With online tools available and discount providers competing for business, it’s never been easier to shop around for a good deal on car insurance. TV-commercial mainstay Geico and its younger competitor Esurance are often cited as good options for drivers looking for cheap car insurance. So what are the differences between the two?
Before we delve in, it’s important to note that the cheapest auto insurance is not necessarily the best for you. Evaluate offers carefully to make sure you would be getting sufficient coverage and wouldn’t face unexpected expenses in the event of an accident. Another factor to consider is the level of customer service you can expect, which might include how easy or difficult it is to navigate a company’s website or phone tree.
That said, here’s a look at Esurance vs. Geico:
History: Founded in 1998, Esurance is relatively new to the insurance game, although it was acquired by giant Allstate in 2011 to take on a Geico and other so-called direct insurers — those that sell directly to consumers, rather than through agents. Esurance currently insures more than 5 million vehicles in 43 states but is not available nationwide.
Customer service: Esurance hasn’t been around long compared with most insurers, and some customers have complained about poor customer service, at least according to message boards such as the one at ConsumerAffairs.com. Esurance sells directly to the public, so there are no local agents. Esurance does offer E-star Direct Repair, which allows customers to track repairs after an accident if using a recommended repair facility. Repairs are guaranteed as long as you own the car.
Cost: Esurance’s rates are generally lower than average, and the company offers several discounts not available through Geico. One is the paid-in-full discount, which can save you up to 10% if you pay your six-month premium all at once instead of in monthly installments. You also can get a discount for switching to Esurance from another provider.
History: Founded in 1936 as an auto insurer for federal workers (the name actually stands for Government Employees Insurance Co.), Geico is now the second-largest car insurance company in the United States, trailing only State Farm. According to its website, it insures more than 22 million vehicles owned by more than 13 million policyholders across the country.
Customer service: Like Esurance, Geico sells insurance directly to customers, not through agents. That can be a negative for some people. But Geico is consistently ranked among the highest in customer satisfaction in surveys such as one conducted by J.D. Power. Customers can choose their own repair shops, though they can get help from Geico finding a shop and even estimating repair costs.
Cost: Geico consistently has some of the lowest auto insurance rates in the industry, and offers a number of a variety of discounts, including multicar, good-driver and good-student. Some can get you up to 40% off, according to the company.
No one size fits all when it comes to car insurance. Every motorist is different and will get a different quote based on age, driving history and other factors. Geico and Esurance match up pretty well when it comes to price, although Geico has more history behind it and generally higher customer service ratings. With Esurance, you get plenty of discounts and an easy-to-track repair process in case of an accident.
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