UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Central Mutual
Central traces its roots back to the Van Wert Country Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which was founded in its namesake town in 1876. As the company expanded beyond its home county, a name change to Central Manufacturers’ Mutual took place. Shortly after expansion that opened the first branch office in Boston, the company simplified the name to Central Mutual Insurance.
The 1950s saw further expansion, with branch offices opened in Dallas and Atlanta, and in 1961 a companion stock company, All American Insurance Company was created. The two companies operate as Central Insurance Companies, and they serve 23 states through local independent agents.
Central Mutual writes auto insurance and homeowners on the personal side as well as business insurance policies. States covered are: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Central Mutual Products
Central Mutual offers three basic product lines. Policy availability and coverage vary from state to state.
Home, condo, rental, and tenant insurance policies are all available under Central Mutual’s home insurance line.
Their Homeowner’s policy is available as a base level policy or with as one of several enhanced policies. The standard policy covers replacement cost for the home, personal property, liability, and other basics, with the option to add on endorsements.
The Summit policy is an enhanced package that adds on additional coverage, such as higher limits for unscheduled personal property and guaranteed replacement cost coverage on the dwelling. Other added benefits include:
- Stolen key coverage
- Credit card and forgery protection
- Food spoilage
- Increased debris removal coverage
- Data recovery
- Water backup coverage
The Signature policy is the highest level of homeowner’s coverage, and it includes even more added benefits. In addition to guaranteed replacement cost for the home, it also includes replacement cost on personal property. Other benefits include:
- Replacement cost loss settlement paid even before repairs are complete
- Cash out settlement option
- Waiver of deductible for claims over $50,000
- First claim forgiveness
- Extended living expenses
- Tree removal and replacement
- Utility line protection
- Water backup
- Fraud protection
- Loss prevention device installation coverage
Most of the included items on the package policies can also be added a la carte to the base level policy for customization. A Plus Ten endorsement is offered that adds ten of the most popular endorsements to the policy in one.
In addition to traditional homeowners, Central Mutual also writes policies for condos and for rental units. Renters insurance coverage for personal property and liability is also available.
Like the home insurance products, auto insurance is also offered at several levels.
The base policy covers all of the basics, including liability with the option to add full coverage.
The Summit policy offers more comprehensive coverage, with added benefits like
- Loan/lease gap coverage
- Lockout coverage
- Increased medical payments limits
- Transporation expenses
- Airbag replacement
- Personal effects
- Towing coverage
- Waiver of deductible on specific types of loss
- Death benefit
- Pet protection
Child car seat coverage
The top-level plan is again the Signature. In addition to everything above, this plan also includes OEM parts replacement, worldwide rental car coverage, and short-term replacement cost loss settlement.
Several individual endorsements are available, as well as a package endorsement called Auto Plus that includes several popular optional coverages.
Central Mutual writes business package policies for a variety of industries, including light industrial, service industry, wholesalers, auto service/repair, builder’s risk, restaurants, retailers, and contractors. Professional offices can also obtain coverage.
The packages can be customized to each company’s needs based on the industry and include:
- Commercial property
- General Liability
- Commercial Auto
- Worker’s Compensation
- Specialized liability
- Cybersecurity protection
Central Mutual does not have an online quoting option, in keeping with their long history of sales through independent agents.
It is unlikely that they are competitive with the lowest priced of direct sales insurance companies, but they do offer very comprehensive policies with plenty of add-ons, it might be important to focus on value than the premium here.
Claims can be filed online my logging into your myCentral account, through the myCentral mobile app, or even through the company’s Facebook page. We found that last one to be a surprising option, not only for a smaller company but for any company – it is the first time we have seen this option offered.
Claims can also either be filed by contacting your agent directly, or by calling a toll-free line. There is no indication as to whether or not the line is available 24/7. The company also has a separate line for auto glass claims.
The online login can also be used to keep tabs on the progress of your claim. In terms of the actual claims process, there is little information.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Central Insurance Companies has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with only 9 complaints on file in the past three years. Only two complaints were filed in the past 12 months.
We found only 4 reviews on Yelp, for an overall 2.5-star rating. The complaints are split between billing issues and claims, but all four cite slow response time and lack of helpful customer service.
Overall, there is very few reviews of this company out there, and not a large enough complaint volume to raise any major red flags.
The Bottom Line
Central Mutual offers some very good personal insurance policies, with the option for a lot of bells and whistles as well as a more basic, budget plan. Without any rates, we can’t say just how much value is really offered with these policies, but we don’t see anything in the complaint volume that leads us to be worried about the customer service side. If you want the personal service of an agent and seek value over the lowest price, they might be worth a look.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.