PEMCO Insurance Review

Premium Price
Claims Process
Consumer Feedback
Financial Strength
Products  |  Price  |  Claims  |  Complaints  |  Financials  |  Bottom Line

PEMCO Insurance Summary

Founded and incorporated in 1949 by Robert J. Handy to insure teacher members of the School Employees Credit Union of Washington, PEMCO (an acronym for Public Employees Mutual Insurance Company) now has 650 employees serving customers in Washington and Oregon. The company is headquartered in Seattle. Following his father’s 28 years as leader, Stanley W. McNaughton has served as president and CEO since 1998.

PEMCO claims to be the Northwest’s largest personal lines insurer. It once held a life insurance subsidiary, still known as PEMCO Life Insurance, but it was sold in 2012 to Sagicor.

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Insurance Products

PEMCO covers primarily low-risk customers in Washington and Oregon. It provides coverage in three main areas:

  • Auto Insurance—PEMCO offers a standard policy with options for rental reimbursement and accidental death, as well as an endorsement for auto loans on vehicles newer than three years old.
  • Home Insurance—The company also offers a fairly standard homeowner, renter, and condo owner policy which can be packaged with auto insurance for a discount—up to 25% on home and 9% on auto. Umbrella insurance up to $2 million is also available. A variety of other discounts are available based on occupation and type of building construction. Older and high-value homes are not typically covered.
  • Boat Insurance—PEMCO will cover small to moderately large boats. Towing coverage comes under the auto policy. Boats used in competitions are not allowed. Coverage extends up to 75 miles offshore along the continental United States and most of Canada with somewhat tighter limitations for the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Through its separate PEMCO Insurance Agency, the company will find more high-risk policies for motorcycles, older homes, high-value homes, specialty boats and watercraft, etc., underwritten by other insurance companies, but the heart of its coverage is for more standardized auto, home, and boat needs.

PEMCO Insurance Price (Rates)

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PEMCO concentrates on serving “preferred risk” customers, so rates for individuals with low credit scores, tickets or recent accidents are likely to be higher than many competitors.

Coverage is primarily marketed through PEMCO’s own sales offices and through independent agents, but their website does offer online quotations. However, the online process requires providing a Social Security number which typically means your credit score is used as part of the criteria for determining your insurance premium.

Since PEMCO uses a tiered rate schedule, customers who have claims may experience an increase in their insurance rates in the event of an accident or substantial damage claim. This may make PEMCO unattractive for long-term customers after an accident.


PEMCO can only handle claims over the phone at 800-467-3626 or through its appointed agents. The company prefers auto glass customers to choose a shop certified by the National Glass Association and waives the deductible on chip repair.

Consumer Research and Complaints

PEMCO Insurance is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but it does maintain an A+ rating. In the last three years the company has had only three complaints—two were closed in the last 12 months. Two complaints concerned problems with product/service issues and one complaint was filed on a billing/collection issue.

In its 2013 Auto Insurance Study, J.D. Power ranked PEMCO as the highest in customer satisfaction among auto insurers in the Northwest region.

Financial Strength

Rating CompanyGradeFinancial Outlook
AM BestA-Negative

Bottom Line

Drivers and homeowners with good records and decent credit scores may find PEMCO to be a reasonable choice for their insurance needs. They focus on low-risk clients, so as long as you fit into that category, you should be good. But that also means that a long-term client may find their rates increasing dramatically after a claim because they would no longer qualify as a top-tier customer.

Individuals and families with claim history or low credit scores would probably be better suited going with a different carrier. PEMCO is known for having higher rates for high-risk individuals, so if price is an issue you should look elsewhere.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

Eric Stauffer
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  1. Robert says

    An elderly woman, with a cell phone stuck into her, with young children in the back of her car, backed into my path on the private property of a grocery store. I swerved to avoid hitting her, and jumped a plant divider, damaging the undercarriage of my motor home. Now, coming up for renewal, PEMCO has jacked up my rates, claiming “accident at fault”. Why do carriers insure one, always trying to upgrade coverage, and then penalize one [this was not my fault] as soon as one files a claim?

    Should I search for another carrier before renewal is due? I have excellent credit rating, and 20 safe driving years with PEMCO.

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Robert,

      In my opinion, consumers are often too loyal to their insurance companies assuming they will do the same. Its simply not the case anymore. I have talked with numerous people that have been with their insurance company for decades with no claim, and get dropped as soon as they file a single one.

      There is no harm in bouncing around insurance companies. People are often tied to an agent they like, which is understandable. But an agent has just about zero say in anything that matters, such as a claim.

      There is nothing wrong with checking out the competitors.

      Eric Stauffer

  2. maria Bowmer says

    Looking for cheap insurance and pemco gave me great rates.but when I searched for info on them I found many negative remarks.
    So thinking about getting them but dont want horrible claim service if needed.

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