UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Elephant Insurance
Operating in the U.S. since 2009, Elephant chose their name to represent the strength, stability, and protectiveness of an elephant towards its herd. The company promises that all of their customers are treated as a “part of the herd”, with responsive and helpful customer service.
Elephant is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Admiral Group, a Wales-based insurance company with a strong financial presence in the United Kingdom. Elephant began as a U.K. car insurance company in Wales in 2000 – the first entirely online company in the nation – eventually expanding into Canada and then the U.S.
Elephant underwrites only car insurance, but the company offers bundling discounts on policies through partners. Their partners are Homesite for home insurance as well as for life insurance, and Dairyland for motorcycle insurance.
All policies are sold online as well as over the phone through licensed agents. Elephant’s U.S. headquarters is in Henrico, Virginia, and they sell policies in that state as well as in Maryland, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Elephant Insurance Products
Since auto insurance is the only product directly underwritten by Elephant, our focus will be on that product for the purpose of this review. Check out our reviews of the partner companies for information on their products and services.
Elephant offers all of the basics of car insurance to meet both state legal requirements and lender requirements as well. They also have all of the usual add-on options including rental reimbursement and roadside assistance.
Elephant partners with Urgent.ly to provide roadside assistance to their customers. This newcomer promises a modern approach to roadside assistance, servicing customers with a system similar to Uber. It uses a mobile app to help track your location and dispatch assistance quickly. The service is included in all policies with roadside assistance added on.
Also available on Elephant auto policies are a few of the more popular trends in recent years, usually only seen with larger insurance companies. These include a deductible that diminishes over time (available at an additional premium) and eventually is a $0. Accident forgiveness is added to all qualifying customers after they have been insured with Elephant for several years; other companies sell this as an endorsement at an additional charge. While both of these come as a bit gimmicky, they do have appeal to many drivers.
One of the most unusual perks offered to customers is the access to legal advice through the company’s Legal Assistance program. This program requires an additional premium.
Elephant has a solid list of discounts for auto insurance, including a bundling discount of up to 9% if you purchase a policy through one of their partners. Some of these discounts are pretty hefty – multi-car discounts can be up to 39% in some locations and up to 27% in all states. They also have a 15% discount for quoting online, which is much higher than similar discounts elsewhere. Other common discounts include good student and safety features.
Elephant Insurance does not offer coverage in our usual sample area, therefore we are unable to offer a comparison of their rates. We did use their online quoting system to run through a quick sample quote, however. We used the company’s headquarters zip code in Virginia to quote a 30-year-old single male driving a 2010 Honda Accord with a clean record.
The quoting process is straightforward and does not require much in the way of personal information. We returned a rate of $67 a month, or $348 for liability-only coverage. The system gave us limits of 100/300/25.
Adding on comprehensive coverage and collision coverage with $500 deductibles increased that quote to $97 a month, or $515 every six months. We were also able to see the charge for legal assistance as well as for the diminishing deductible – each of these will add an additional $60 to the policy.
Again, we cannot compare this quote to our usual sample, so it is hard to say how this company stacks up for value, though it seems to be about average.
Claims for Elephant Insurance car insurance policies can be filed in several ways.
There is a system for reporting claims online, which is in keeping with Elephant’s online approach to insurance. There is also an email address available for claims for those who do not want to use the online form.
You can also report a claim over the phone through a toll-free number, although the site does not state whether or not this number is available 24/7. A fax number and physical mailing address are also listed.
Elephant has a Repair Assistance Program that is essentially a preferred repair shop network. The system helps the insured find a reputable repair shop where claims will be handled directly and work is guaranteed. Policyholders are also welcome to choose their own shop.
The website offers a pretty good overview of what to expect from the claims process, and the information is easy to locate.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Elephant Insurance has been Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited since 2015, and they have an A+ rating. There are 183 complaints on file in the past three years, all of which are closed. That volume is a little higher than we normally expect for a smaller, regional insurance company.
Yelp has a total of 31 reviews of the company for a 1.5-star review overall. There are some highly positive reviews mixed in with the negative, which mainly cite slow claims service issues. Some of the complaints are from people who were involved in an accident with an Elephant customer. Elephant does appear to have recently begun responding to complaints on Yelp; there is no response to the older complaints.
The rating on Pissed Consumer, a total of 1.5 stars, but here there are many more reviews, a total of 216. Again, a few good reviews are mixed in with the negative, which include many more complaints about claims being denied and slow, unresponsive claims handling.
The overall complaint volume is higher than we like to see for a company this size, and we would like to see more responsiveness on the part of the company outside of the BBB – something to do appear to be working on. While there are no huge red flags, the repeated complaints about claims handling are of some concern. A lot of customers mention getting a low price from Elephant, but they seem to feel it was not worth the savings when they had a claim.
The Bottom Line
Elephant Insurance seems to have some work to do in the claims department to live up to their “part of the herd” promise. They do appear to have good prices and might appeal to budget shoppers, and some people do report a great customer service experience. Overall, Elephant may be a good choice but do be sure and compare different companies and what they offer before committing to one.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.