PROGRESSive is spelled CHEAPER
Jan 4, 2005 (Updated Jan 4, 2005)
Review by lynus
Rated a Very Helpful Review
I apologize that this is going to sound like deja vu, but "car insurance is perhaps one of the hardest products to review." When I began my review of 21st Century Auto Insurance with that line little did I know that in less than two years I'd be once again changing insurance companies and once again reviewing a new insurance company.
Recommend this product?
As you can read from my previous reviews, 21st Century Auto Insurance was an excellent company that offered inexpensive car insurance because we fell into a particular professional group (educators) that allowed us to cut our insurance costs nearly in half. Before 21st, we had Geico which had excellent customer service and fast telephone response time but slowly over time continuously raised their rate for reasons they could never quite clearly communicate.
The problem is, 21st Century, Geico, and subsequently through our research; AAA, State Farm, and Allstate are more expensive than Progressive Auto Insurance as we found out after our recent relocation to Las Vegas, Nevada...a city which is one of the top 5 most expensive places to carry auto insurance. Progressive Auto Insurance quoted us $818 (2 cars; one under lease, 2 drivers, no accidents, no tickets) every 6 months...an amount that was $100 less than AAA and nearly $200 less than 21st Century.
Progressive advertises that they are the company that will quote you their prices as well as quote you the prices of some of their competitors. This pitch is indeed true but Progressive kinds of skirts the issue a little bit. You see, in their quote, they list out four possible "levels" of Progressive insurance. Minimum, Economy, Choice, and Plus. Choice is the default and in our case it defaults to Policy Coverage's such as Bodily Injury and Property Damage that we did not enter in our initial quote. Our selections instead were located under the tab of Plus. When Progressive begins the comparison quote it automatically bases the comparison between another insurance company compared to the price in which it offered under the Choice tab. Again a price based off of selections in a quote that the system automatically selected for us overriding our initial selections.
Plus the comparison shopping module was a pain in the butt. After selecting that we wanted to receive a comparison comparing Progressive to Geico we were taken through up to four additional screens asking a whole slew of new questions including how far we drove to work, the percentage of how much I drove my car compared to my wife and vice versus with her Jeep, annual miles, if we had college degrees, etc., and once that was all done we were given a comparison of Progressive to Allstate. Progressive stated that Allstate's quote was around $2,500-$3,000 compared to their $818. Sounds a little fishy! Plus, I wanted a quote from Geico...not Allstate!
But honestly I didn't go to Progressive because they offer comparison insurance quotes. In my mind the only way to properly get such quotes is to actually take the time and effort and visit each insurance company and get such a quote from their respective online system or by calling a local representative.
As I mentioned earlier once we got our online quote it came to be around $200.00 cheaper than our 21st Century Auto Insurance quote. Only because of this did we switch insurance carriers.
Like many insurance carriers, Progressive allowed us to print out a temporary insurance card which we did and I made an extra copy for my wife's Jeep. As a condition of our insurance we need to fax Progressive items proving that we previously had car insurance and they gave us an 18 day window to collect together this information to be faxed or mailed to their attention.
One thing that sets Progressive apart from other insurance companies when we were going through the quote process is that Progressive did not require an initial 25% down payment. They did however require an immediate payment that equals one month of the monthly payment schedule they outlined. This payment however worked out in our favor for we were asking for insurance to began as soon as possible. I would feel that this payment would be unfair if I had to pay it even though my start date was a month from now...which it sounded like Progressive would require.
Additionally, one thing sets Progressive apart from at least the previous insurance companies I have had before, and this is not necessarily a good thing; Progressive requires that if you plan to pay monthly instead of in a lump sum, you must pay monthly by utilizing the EFT feature. In other words, you must give Progressive your checking account and your bank's routing number and they will automatically draw the funds out of your account for each month's payment. With other companies such as 21st it was up to me as the account holder to send in an electronic payment each month.
I cannot say anything about Progressive Customer Service for I have never had the need to call them. Nor have I ever called Customer Service for 21st Century or Geico besides starting a policy.
One issue we did find out with Progressive is that unlike 21st Century they do not allow discounts based on particular professions. This is one financial lifesaver we had with 21st Century (which yes by the way even with the discount when we quoted 21st Century here in Las Vegas they turned out to be more expensive than Progressive) and it is absent with Progressive. But maybe because their insurance is less than other insurance companies they could not afford to stay in business if they offered professional discounts.
Also the print outs that Progressive suggested we print that included our declaration page were formatted badly cutting off a portion of the right side. This is a small inconvenience since I know that Progressive is bound to mail me official copies for my records. I think they are required to do this by law.
Overall I hope we didn't make a big mistake when it came to changing auto insurance companies once again but the truth is the biggest issue for us currently in our lives is price. Especially after moving states and realizing that we now live in a city with really expensive car insurance (and you must get state certified car insurance before you can get a state license and state issued license plates). For now Progressive offered the best quote and like all previous auto insurance companies we have ever had, we hope we never have to use them.
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