UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Columbia Insurance Group
The roots of Columbia Insurance Group go back to 1874 and the creation of the Boone County Home Mutual Insurance Company in Columbia, Missouri. Like many mutual insurers of that era, it was founded with the intention of providing fire and windstorm insurance for homes and farms on the frontier, where coverage is difficult to obtain.
In 1981, Boone County (by this point known as Home Mutual Insurance) was merged into Columbia Mutual Insurance Company, along with several other companies. Columbia Insurance Group was created in 1989 with a number of mutual insurance companies under its banner. Today the group comprises five different companies:
- Association Casualty Insurance Company
- Citizens Mutual Insurance Company
- Columbia Mutual Insurance Company
- Columbia National Insurance Company
- Georgia Casualty & Surety Company
Columbia Insurance Group offers their products in 14 states through these companies; policies are sold by independent agents. Columbia’s headquarters is still located in Columbia, Missouri.
Columbia Insurance Products
Products are mainly commercial insurance and farm coverage, with a couple of personal insurance options as well.
Columbia offers two lines of commercial insurance: auto, and umbrella. They do not write homeowners insurance, although it is available as part of a farmowner’s package policy.
The auto insurance program is fairly straightforward. They offer what they call their “One and Done” auto policy, which appears to be a package policy that includes the usual options as well as roadside assistance and rental car coverage. The website was not entirely clear as to whether or not there is an added premium for these options, but the impression is that they are included in a single rate.
Coverage is available for personal auto as well as recreational vehicles and classic cars. There is a good list of common discounts, including multi-car, good student, and defensive driving.
Also available from Columbia is personal umbrella insurance, which offers extended liability coverage beyond the limits of underlying policies.
Farm insurance is one of the oldest products offered by Combined, and they offer a full range of options.
Farmowner’s Insurance is a package policy that is aimed at both hobby and commercial farmers needing coverage for their home as well as farming operations on the same land. It provides coverage similar to a homeowner’s policy, but also adds on coverage for farm equipment, livestock, and crops. There are two main endorsements available, both of which are package endorsements. Agri-Extra increases the limits on personal property and adds replacement cost. It also includes coverage for pumps and wells and water damage. Agri-Plus adds even more coverage, including identity theft, farm extra expense, borrowed equipment, and more.
Farm auto provides coverage specific to farm vehicles, particularly trucks and tractors that are used for farming purposes.
Farm property is an a la carte option that allows farmers to pick and choose the specific coverage they require based on the type of farming operation and their particular needs. Inland Marine is one of the options offered.
Finally, farm umbrella coverage is also available to provide extended liability coverage.
Columbia has a wide range of commercial insurance products for various business types. They offer a business owner’s package policy that brings together common coverages for small to medium businesses with basic insurance needs.
Beyond that, they also offer:
- Commercial auto
- Cyber Suite coverage
- Employment Practices Liability
- General Liability
- Business Property
- Commercial Umbrella
- Worker’s Compensation
These options can be purchased in various combinations to create a commercial package as well.
Columbia does not offer any rate information on their website, nor did we see any option for obtaining a quote online. Quotes are available solely through local agents, and with a company that operates in this way (particularly a smaller company), it is not surprising to see that an online option is not offered.
Columbia is a smaller insurance company, and with an agent-driven approach we generally expect that they will come in a little higher than average for rates. This type of company usually makes up for higher premiums with extra attention to service.
Claims can be filed by calling a toll-free number and then entering the extension for the claims department. The website does not specify if this number is available 24/7, but since the auto section mentions having 24/7 roadside assistance, it seems likely.
The website does not leave an option to file a claim online, which is again common for companies of this size. Columbia’s website says they have a 98% claims satisfaction record, but it is always a little questionable when a company provides their own statistics.
The website offers some basic information regarding what to do after an accident, and also provides a search function to find the nearest claims service center. There is no mention of a preferred repair network.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Columbia Insurance Group is not Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited but has an A+ rating and no complaints on file in the past three years.
With no complaints or reviews found on any of the usual websites, we can fairly safely conclude that Columbia is not creating much in the way of angry customers. In the insurance industry, no reviews for a company is usually a good sign, since people mainly take to the internet to complain rather than to say something nice.
The Bottom Line
Columbia is likely to appeal to people looking for farm or commercial insurance, and probably would not land on the radar if you are only seeking personal coverage since their options are limited. We were unable to find anything of concerning terms of reputation – in fact, there is little out there regarding this company at all – so they may well be worth considering if your needs match their offerings.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.