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With multiple subsidiaries, Amica is able to have a national reach, and execute some form of business in every state. This in addition to the fact that they are a mutual company, meaning they are owned by their policyholders rather than stockholders, gives Amica a strong backing to provide great rates and great service. A promise that is made by many, but delivered by few.
Through this review, we’ll take a look at the products, prices, and how customers feel about their service to determine whether or not Amica is successful in living up to this promise.
Amica, which stands for Automobile Mutual Insurance Company of America, was founded in 1907 in Providence, Rhode Island. The company originally offered fire insurance, theft insurance, and auto insurance. This original list of products places them as one of the oldest auto insurers overall, and the oldest mutual auto insurance company in the country.
In 1941, Amica opened its first branch office in Boston, MA. In the next several decades, the company expanded their product lineup to include homeowner’s, life, marine, and more.
Over time, the following subsidiary companies have been added to provide specific products or serve specific markets:
- Amica General Agency
- Amica General Insurance Company of California
- Amica Life Insurance Company
- Amica Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Amica Lloyd’s of Texas
- Amica Property and Casualty Insurance Company
Company licensing varies by state, with the life insurance companies offering coverage everywhere except Hawaii, and the General Agency licensed in all states but offering only life, health, and accident in California.
Auto insurance, home insurance, and life insurance remain Amica’s big three products, but they also offer a range of other home insurance options, some specialty products, and small business insurance through another company, Hiscox. Amica is a one-stop shop for individuals needing basic insurance coverage. However, they do not offer much in the way of specialty vehicle coverage for toys, with the exception of marine insurance. To round out their offerings, they also provide health, financial planning, and other similar products.
Amica is a direct-buy insurer, so they quote and sell all of their products online and over the phone with no agent to act as middleman. This generally means lower rates thanks to the elimination of agent commissions. They are also a mutual company, just as they started out, which means policyholders have a stock in the company itself and can earn cash back on some of the products Amica writes. That can be an added bonus that brings down the overall cost of insurance.
Today, the company’s headquarters are located in Lincoln, RI, not far from where they began. They also have branches in a number of locations to serve the needs of customers across the country.
Amica is focused on the big three branches of personal insurance: life, auto, and home. They don’t write commercial insurance directly, but have instead partnered with another company to offer small business insurance products.
As a mutual company, Amica is able to offer dividend policies for auto, home, marine, and personal umbrella that pay back the customer. These policies are not available in all states.
One of Amica’s original products, auto insurance, has been offered by the company for over 100 years. As a result, they have a well-developed auto insurance program that offers everything most drivers need without much in the way of gimmicks.
These features include:
- New car replacement with no depreciation in the first year
- No deductible lock replacement when keys are lost or stolen
- No deductible for accidental airbag deployment repair
- No deductible glass repair
- $1000 in bail bonds
- Reimbursement of lost wages if you have to attend court at Amica’s request
They also have an add-on package called Platinum Choice, which does come with an extra premium, but adds a variety of benefits such as:
- Added rental car coverage
- Good driving rewards
- Fraud monitoring services
- Full glass replacement
The Amica website includes a helpful feature called the Amica Advisor, which is a multi-step questionnaire designed to help customers choose the right coverage and limits for their particular needs. This interactive feature may first appear slightly gimmicky, but goes on to offer a very helpful and easy to understand service to those who are new to car insurance buying.
Amica has a solid list of auto insurance discounts, most of which are the more common options. They include multi-car, multi-line, good driver, loyalty, anti-theft, good student, and more. The multi-line discount includes the common auto/home discount as well as a discount for having a life insurance policy with Amica. Discounts vary by state, but most options are available in all areas. Most of the discounts are aimed towards good drivers, which generally means that Amica will offer their best rates to low-risk drivers – not at all uncommon.
Although Amica does offer some options and add-ons, they don’t have many of the more trendy choices, such as accident forgiveness. Additionally, they don’t currently offer a usage-based program. These programs are one of the latest moves in car insurance, allowing customers to lower their rates by providing real-time information on driving habits.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with not offering these choices – in some cases they are gimmicks that offer little in the way of real value, although there is evidence that usage-based insurance can have an impact on rates for good drivers. Either way, Amica has a solid auto insurance program with enough options and built-in features that most drivers won’t notice the lack of other add-ons, and certainly won’t miss the cost of them added into the total premium.
Amica offers all of the basics of homeowner’s insurance, including structure coverage, liability, and personal property, along with a few optional add-ons such as increased replacement cost for the home, personal property and scheduled high-value items. They also offer additional catastrophic coverage such as earthquake and flood through separate policies. Flood insurance is written through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Like the auto program, home insurance also comes with a Platinum Choice package option with the following features:
- Increased limits on liability and medical payments
- More personal property and replacement cost coverage
- Additional coverage for items like computers and jewelry
- Sewer and water back-up coverage
- Loss assessment coverage
- Lock replacement
There is a basic list of discounts available that includes the multi-line discount – which contains umbrella – safety features, and new home or remodeled home discounts. These are fairly common home insurance discounts, all of which can help to reduce premiums – especially the auto/home discount, which tends to be a healthy discount.
Amica also offers Home Business coverage that can be added on to a home insurance policy in order to better protect those who work at home. This coverage helps protect business property in your home, as well as adding extra liability coverage for the different risks of a home office.
Identity theft coverage is another available add-on that can create a complete policy to protect against a larger number of risks.
In addition to covering standard single-family homes, Amica also writes home insurance policies for condo owners or renters who need personal property and liability protection, but have different structure coverage needs (in the case of renters, no structure coverage needs).
Amica writes term life as level term and annual renewable term, and whole life including a simplified option.
Term policies are available in five-year increments from 10 to up to 30 years. The annual renewable term policy renews yearly, which means the rate is not locked in, but the length of the term is more flexible. Death benefits start at $100,000 and go up to $1 million and beyond.
Regular whole life is available for a permanent option, as well as a simplified issue whole life with benefits from $5,000 to $25,000. These policies are easier to obtain and make it affordable to obtain final expenses coverage.
Amica doesn’t currently offer universal life, which is unusual for an insurance company that counts life as one of its biggest products. They stick to basic life insurance options that reduce confusion and help customers get basic coverage quickly.
Amica writes boat and yacht policies for watercrafts of all sizes. Coverage is available for sailboats as well as powered vessels. There are special savings and discounts available varying by state and type of craft to help lower premiums.
Specialty Health and Care Products
Amica offers several options to provide protection for health and long-term care related needs. These policies include:
- Long-term-care insurance
- Second to die insurance
- Disability Income
- Health insurance ranging from short term to comprehensive coverage (underwritten by another company)
- Structured settlement plans
Amica helps customers with financial planning for retirement by offering a few basic products. They have both ROTH and traditional IRAs, as well as annuities to help provide retirement income.
Other Personal Products
Amica also offers a few additional personal products to choose from. Such as personal umbrella to provide excess liability coverage, in addition to wedding and event policies to provide coverage for risks like cancellation, postponement, and liability risks.
Small Business Insurance
Amica partners with business insurance giant Hiscox to provide a large variety of small business insurance products and options. Other companies underwrite these, and Amica doesn’t handle administration, but assists customers in finding coverage.
Prices and Premiums
As a direct-buy insurance company, Amica should be able to offer lower auto insurance rates than many competitors who use an agent based system. They have lower overhead and don’t need to pay agent commissions, which as a general rule translates into lower rates.
Amica also promises to offer great rates, and the good news is that they keep that promise. Amica consistently comes in well below average on rate comparisons – a good 25% below average, placing them among the more affordable companies out there. While there are companies that do offer lower rates, they don’t all offer the additional discounts and cash back options that Amica has.
Customers have access to both home and life discounts, which can mean a pretty big savings overall, especially when all three are purchased in one place. The auto/home discount alone is advertised at 15%, which is not the biggest bundling discount, but still significant, particularly for an insurance company that already offers good rates. There are also plenty of additional discounts available on auto policies to help bring rates down.
Additionally, customers can choose a dividend policy, which will pay out a cash back amount annually. Although a dividend is not guaranteed every year, Amica states that they have paid dividends equal to 20% of the policy premium on those policies for the past 40 years. That’s an option that can reduce the overall cost of insurance, as long as the dividend is actually paid.
Amica’s online quoting system does require a lot of personal information to obtain a quote. While some people might be uncomfortable providing that information, it does often mean more accurate quotes up front, and less margin for error when the actual policy goes through.
Amica definitely impresses with rates, but low rates mean little if an insurance company doesn’t come through when it counts, like when there is a claim. Amica provides a great deal of service and support on their website when it comes to the process of filing and dealing with a claim.
Amica has two methods of reporting a claim: online and over the phone.
- 1-800-242-6422 – To report an auto, home, umbrella or marine claim
- 1-800-234-5433 – To report a life or disability claim
- Customers who wish to report a claim online can do so by logging into their Amica account on the website
- Claims can also be reported by non-customers via a secondary online claims system, which can also be used to update claims information
Like the insurance buying Advisor, there is also an interactive Claims Advisor page that offers helpful step-by-step information on the claims process and what the insured is expected to do along the way. This is available for both auto and home claims, as well as for a claim that involves both auto and home damage from the same event.
For both auto and home insurance policies, Amica offers a Repair Assistance Program through which the company will recommend a repair shop or service. All of these providers will warranty their work for as long as you own the car or the home. This is common to most major insurance companies, and as always the policyholder can also choose their own repair shop.
Amica handles claims similarly to most insurance companies, assigning an adjuster who will investigate the incident, examine the damage, and then put together a settlement based on the policy limits and the final fault determination.
Customers can check the status of a claim by calling the claims department or by logging into their customer account on the website.
When it comes to how customers feel about Amica’s claims service, the word is excellent. In the 2014 claims satisfaction survey done by J.D. Power, Amica took the top honors.
Amica was the only company to earn a 5 out of 5 rating for claims service, with a count of 900 out of 1000 points. That ranks them above higher-priced insurers including giants like Allstate, State Farm, and Farmers, as well as above direct-buy competitors such as GEICO, which ranks below the industry average for satisfaction.
Amica doesn’t just rank well in auto claims. They also took J.D. Power’s top honors for property claims satisfaction in 2015, with 888 out of 1000 points and a 5 out of 5 ranking. This points to great claims service across the board for Amica’s product offerings, and not just for auto insurance customers.
Consumer Feedback and Ratings
We already know that Amica performs extremely well when it comes to happy customers in the claims department, and that’s a large part of any insurance company’s reputation – probably the most important part.
Amica is also a BBB accredited company since 1957, and holds an A+ rating. As of the time of this review, there were a total of 72 complaints filed against Amica with the BBB, and 19 of those were closed in the past 12 months. Those numbers are impressively low for a company of this size.
While most companies have few positive reviews – generally due to the fact that people are more likely to write a review when they are upset than to do so when they are satisfied, there are 10 positive reviews of Amica on the BBB website. There are also negative reviews, which is not surprising for such a large company, and especially on the BBB site, which is often a first line of defense when a customer is displeased.
Many of the negative reviews seem to revolved around confusion on the part of the policyholder as to what was covered by the policy, or customers who are displeased with rate increases. These are some of the most common complaints seen against insurance companies.
There are 48 negative reviews of Amica on Consumer Affairs, a website that generally has very few positive reviews. The total number of complaints here is not high – again, for a company as big as Amica to have 48 complaints is quite low. A review of the complaints shows very little of real concern – complaints about rates and more confusion about policy coverage. These are all typical complaints that most insurance companies receive from time to time.
Amica performed fairly well in the J.D. Power 2015 Car Insurance Shopping study, although they didn’t rank as well as they did with claims satisfaction. Amica ranked at 850 out of 1000 points ad a 4 out of 5 rating, landing them in the number 5 spot. Overall, that puts them well ahead of the pack and well above the industry average rating for this part of the service experience.
Overall, Amica comes out looking good in all aspects of the customer experience, from purchasing a policy all the way through to exceptional claims service. There are no customer complaints that raise any red flags, and nothing of overwhelming concern in the reviews. Major consumer groups rank the company highly, and the customers seem to agree.
Amica has a strong personal lines insurance program that features solid auto insurance with some fairly strong bundling discounts. They have some of the lower rates around, making them easily competitive with big names in direct-buy coverage like GEICO, but rank better in terms of customer satisfaction.
As a one-stop shop for most basic personal insurance needs, Amica is likely to take care of business for most people quickly and easily. There’s nothing of major concern in the reviews, giving Amica a solid reputation to back their more than 100 years in the insurance industry.
Amica is well worth a quote comparison for anyone who wants a combination of low rates and excellent service, and prefers the direct-buy insurance experience to having an agent working on their behalf.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.