The Hartford Insurance Review

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Everything about The Hartford speaks of stability and strength – from their stately stag logo to a history encompassing over 200 years in the insurance industry.

The Hartford has never been a playful, approachable insurance company like many modern competitors, but instead stands stoic and powerful without quirky mascots. However, they have recently made a foray into the world of humorous advertising. Let’s take a look at what this history of strength means in terms of their products, service, and value for your insurance dollar.

The Hartford Overview

The Hartford was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1810 as The Hartford Fire Insurance Company by a group of local businessmen. The company survived multiple major catastrophic events, including the 1835 New York fire, after which the company’s President paid claims out of his own pocket.

In 1913 the company expanded its product lineup to include auto insurance, accident, business interruption and many more lines of business with the new branch, The Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. The 1959 acquisition of The Columbian National Life Insurance Company added life insurance products to the list.

In 1970 the Hartford was purchased by ITT Corporation and operated as ITT-Hartford until 1995, when it once again became an independent entity and changed the name to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. In 2004, they expanded into Group Benefits with the purchase of a division of CNA Financial, and in 2013 sold the life insurance business to Prudential.

In 1984, the Hartford became the provider of auto and home insurance for members of AARP, and they continue to hold this contract to this day.

Currently, The Hartford offers home insurance, auto, and other vehicle coverage for individuals as well as annuities and mutual funds. They also write a large range of business insurance policies, including Business Owner’s policies, commercial auto, and more for small to large companies. In fact, they ranked at number 7 in the top ten commercial property & casualty insurers in the nation in 2013. Additional products include their Employee Benefits packages, which encompass things like life, short-term disability, and accident coverage.

Today The Hartford is a Fortune 500 company selling products across the nation from their headquarters, which remains in Hartford, Connecticut. Policies and financial products are sold through agents and brokers to both individuals and businesses.

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The Hartford’s Products

The Hartford offers products for both individuals and for businesses of all sizes. They also offer financial products and group benefits.

Individual Products

The Hartford writes a selection of individual insurance products, focusing mainly on auto and home, but with specialty policies available as well.

Auto Insurance

The Hartford writes two levels of package auto insurance policies, each with a long list of features and benefits. The company is the 11th largest auto insurer in the nation, as of 2014 numbers.

The Advantage Package includes all of the coverage you would expect from a comprehensive policy, with a number of extras that aren’t always included in the average policy.

These features include:

  • The Hartford’s “No Drop Promise” which states that the company will not non-renew a driver’s existing policy for tickets or accidents as long as they meet a few basic requirements
  • 6-month rate protection ensuring rates will not change in a 6-month term
  • RecoverCare, an extra $2500 to pay for living expenses after a car accident including things like transportation, cooking, and cleaning
  • Lifetime Guarantee on repairs done at approved shops

The Advantage Plus package is slightly more costly, and adds the following features to the included benefits of the Advantage package:

  • Rate protection increases from 6 months to 12 months
  • First Accident Forgiveness
  • Disappearing Deductible, which reduces your deductible every year that you maintain a clean driving record
  • One Deductible, which allows you to pay a single deductible when more than one vehicle or a vehicle and a home insurance policy are included in the same claim
  • Waiver of Deductible and reduced deductible for not-at-fault accidents, included a $100 reduction in deductible when you use an approved repair shop

Discounts available from The Hartford for auto insurance include auto/home, multi-vehicle, good student, anti-theft, and hybrid vehicle.


TruLane is The Hartford’s version of usage-based insurance, one of the biggest trends in car insurance in recent years. The program records information from your vehicle using a small device that plugs into the car, and the company provides drivers with a discount in return for safe driving habits. You can read more about the TruLane program here.

Insurance for Other Vehicles

In addition to auto insurance, The Hartford also writes insurance policies for a variety of specialty vehicles, although they do not underwrite all of these policies directly.   Coverage is available for:

  • Collectible cars – underwritten by American Modern Insurance
  • Recreational vehicles – both motor homes and travel trailers
  • Motorcycles – underwritten by Foremost Insurance
  • Boat Insurance – underwritten by American Modern Insurance
  • Golf Cart Insurance – underwritten by Foremost Insurance
  • ATV and Snowmobile Insurance – also underwritten by Foremost Insurance

Homeowner’s Insurance

The Hartford writes several variations of home insurance to cover a variety of different homes. Their standard homeowner’s insurance policy comes with two add-on package options:

  • Home Advantage Package – includes “New for Old” replacement cost coverage for personal property, personal injury protection, identity theft coverage, and lock replacement reimbursement.
  • Home Advantage Plus Package – adds equipment breakdown coverage and a Disappearing Deductible program as well as increased identity theft coverage.

The Hartford also offers a discounted or no-deductible option on homeowner’s claims in excess of $25,000 and a variety of discounts and credits to reduce rates.

Policies are also available for condominiums with similar coverage to the homeowner’s package policies, but designed for the specific needs of condos. Additionally, they offer renter’s insurance policies to cover personal property only for those who live in rental properties.

Other Personal Lines Products

The Hartford also writes a selection of other personal lines products to protect from special risks.

Policies include:

  • Flood Insurance
  • Identity Theft Insurance
  • Umbrella Insurance

Business Insurance Products

The Hartford is one of the biggest companies in the commercial insurance market, writing policies for businesses of all sizes.

Offerings Include:

  • Business Owner’s Policies that combine basic business coverage with commercial liability
  • Commercial Auto and Fleet Coverage
  • Commercial Flood Insurance
  • Data Breach Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Global Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance, including Errors & Omissions
  • Marine Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Surety & Fidelity Bonds

They also offer Fleet Management and Risk Management assistance for companies of all sizes.

Business types covered range from Accounting to Manufacturing, covering nearly every industry including specialty markets such as contracting companies. This wide coverage range is part of what makes this company so well known as an insurer in the business market; many insurance companies only write small business policies.

Employee Benefits

The Hartford writes Employee Benefits packages that offer a range of coverage for employees, such as:

  • Group Disability
  • Group Life & Accident
  • Group Retiree Health

Employee Benefits coverage is also available for individuals, including short-term disability, life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. For many people, their main knowledge of/or contact with The Hartford has been through benefits provided through an employer.

Financial Products

The Hartford is also a major supplier of retirement planning products. Their products include annuities and mutual funds. These products are sold through insurance agents as well as other financial advisors, and the company offers account access online for both advisors and for clients.

AARP Affinity Products

For more than 25 years The Hartford has been contracted with AARP to provide specialized policy offerings and package discounts for members. They are the only national insurance company endorsed by AARP to provide these products.

The program includes home and auto insurance as well as RV coverage that can be bundled together with special discounts and services. Special programs for drivers 50+ provide discounted rates and benefits for older drivers, and policies include all of the same features and benefits of The Hartford’s auto and home programs along with these added perks. Small business insurance package policies are also available for AARP members.

As a Result of this connection, it is not uncommon to hear Hartford policies referred to as AARP policies. Although they are affiliated, AARP does not underwrite any insurance policies and none of the policies bear the AARP name directly.

The Hartford Premiums

The Hartford does not position itself as a discount insurance company, but rather presents itself as a stable and secure company that will be there when you need to take advantage of your benefits. As a result, I wouldn’t expect to see their premiums fall among the lowest.

Surprisingly though, The Hartford doesn’t fall much above the average for car insurance rates with just 4% above, based on our rate test sample. While they are not the most affordable option, they sell their products on the promise of great service, which is what makes paying a higher premium worth the extra expenditure. We’ll take a look at whether they live up to the promise a little further into this review.

Since The Hartford policies are sold through agents and brokers, you can expect to see higher rates as a result of the need to pay commissions. That said, they don’t seem to fall quite as high as other agent-driven insurance companies.

The Hartford is one of those companies that is likely to be the most competitive for people with low-risk driving records and those who will be insuring more than one vehicle, along with a home, in the same place. Their discounts for auto/home are not the highest I’ve seen – up to 20% on the home policy but only 5% on the auto policy.

The Hartford does provide online quotes, in spite of being an agent-driven insurer, which allows customers to quickly compare their rates with those of other companies. The quoting system appears simple and straightforward, although it does involve multiple steps.


The Hartford promises fast, smooth claims handling and allows customers to report their claims in a variety of ways.

Claims can be made the following ways:

Claims service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The claims process is given an overview on the website, but there is no detailed information. As with most insurance companies, processing time varies based on the nature of the claim, but The Hartford promises quick response. Claims can be tracked by logging in through the customer portal to view the progress.

The Hartford has a commitment to claims handling, which they call their 6-Point Claims Guarantee.

This Guarantee states that:

  1. When you call our 24-Hour Claim Hotline, you’ll always speak with a trained professional.
  2. He / she will explain the claim process on your first call.
  3. We will guarantee the workmanship on claim repairs performed by certified Hartford repair shops.
  4. We will pay the replacement cost of a new car – same make, model and equipment – should you have a covered total loss within 15 months or 15,000 miles of purchase, whichever comes first. Specific features vary by state.
  5. We will send your claim payment within 2 business days after settlement.
  6. If you experience a problem during your claim, we will bring your concern to an expert to mediate.

The question is, then, whether or not they live up to this promise.

The Hartford rated 3 out of 5 on the J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction survey for 2014. The overall rating was calculated from several categories. The Hartford performed particularly well in the area of appraisals and the repair process, but poorly in the rental car experience. Everywhere else, the company came in at about average, resulting in the overall rating that qualifies them as about average for satisfaction.

For a company with the kind of history, strength, and image that The Hartford offers, I would expect to see an above average rating in claims satisfaction, especially considering the fact that they are not known for particularly low premiums.

While these ratings don’t tell us for sure whether the company is living up to the Claims Guarantee they promise, it certainly does bring those promises into question.

Of the complaints written about the company on various sites, surprisingly few focus on claims. This is unusual, since for most insurance companies claims are a major area of complaint.

Consumer Feedback and Reviews

The Hartford is not BBB accredited, but they do have an A- rating. The BBB site states that failure to respond to one complaint is the factor that resulted in a lower rating. The BBB list 265 complaints against the company in the past three years, 71 of which were closed in the past 12 months. That’s considerably fewer than Traveler’s, which has a market share similar to that of The Hartford and has 385 complaints in the same time period.

Overall, the complaints number with the BBB is very low for a company as big as The Hartford. There are no government actions against the company on record.

The Hartford performed incredibly well in the J.D. Power Purchase Experience survey for 2015, earning a 5 out of 5 rating overall. This top rating was shared by only two other companies, Erie Insurance, and USAA, making it all the more impressive. The Hartford only lost a single point for the Local Agent and Call Center Representative categories.

These ratings are definitely some good news, however, claims are the area where a great insurance company really needs to shine, and The Hartford seems to be falling somewhat short in that area.

Overall, the customer experience seems to be stellar throughout most contact with the insurance company, but opinions fall somewhat when a claim is experienced. It’s worth noting however that many complaints about claims are born from a lack of understanding of the coverage available on the policy and how it works rather than a major fault of the insurance company. Still, extra strides need to be made in the claims area to make up for this common problem.

Reviews found on seem to be of the usual insurance company complaints, rates that have been raised unexpectedly, claims that were denied or handled slowly, and complaints about customer service. Of the 245 reviews posted, only 58 left a rating, all of which were low, one or two-star.

This is fairly common for insurance companies particularly on this site, which is often used as a place to vent for people unhappy with an insurance company. The reviews are of the same type found for other companies, with little that is particularly alarming. It is surprising to see that there is not even on positive review left for the company, although few people bother to write a review when they are generally happy with a company.

Bottom Line

The Hartford is a strong company with a very long history, and they are likely to appeal to their target audience: low-risk drivers, homeowners, and business owners who want the backing of a big name that understands their needs. The Hartford will definitely be on the list for members of AARP, since they will receive specialized benefits and discounts from this insurance company.

Their rates are reasonable considering the company’s position and the fact that they are an agent-driven sales insurer. They offer enough of a product lineup to satisfy the needs of most people for a one-stop shop, and offer enough discounts and added benefits to make the policies appear a relatively good value. Missing from the product lineup, and one of the big three in terms of personal lines insurance, is life insurance, but this is not often a deal-breaker for most people.

The main concern with this company is the average claims satisfaction levels, which should be higher for a company with this sort of reputation. Overall, however, customer satisfaction is relatively high and there is little of major concern in terms of reputation.

The Hartford is well worth considering for home, auto, and business needs as well as for retirement planning services.

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

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  1. William says

    I was side swiped a week or two ago by a company currier that is insured with the Hartford. I had to call around several times to get someone from the Hartford to report the incident but I found it strange that after several days I was told the report was with the adjuster named Dave after several more days I was contacted by Susie who told me she was the adjuster and if I could do her a favor and take pictures of my car and send them to her and I obliged. I sent the photos and she called the repair shop and they gave her the estimate of 1100 hundred dollars and she called back a week later and let a message on my voicemail and said it was approved for 645.00 dollars not the 1100.00 dollars and to top it off she further informed me that they are going to stop paying on the rental car and I will have to find other options. None of this seems fair and I’m debating getting a lawyer. In addition, I ended up going to the ER and got a CT scan and currently in physical therapy for my back and I’ve lost 1 week of pay at work. Please advise.

  2. Brandon says

    I was rear ended, on the interstate, by someone insured with this company, that was texting while driving. The accident was the other parties fault. I emailed the full Police report on 7/30/2016 to person working the claim at Hartford. Today is 9/9/2016. They have yet to do anything to repair my vehicle. In the state of Alabama the other party gets 30 days to respond (their insured persons). If you can rear end someone and they get into NO trouble then why do we have insurance anyhow?

  3. Bill Krepick says

    I changed my auto insurance from GEICO to AARP/Hartford last year and got a better rate for 2 cars and an umbrella policy. I’ve had no accidents or speeding tickets in that time. I just got my renewal notice and one car is up 20% and the other 25%. I talked to the rep and she said there was a 15% statewide (Washington) increase. She couldn’t explain why my rates were 50% above the statewide increase. I see that there are 384 negative complaints on Consumer for many of the exact same bait and switch issues. I have written to both Hartford CEO and AARP and heard nothing. I think the US Gov’t consumer fraud division should step in. This is outrageous. I don’t think you should dismiss these complaints as just ‘normal’ consumer whining over annual rate increases. There is a pattern of bait and switch here and Hartford should be taken to task.

  4. Franco says

    My father has had Hartford homeowners insurance through AARP for at least 15 years and never filed a claim. We paid half of the annual premium in late December. Dad forgot to pay the balance. I got a notice on 7/7/2016 stating that the policy was canceled on 6/27/2016, called on 7/8/2016 and asked about paying the balance and continuing coverage.

    They told me that the policy was “non-reinstatable” and that I must find another carrier. Asking to escalate the issue and speak to a manager did not help. I offered to pay the full balance on the spot… No dice…

    Keep in mind that my father religiously paid his bills for many years, and was never late previously.

    A call to my own agent with Traveler’s, and a few emailed documents, got us a policy in a couple of hours with slightly higher limits and $200 lower premium.

    They actually did us a favor, but I hope that the corporate-stooge bean-counters who make these policies live to be 88… just so it can happen to them too…

  5. JIM says


  6. John says

    The Hartford is an absolute disaster when it comes to car insurance. Back in early 2014, I was backing up out of my parking space and then a woman decided to back AFTER I did and nicked the side of my car. The moment she stepped out of the car, she was asking for my insurance information because they HAD TO pay for the damages way before any of us talked to either insurance agents.

    I told the Hartford what had happened and then later that evening, a man called me personally for the woman that hit me demanding money to pay for the damages. I notified the Hartford and they just told me, call the police next time and that there’s no need to send someone to investigate the damages done to my car (which was one of the first red flags).

    I followed up a few times after in the next few weeks or so and there were no updates. Months later I would be surprised with a bill from a collections agency demanding $300+ to repair the damages to this woman’s car. I had called the Hartford back LIVID and ENRAGED and [Redacted], the woman dealing with my case, told me that she concluded I was at fault and the case was closed. I received NO PHONE CALLS, NO EMAILS, NO LETTERS, NO NOTIFICATIONS, NOTHING!!! And gave me a very poor excuse as to why. On top of that, she claimed the Hartford sent a letter and I guess must’ve gotten lost in the mail. Interestingly enough when I called her out on it, FINALLY I received a letter…albeit 2-3+ weeks after the phone call with them.

    But it gets worse…it turns out the woman that had hit me received a check from the Hartford some time prior and cashed it and then turned me into the collections agency claiming she never got the check. Thankfully, I never had to pay the second $300+.

    The Hartford has virtually ruined my driving record. In the 1-year+ it still shows up on my record although they claimed that they’d change it to a no-fault on my part. I feel defeated and feel like a twice victim to fraud. After I dropped the Hartford I read hundreds of complaints about them from other customers that feel the way I do and have been in similar situations. I should have read those reviews before going with them.

  7. bart says

    I have had two cars with AARP/Hartford for 13 yrs. I decided change homeowner’s insurance from Farmers to Hartford this year, partly for the multiline discount, but mostly because Farmers has been giving me double digit increases for at least the last 4 or 5 years (~20% this year.)

    I own two homes less than a mile apart in the same neighborhood, same zip code. It is a quiet suburban location in Burbank. My primary home’s insurance is up this month, so I wanted to switch that one to Hartford now, the other home next year, when that policy expires. The second home is not rented, and is also used by my family.

    Both my wife and I have never made claims on any home, and our last car claim was 18 years ago, in which I suffered damage to my car only against a guardrail while avoiding collision with others ahead of me. Our credit scores are excellent, and we are in our mid to late fifties.

    After getting exact coverage delineated and receiving a quote over the phone, the representative I was speaking with started asking for particulars to “write up the policy.” After this interview, they put me on hold for a while, and came back on the line to ask me why it was that my mailing address was different than the property address we were writing the policy for. I didn’t feel that this was a relevant question, and further, that Hartford had no right to ask it; I simply answered “because that’s the way it is.”

    After another long hold, the rep informed me that Hartford would “not be able” to offer me a policy. They claimed that their underwriting department found it “suspicious” that the mailing address I gave them (the second home) is different than that used for my primary residence! Strange that Farmers has never had a problem with this . . .

    I have not been able to crack what it is Hartford’s underwriters find “suspicious” about the primary/mailing address difference, and have resigned myself to the fact that I will have to look elsewhere for insurance, probably moving my cars as well for discount’ sake. I’m worried though, that I’m waving some kind of red flag that will ultimately push me out of private insurance altogether.

    Am I missing something here?

      • bart says

        Absolutely, that’s the first thing I told them. I made it clear that I needed to switch the primary residence because the policy was about to expire, and that I would be moving the second home to Hartford in a few months, when that policy term was up.

        • Eric Stauffer says

          I am going to assume that the mailing address is your second home, and the house you wanted to insure first is the one you are declaring as your primary residence.

          If I were to take a guess, it would be that The Hartford has a different process and/or rate structure for primary vs. vacation/rental properties. The underwriter may have seen the differing addresses and assumed you were trying to pass off a second home as a primary residence (which possibly would have lower rates, or different cover options).

          This is completely a guess on my part, so take it as you will. If this is the case, it seems another conversation and possibly some documentation could clear up the matter. But again, this is just a guess based off limited information.

          Eric Stauffer

  8. Mark says

    The Hartford for business insurance is the WORST. I cancelled my policy before the due date, and I was lucky to receive a new bill for $17. This was because they didn’t explain how to fill out the audit form for Worker’s Compensation and I end up making a mistake, that they said they won’t fix. They told me I have to send in a copy of my Schedule-C and a written letter to complain etc. Meanwhile, the way I found out about the bill was an email that I was going to collections. You see they sent the bill to the wrong address. Funny thing is every year I had the policy, the same thing happened. Sent to the wrong address, I call them up and change the address to the correct one. I have done this 10 times, and still they send it to the old address. I was told all their systems are not linked in anyway, so I guess I got to 10 of their systems, but not the 11th. Their website for accounts really sucks. Difficult to use and understand. They are outdated and just incompetent. Please save your money and find another company.

  9. Theodore Swanson says

    I have just installed my truelane box in the car (2 Weeks ago) 1st day showed excessive braking.
    Had my defensive driving trainer go with me for a trip, then looked at the events listed.
    “a driver when by the event log and its report to adjust his/her driving habits there would be a dramatic increase in minor accidents, a modest increase in accidents with injuries and occasional accidents involving death”. This from only one three hundred mile trip over a three day period.
    SO MUCH FOR GOOD REPORTING… Will be looking for a new company when it come time to renew. One that looks at the long time driving record not some box that has no idea of the circumstance surrounding the events reported.

    • Judith Stall says

      I’m so glad you mentioned your issue with excessive braking, because the same thing happened to me. I was dumbfounded to find excessive braking was listed several times when I know I am not that type of driver. I always allow plenty of stopping room in front of me because I don’t want any cars behind me to crash into me, which is something that happened to me 40 years ago when I was stopped at a red light. There are times, however, when an alert driver like myself has to stop quickly to avoid an accident when a careless driver cuts in front of, turns left in front of, or suddenly stops in front of me. I can assure you, I’ve avoided several accidents by stopping quickly in those cases. By the way, I’ve been driving without an accident for the last 40 years. I agree with you that one’s driving record should care more weight than some ignorant driving device.

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