard Allied policy, such as:
- Additional living expenses during a covered loss
- Debris removal
- Replacement of trees and other landscape features
- Repairs to protect from future losses
- Fire department charges
- Forgery and fraud coverage
Allied also has some add-ons for their homeowners package policy, which include increased replacement cost coverage, equipment breakdown coverage, and mortgage protection insurance.
In addition to standard homeowners, Allied offers several other types of home insurance:
- Dwelling Fire policies for non owner-occupied or seasonal homes, offers a more basic coverage package
- Condo policies, which cover the walls-in structure needs of condo owners as well as liability and personal property
- Renter’s Insurance, which covers personal property and liability for tenants
- High-value items and collections insurance
Much like the auto insurance program, Allied’s homeowners insurance offers a list of fairly common discounts.
Allied offers the most common types of life insurance policies. Term life is available in 10, 20, and 30-year terms. Traditional whole life policies are available, as are universal and variable universal options.
Other Personal Products
Allied also offers additional products for personal protection. Personal Umbrella insurance is available for increased liability coverage above and beyond underlying policies. Allied also offers Identity Theft coverage.
There are several other products that are sold by other Nationwide companies, which expands the total product offerings. Among them is VPI, Nationwide’s pet insurance company.
Allied writes commercial insurance for companies of many sizes. They have products that can be customized for a wide range of different industries, including:
- Auto service and repair
- Golf course
Commercial Insurance options can be combined in packages or purchased individually to meet the needs of any particular business. Available products include:
- Commercial Auto, including available fleet coverage
- Commercial Property, with additional coverage available for builder’s risk, building ordinance, equipment breakdown, and more
- Commercial Liability, including general liability, employment practices liability, employee benefits liability, and more
- Commercial Umbrella
Agriculture is a big part of Nationwide’s history and they still have some connection with Farm Bureaus across the country. Comprehensive farm and ranch coverage are available directly from Allied’s parent company, Nationwide, with options for farms, ranches, and commercial farming operations. Crop and livestock insurance are also available.
Prices and Premiums
In spite of Allied’s status as a major insurance company and part of one of the largest insurance companies in the country, they do not offer online quoting. This is partially because their products are sold by agents, but not entirely, since other major agent-driven companies do offer quotes online. For a company the size and stature of Allied, it is a major oversight that keeps them in a bygone era and prevents them from a level playing field with competitors such as Allstate.
It is especially surprising given that Nationwide itself does offer online quoting; although Allied operates independently, it’s not out of line to expect the same sort of service and options from each branch of the company.
As an agent-driven insurance company, Allied follows the common format of putting service and quality products ahead of pricing. Certainly insurance can be a “you get what you pay for” product, but it’s not always the case that lower prices come with poor service or vice versa, although companies not known for low prices tend to argue more value for the dollar.
Allied does offer a good list of common discounts, and has multi-policy bundling discounts as well. Their auto policies are written with a 12-month term, as opposed to a 6-month, which means rate increases are only possible once a year, and not more frequently. This can result in savings for some people, but is a minimal rate reducer overall.
Advertising and Media
Allied isn’t a major force in advertising; as a Nationwide company they bow to all of the various media efforts made by the parent company. Like all Nationwide companies, they are able to rely on the “On Your Side” slogan and the catchy, memorable Nationwide jingle.
The fact that the Allied name is not very recognizable is part of the reason for Nationwide’s announced decision to re-brand everything under one name and logo, which as previously mentioned has not been completed at the time of this review.
Nationwide is an enormous company with several very large subsidiaries, however, many of those subsidiaries are not well known or recognized as a part of Nationwide. It’s unclear just how such a shift would take place, or if Allied will retain its own name in any form, but it would certainly change how marketing by Nationwide impacts Allied.
Shortly after the original announcement, Nationwide revealed a new logo featuring an eagle in front of the letter N. The new logo is now apparent on the Allied website.
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Although they are behind the times when it comes to quoting, Allied is on top of things in the area of claims. They offer multiple ways to submit a claim, including the most cutting edge options in the industry. Allied policyholders can submit claims by:
- Calling 1-800-282-1446
- Filing a claim online through customer accounts
- Contacting an agent
- Using the Allied mobile app
The use of a mobile app for claims puts Allied ahead of a number of major insurance companies. They offer the option not only to file but to also upload photos to help with the processing of the claim. The app also allows customers to follow the status of a claim. This can also be done through the customer account section of the website.
The claims procedure starts with several options for having damage assessed. The first is the use of one of Allied’s drive-in claims centers, where the car can be inspected quickly and a written estimate provided. This process takes about 45 minutes and can make things go faster with the claim. After the estimate is written, the adjuster will work with the repair shop chosen by the policyholder to handle all payments and repairs, and adjust estimates if new damage is found by the shop during the process.
Customers can also go directly to an Allied Vehicle Repair Network shop, where the damage will be assessed and repairs begun. Work through this network is guaranteed for the life of the car, and adjusters work directly with the shops.
As always, customers have the choice of repair shops, whether in the network or outside of it, although they will forfeit the guarantee of repairs if the company is not in the network.
Allied will also help customers with obtaining a rental car for the duration of the repairs, and can provide other services such as towing and cleanup after fire or other damage that requires special restoration.
The Allied website doesn’t provide detailed information on timing or what to expect as claims proceed. They do promise quick claims response and have clearly made an effort to provide as many ways as possible to make reporting and proceeding with claims work easier on the customer. Claims will likely follow the standard stages of reporting, customer contact by the adjuster, investigation and estimate, and claims settlement.
Overall, the company appears to have a really solid claims program, up to date with current technology, and offering easy access to service and repairs.
Allied doesn’t appear on J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction rankings, although parent company Nationwide does and is ranked “better than most” with a 4 out of 5 star ranking. We’ll take a look at Allied’s overall customer satisfaction and how often claims service comes up in complaints against the company in the next section.
Consumer Feedback and Ratings
At the time of this review, the Better Business Bureau was in the process of updating their pages for both Nationwide and Allied. It appears that the BBB is looking to merge together some of the Nationwide companies under the main Nationwide page. This may be a result of Nationwide’s re-branding efforts and plans to bring all companies under one name, but there is no explanation for it at this time. As a result, there is no rating nor a list of complaints available until the changes are completed.
Previous rankings have placed Allied with an A rating and status as BBB accredited.
Like most major insurance companies, Allied has its share of poor reviews. They also have a pretty good number of positive reviews, which is always an encouraging thing to see with an insurance company.
Reviews on Viewpoints.com are mixed, some negative and some positive. Many of the negative reviews appear to stem from some confusion on the policyholder’s part as to common insurance company practices and coverage. Most impressive is that there are several reviews citing excellent claims service – while positive reviews can be found for insurance companies, the majority of them come from customers who have had little interaction or have never had a claim, which leaves out one of the most important aspects of the overall experience.
Positive reviews of Allied’s claims service most definitely give the company a boost in overall reputation, especially when the service is referred to as fast, friendly, and smooth. There are also some complaints about claims service, which is one of the most common areas of complaint for any insurance company.
One of the problems with a company like Allied that falls under a parent company and has some fluidity in the use of the name is that reviews may be applied to the wrong company. In some cases, common review sites do not have a page for Allied, but do have one for Nationwide. Since it would be too difficult to separate the two, we are unable to differentiate between some reviews.
That said, the reviews that are directly applied to Allied really don’t raise a lot of red flags. The very fact that there are positive reviews is impressive. With a lack of information from the BBB and what appears to be upcoming changes in how Allied and Nationwide complaints are registered, it’s hard to form a complete picture at the time of this review.
As the agency side of Nationwide Insurance, Allied is certainly a company with a strong financial backing. While the company lacks modern options for quoting, they may appeal to those who prefer the more traditional route of agent quoting.
Allied has a solid claims program that offers many options and allows customers to report and follow up on claims in real-time with advanced technology, including a mobile app. This may help to balance out the lack of modern options on the policy purchasing side of things for those who want a modern insurance company as well as personal service. Claims service overall appears to be solid, a top factor in recommending an insurance company.
When it comes to price, we were unable to obtain much in the way of information for a solid comparison, however it seems likely that most drivers will find a better rate elsewhere, particularly if they select a direct-buy insurance company like Geico or Esurance.
The jury is still somewhat out on whether the company’s service is at a standard that would make it worth paying a little extra for coverage, but there are some encouraging reviews, making Allied a company that may be worth a look if you don’t mind taking a little extra time to get quotes from an agent.
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