UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Founded in 1949, CSE originally offered its products only to public employees but opened its doors to the general public in 1980. They still hold to their original market by offering tailored products and added discounts to the following groups:
- Law Enforcement
- Military Personnel
- Government employees
CSE writes personal insurance for a variety of homes, auto, and even boat insurance. They also write commercial insurance in specific markets.
Products are sold through more than 700 agents across four states – California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah – as well over the phone. Although they are licensed in several other states, CSE currently writes new business only in these four states. Their headquarters is located in Walnut Creek, CA.
CSE operates as a subsidiary of France-based global insurance company Covea.
CSE has a basic lineup of personal lines products as well as commercial insurance. All products are offered in all four states, although there are some differences across states.
The auto program from CSE is a basic package policy with a variety of add-on options available. The base package includes liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage.
Options that can be added to this basic package include:
- Full glass coverage
- Equivalent replacement cost
- Original Equipment Manufacturer
- Loan/Lease Gap coverage
- Rideshare coverage
- Roadside assistance
CSE offers a list of fairly standard discounts, including multi-policy, good driver, and good student.
CSE offers a basic homeowner’s package on a named perils basis that covers the structure, personal property, liability, loss of use, and more. The base package can then be enhanced and customized with a series of available endorsements:
- Extended replacement cost
- Valuables coverage
- Equipment breakdown
- Contents all risk coverage
- Identity Theft
- Service line coverage
Again, there are a series of common discounts available, with an additional discount offered to civil servants both current and retired.
In addition to single-family homeowners, CSE also offers landlord, condo, and renters insurance package policies.
Other Personal Insurance
Aside from home and auto, CSE also writes boat insurance as well as personal umbrella insurance.
Boat coverage is available for a variety of personal watercraft, including sailboats, that are less than 15 years old and valued at less than $35,000.
CSE writes commercial insurance specifically for apartments, condominiums, townhouse associations, planned unit developments, and small office buildings.
They offer a package policy that covers structures, liability, building income and extra expense, and several endorsement options.
Like all of their policies, CSE offers a list of available discounts on their commercial policies.
CSE operates on an agent-focused basis and instead redirects visitors to their website to contact an agent in order to obtain a quote. That means online quoting is not an option, which is typical for this type of insurance company.
With their discounts for public employees, we would expect that market to get the best rates from this company. The general public will probably see better rates elsewhere.
Claims can be filed by calling a 24/7 toll-free line. Although it is not made entirely clear, it seems that there may be an online claim reporting option when logged into the customer portal. We were unable to confirm this, however.
Glass claims and roadside assistance have separate toll-free numbers, which is fairly common.
Beyond the basics, the CSE website provides very little information about their claims process or service.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
CSE has an A+ rating with the Bette Business Bureau (BBB), where they have only six complaints on file in the past three years. Most of those were recent; five were closed in the past 12 months. Still, this a low complaint volume for a company of this size.
The company has a three-star overall rating on Yelp, where there are 54 reviews in total. The negative reviews are mostly focused on a difficult claims experience. Positive reviews cite great customer service, easy claims, and good rates. The company appears to be very good at responding to complaints, which is always a good sign.
The Bottom Line
CSE has a good basic auto and home program as well as a few specialty policies, which will make it one-stop shopping for some customers. Their best rates are likely to be offered to those who qualify for their public employee discount programs, but for the general public, they may not offer the lowest prices. They do have a low complaint volume and are worth considering for those who like to work with an agent.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.