Pros: Great discounts, a wide variety of products and services, excellent customer service.
Cons: Difficult speaking with the same CSR. High rates for young drivers and old folks.
Less than a year ago, I worked as an Insurance Sales Representative (I gave you the quote over the phone) for GEICO Direct. I left primarily because the Techie in me was just screaming to get out (They tortured me by running a 500+ workstation network using OS/2 Warp in 1999! I gave them several suggestions, but they ignored me! Aaaaarrrrrrgh!) At the time I worked for them, I was so impressed with the company I thought I might have a long future there in one area or another, so I familiarized myself with as much of the company as I could. Now I will share some of my insights with you. Keep in mind, I might have signed one of those "Shut-up-or-we?ll-sue-you" agreements before I left, so to be safe, I won?t be delving into any deep, operations-related details. Sorry.
GEICO likes to write insurance for preferred drivers. Most insurance companies like preferred drivers because they pay premium and don?t have claims (makes sense doesn?t it). What?s a preferred driver to GEICO, you might ask?
1) Government employees.
2) Males over 25 or females over 21.
4) People with clean driving histories.
1) GEICO started out insuring only government employees (Government Employees Insurance Company) so they respect that relationship by giving them a discount. Also, statistics show that the military and government employees drive the safest.
2) Younger drivers drive worse. You didn?t know?
3) Studies (I don?t know which ones, but this is what they told me) show that people with education that continue past the high-school level drive more safely than others.
4) People who have clean driving histories for an extended period of time have apparently learned to drive safely. That or they are very lucky.
Secondary aspects that will affect your rate are marital status, address, cost of your vehicle, and a lot of other minor stuff. Also, certain many factors are state-specific based on laws in that state. Most of these factors are minor as well, however.
So who does not tend to save with GEICO?
People with crappy driving histories: but you probably already know that. Wait for stuff to drop off your record, then try again.
Youthful drivers: stay on your parents' policy if you can.
Old folks: after you turn 70, your rate starts to look like an 18-year-old?s. You?ll probably have to stay with your current provider.
People who have been with their current insurance company for a long time: if your agent has been doing his/her job, they?ve been giving you discounts periodically to keep your rate competitive. This will make it much harder for anyone to beat your rate.
GEICO actually does its best to provide excellent customer service for its customers. They staff and rigorously train Customer Service Representatives to provide the best service possible. Policies are mailed and updated in a very timely manner. Calls are screened and recorded very frequently (trust me) to insure quality service.
The facility I worked at in Texas was the Regional office and had its own in house claims department, but they also employ the roving vehicles. The adjusters have to go through a very intense boot camp like training to learn their craft, so they definitely know what they are doing.
GEICO strives to have all claims processed within 48 hours of receiving the first call. This is a lofty goal, and sometimes is not met, but at least they try. Some other companies take weeks to respond.
A Few Negatives:
Since you?re calling a high volume call center most of the time, it is extremely difficult to reach the same person twice. If you like only dealing with one person, you?re not going to be pleased. The agents and reps do try to keep accurate notes in your file each time you call, however.
There are a few states GEICO does not write in such as New Jersey.
A Few More Positives:
GEICO has overseas insurance. This is great for those policyholders that spend serious time in other countries.
GEICO offers umbrella (million dollar policies) for those whom the maximum limits of insurance will not satisfy.
Bottom Line: Should you buy GEICO Direct auto insurance?
If you are a professional, between 25 and 70, with a relatively clean driving record, you definitely want to check them out. If you are a public school teacher, stop reading and call them now (you qualify as a government employee and a professional. Snakes couldn?t slither under your rate?)! They have excellent customer service, fast claims service, and a quote only takes 15 minutes (I could do it in 5). Give them a call, you may be pleasantly surprised.
For more information about GEICO or any insurance company at all, be sure to visit www.ambest.com. A. M. Best Company rates insurance companies based on financial strength, operating performance and market profile. GEICO has an A++ (superior) rating with them.