UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Universal Insurance Company
Not to be confused with the Florida homeowner’s insurance company of the same name, UIC has its headquarters in Charlotte, NC, and provides only auto insurance. The company is affiliated with AAA and its website reflects that being a branch of the main AAA site and offering customer assistance live chat from the automobile association right on the site itself.
The site refers to AAA as UIC’s “founding company”, but it gives no further explanation. In our previous review of this company, they included the holding company, TMIC Holdings, in their logo. That name has been removed from the logo, although we are unable to find any evidence to prove TMIC no longer owns UIC.
UIC writes auto and motorcycle insurance policies and covers drivers only in the state of North Carolina. They sell their products through local agents as well as over the phone; these agents appear to be in AAA offices, although there is a link for insurance agents to partner with the company as well, so some are independent. We could not find any indication that a AAA membership is required to take out a policy with UIC, but this is a strong possibility.
UIC write personal auto and motorcycle insurance; previously they also offered commercial auto, but this product is no longer available.
UIC has a basic auto insurance policy that includes base liability and the option to increase limits an add comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and rental reimbursement. Their TLC program on every auto policy includes comprehensive roadside assistance, from towing to fuel delivery. This does make sense given the affiliation with AAA.
UIC also offers what they call concierge-level service, which mostly relates to claims handling. We will take a close look at that in the claims section of this review.
The motorcycle program offers all the basics as well as accessory coverage, which is automatically added to the policy at no charge when comprehensive and collision coverage are added. This provides 50% coverage for accessories added to the bike aftermarket.
While the concierge claims service is again included, we did not see any sign that UIC offers the same roadside assistance to motorcycles.
UIC does not offer an online quoting option, and the agent search redirects to the local AAA site, reinforcing our belief that these policies are offered to AAA members or that joining may be a requirement.
Since this is a North Carolina-only company, their rates would only be comparable in that state, and not with our standard rating sample.
As mentioned above, UIC promises their concierge claims service to all policyholders.
This includes access to a 24-hour claims line and same-business-day contact from an adjuster. The service also promises:
- Payment on comprehensive or collision claims within 3 days
- Ongoing updates on the claims process
- Guaranteed repairs when a shop in the preferred network is used
- Access to the AAA Auto Buying Service in the event of a total loss
A good portion of what is offered here is common to any good insurance company, although if the company keeps their promise of a same-day call and 3-day payment on claims, that is pretty impressive service.
We were unable to find an option to file a claim online; the file a claim link on the site again redirected us to the AAA website “find a club” search page.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
UIC has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it is accredited there. There are only four complaints on file in the past three years, none of which were closed in the past 12 months.
There are two negative reviews on the Yellow Pages website, both citing a rude customer service experience.
We did not find much else on UIC, which is not surprising given the fact they are a regional company.
The Bottom Line
North Carolina drivers who are AAA members or willing to become a member (as noted we are not completely certain it’s required, but it seems likely) might want to take a closer look at UIC. Their programs and reputation seem solid, and the backing of AAA adds some weight; we’d like to see this company clarify the question of AAA membership on their website to help form a clear view of how they operate.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.