The Hartford vs. GEICO: Car Insurance Comparison Tips

April 24, 2014

If you own a television or radio, use the Internet, subscribe to a newspaper or magazine, or go to the movies, you’ve probably seen a GEICO advertisement.  GEICO spends $2 billion on a year on advertising, and it pays off – you’ve heard of them.  You may not have heard of The Hartford, an insurance company based in Simsbury, Connecticut.  But just because you haven’t heard of The Hartford doesn’t mean they aren’t the best choice for your car insurance.  Not sure?  Read on for some quick information about both companies, and then compare auto insurance rates to see which is the best insurer for you.

Why Compare The Hartford and GEICO?

You may be unfamiliar with The Hartford, but chances are you’ve been exposed to GEICO’s advertising for the better part of the last decade, sometimes against your will.  But an enormous advertising budget is only indicative of a company’s ability to spend money on advertising – it doesn’t speak to the quality of the product or to its compatibility with your needs.  Any insurance company that’s been around as long as GEICO or the Hartford (78 and 204 years, respectively) is obviously doing something right, but they also have their set business models and ways of doing business, which may or may not be what you need.

About GEICO Auto Insurance

In 1936, a couple in Texas decided to sell insurance to carefully curated groups.  Their initial target demographic was people who worked for the government, which was reflected in their name – Government Employees Insurance Company.  Obviously, they have expanded their net somewhat in the last almost-eighty years.  GEICO is now one of the largest insurers in the country, with over 11 million policyholders nationwide, and is also one of the most immediately recognizable. Learn more about GEICO auto insurance.

GEICO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, and is publicly traded.  As a result of this business structure, GEICO has to keep the desires of its shareholders in mind, as well as the desires of you, its policyholders.  The interests of the two almost always overlap, and GEICO’s policyholders are generally pleased with their product and service.  According to Insure.com, 75% of GEICO customers would recommend them to a friend, and 92% plan to renew their policy when it expires.

In addition to the standard policies, GEICO offers accident forgiveness – that is, your rates don’t go up after your first accident.  They also have a mobile app that allows you to manage your policy from your smartphone.

GEICO Auto Insurance Discounts

  • Multi-policy.  You can get a discount for holding multiple types of policy (car and motorcycle, for example) with GEICO.
  • Multi-vehicle.  Same idea as multi-policy, but with different cars.  If you’ve got a commuter car and a for-fun car, insure both with GEICO and get a discount.
  • Academic Achievement: if you’re a student who consistently meets academic standards set by the company, you’re eligible for a discount.
  • Defensive Driver/Safe Driving: Have you taken a defensive driving course? Do you have a clean record? That makes you a safer driver; you get a discount for that.

About The Hartford Auto Insurance

In 1810, a group of entrepreneurs gathered in an inn in Hartford, Connecticut, and formed a fire insurance company.  They didn’t form an auto insurance company back then because there weren’t any cars around to insure.  In the last two hundred years, The Hartford has grown into a Fortune 500 company with an impressive pedigree.  In addition to providing property and casualty insurance with over 150 million annual customer interactions, The Hartford also has divisions for group benefits and mutual funds.

The Hartford is traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange.  Since its products include more than just auto insurance, it makes sense that their stockholders care about more than just auto insurance.  They are a large company with many interests and investments, but their business ethics are above reproach – from 2008 to 2012, and again in 2014, The Hartford was honored as one of the Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies.  (We have no idea what happened in 2013.) The Hartford’s customers are consistently pleased with their product; 76% would recommend them to a friend, and 91% will renew their policy, according to insure.com.

In the mid-1980s, The Hartford won a contract with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to provide home and auto insurance for their members.  That arrangement is still in place today.  The Hartford insures your day-to-day vehicle, as well as your other vehicles – motorcycles, antique cars, boats, RVs, to name a few.  Their array of coverage options includes usage-based rates; new car replacement if the car is damages within a 15 months or 15,000 miles; lifetime repair assurance with any one of their approved repair shops; and vanishing deductible as long as you have no accidents or moving violations.

Discounts with The Hartford Auto Insurance

  • Multi-policy: holding more that one plan with The Hartford may lower your rates on all of them.
  • Academic Achievement: if you’re a good college student, you may pay less for insurance..
  • Defensive Driver: folks who educate themselves on driving well usually have fewer accidents, and they may have lower prices.
  • Passive restraint/air bag discount: you may be eligible for a discount if you drive a car with factor air bags, for example.

Which Auto Insurance Works for You?

GEICO and The Hartford are two distinct companies, and each has its own series of pros and cons.  At the end of the day, the best insurance for you may not be the first policy you look at, or from the company you recognize most immediately.  Insuring with a larger company, like GEICO or The Hartford, has its perks – you have the benefit of collective experience, for example – but it might not be the best route for you.

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