Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2020

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GAINSCO Insurance

Financial Strength

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Selling insurance across several Southern states, GAINSCO Insurance focuses on basic coverage in the non-standard market. Their personal insurance policies are designed to get drivers legal at an affordable price even with a blemished record.

What is GAINSCO Insurance?

GAINSCO Insurance was founded in 1978 in Dallas, Texas. Their insurance subsidiary, MGA Insurance Company, Inc. is also based out of Texas. The company also has an office in Miami, Florida, where they provide coverage and writes insurance in several other states, including:

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

The company focuses on the non-standard auto insurance market, which means their customers are those who would be considered high risk at most insurance companies. This includes drivers who have blemished records, have an international driver’s license, or are simply inexperienced.

The company sells bare-bones liability insurance policies through independent agents across the states they serve. Full coverage is also available. GAINSCO is licensed in almost every state.

GAINSCO is well known for sponsoring a successful auto racing team, Bob Stallings racing.

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Does GAINSCO Sell Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance is the company’s only product, and its emphasis is on basic insurance policies. Their insurance policies aim to provide high-risk drivers with the legal minimum required to be on the road, which is often what those in the company’s target market want.

There is little detail available regarding the available coverage, beyond the fact that they offer minimum coverage liability only and full coverage policies. This type of insurance company usually steers clear of gimmicks and add-ons and offers mainly the minimum coverage basics.

The insurer offers discounts, although they are not listed on the website. Their policies are designed to be flexible and fit the needs of high-risk drivers who have had difficulty getting coverage elsewhere.

They offer low down payments and flexible payment options to help keep insurance coverage affordable for a market that struggles with high rates.

Are the Company’s Rates Reasonable?

The company promises low prices, but it’s important to remember that low insurance costs in the non-standard market are not the same as what would be considered a low price for a standard or preferred-risk driver.

Since the company does not do business in our usual rate test areas, we are unable to provide a comparison quote. However, insurance costs can be expected to be higher across the board with this company versus a standard insurer because they have to spread the overall costs across a higher risk pool of drivers. A higher risk generally means more claims.

Non-standard auto insurance quotes should always be compared with other non-standard companies for a true apples-to-apples comparison. Most drivers who qualify for standard policies will not find the rates to be competitive, as they are not the target market for these products.

How are Claims Processed?

The company has a toll-free number available for claims reporting, available in English or Spanish, but the line is not open 24 hours. The business hours for claims reporting vary by state, with some open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For a company of this size, it is unusual to see a claims department that customers can not contact 24/7.

There is no option to report a claim online, again unusual for such a large company. Online claims reporting would make up for the lack of a 24-hour phone line and is something we generally expect to see from any insurance company of a decent size. Even smaller regional insurers are beginning to offer this service; the lack of it really stands out.

There is no information regarding the claims process on the website, although it probably follows the standard procedure of reporting, investigating, repairs, and settlements.

There is also no information on whether or not the company has a preferred repair shop network offering guaranteed repairs. This is very common and it would be unusual for a company of this size not to offer this option.

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Are There Any Consumer Complaints?

Although the company is not accredited on the Better Business Bureau website, they do have a B rating. This rating isn’t ideal for a company on this site. The BBB states the reason for the rating is due to the company failing to respond to a few complaints. The site lists a total of 42 customer service complaints in the past three years, 12 of which have been closed in the last 12 months.

The insurer does have some customer service complaints out there. They seem to be focused on claims service, which is very common for both standard and nonstandard insurers.

Nonstandard insurance companies often see a lot of customer service complaints from drivers who were insured with other companies and involved in an accident with the nonstandard insured. These customer service complaints nearly always involve slow claims service, lack of responses, and even refusal to pay. The reason for this trend with nonstandard insurers is unclear, but it may be partially due to the low coverage limits often carried by nonstandard drivers.

That said, the company really doesn’t have a large number of complaints considering the size of the company. As a relatively large regional insurer, they seem to have a fairly good reputation.

What is the Company’s Financial Strength Rating?

Rating Company Grade Financial Outlook
AM Best B+ Stable
Fitch N/A N/A

What’s the Bottom Line?

This insurer isn’t recommended for anyone who qualifies for standard insurance, however, for the nonstandard market in the company’s coverage states, they are well worth considering. Reviews indicate their rates are competitive, and while we never recommend taking out legal minimum policies, for those on a tight budget and facing nonstandard rates, GAINSCO is probably a good choice.

The company does need some improvement in one major area – claims. We’d like to see 24-hour customer service at the very least, if not online filing.

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