GEICO is the nation’s second-largest auto insurance provider, and the only insurance provider with more mascots than a children’s TV show. More pertinently to you and me, they’re also a highly-competitive player going to great lengths to secure under-30s as clients.
So how does GEICO stack up? How easy is it to secure a quote? Can you really trust an eerily calm and smooth-talking lizard?
What is GEICO?
GEICO is the nation’s second-largest auto insurance provider.
The company primarily offers deals on auto insurance, but they offer home and renters insurance separately and as bundles as well.
How does insuring with GEICO work?
As with other major providers, GEICO offers a slick website for securing a quote. You start by providing your zip code, choosing a type of insurance, and filling out additional information.
Once you purchase coverage, GEICO.com enables you to print your policy information, chat with agents, submit payments, file a claim, and more.
It’s pretty standard stuff, but GEICO.com deserves extra praise for being especially smooth and well-designed.
Even better is the GEICO mobile app. Polished and painless, it offers quick access to roadside assistance, digital policy info, even maintenance information for your car. You can also add/remove vehicles from your policy, get new quotes, or check the live status of a repair.
In addition to the suite of features above, I personally appreciated these four unique features and tools:
- Cheap gas – The app will use GPS to find cheap gas nearby.
- GEICO explore – Gimmicky but fun, the app will use augmented reality to provide real-time info on local points of interest.
- Kate – GEICO’s proprietary Alexa, Kate is an AI assistant who will answer insurance questions.
- Postpone payment – in case of an emergency bill, the app will allow you to postpone payment on your policy without penalty.
Given its user-friendliness and staggering array of features, it’s no surprise that GEICO Mobile is the highest-rated app in the Google Play store. Here’s how it stacks up against competitors’ apps:
- GEICO: 4.8.
- Esurance: 4.7.
- Nationwide: 4.4.
- State Farm: 4.4.
- Progressive: 4.3.
Aside from superior-tech and usability, GEICO offers a rare and helpful type of auto insurance:
Mechanical breakdown insurance
MBI covers mechanical breakdowns of your car not due to an accident. If a window won’t roll down or your engine starts sounding like the Iron Giant with a cold, both of these will be covered by MBI.
There are caveats, but if your car applies, it’s almost a no brainer.
First, your car has to be new or leased, less than 15 months old, and have fewer than 15,000 miles on the odometer.
Now, already you might be wondering how is this different from a dealer’s extended warranty? MBI covers more parts, is much cheaper, can be paid overtime versus as a lump sum, and enables you to get repairs at the shop of your choice. Extended warranties can cost around $1,500 whereas MBI coverage with a $250 deductible can be as cheap as $30 per year, up to 100,000 miles.
For GEICO to keep MBI prices so low, not all cars qualify. Expensive cars and historically unreliable cars may be turned down. But if you’re investing in a car of questionable dependability, or plan to stamp the gas at every stoplight, peace of mind through MBI may be worth the switch to GEICO alone.
If you plan to rideshare or deliver through one of these companies:
- Uber Eats.
- Amazon Flex.
You should know that there can be pretty wide coverage gaps between your personal auto policy and the rideshare company’s policy.
If you’re vulnerable to one of those coverage gaps, consider GEICO’s dedicated Rideshare Insurance. Neither an add-on or a separate policy, Rideshare Insurance actually replaces your personal auto policy. Thankfully, for similar coverage, it’s only around $20 more per month.
The GEICO app
I love the GEICO App enough to highlight it as one of the provider’s best features. Because a good auto insurance app is like a fire extinguisher; when the time comes, you’ll be glad it’s easy to use.
The GEICO App is the highest-rated insurance companion in the App Store for good reason. Not only is it superbly optimized and well designed, but it also offers handy aids like a cheap gas finder, an AI helper, and ways to postpone your payment in a pinch.
Simple discount list
There are two philosophies on discounts in the insurance world.
- Start premiums high and offer an extensive, ever-changing list of confusing discounts for your customers to navigate every six months.
- Start premiums low and just offer a few simple discounts.
Blessedly, GEICO follows the latter school of thought. They offer a concise list of 16 discounts, and for 12 of them, the exact percentage savings.
I applaud this approach because it’s simple, upfront, and honest. GEICO doesn’t “discount dangle” and force you to bring a fistful of coupons to the register. They make it easy to see how much you’ll pay, and how much you’ll save by changing your vehicle or driving habits.
The few discounts they offer are intuitive and generous. For example…
New car discount
GEICO offers one of the most generous new car discounts in the industry. If your car is three years old or newer, you can save up to 15% on your premiums.
Considering all new cars likely also qualify for GEICO’s handful of vehicle safety discounts (anti-theft system, daytime running lights, etc.), GEICO is an excellent provider choice for short-term leases.
DriveEasy is GEICO’s telematics program that grades and reports your driving behavior back to GEICO. Drive safely (slow braking, slow turning, fewer late-night drives) and GEICO will reward you with up to a 20% discount on your premium.
The DriveEasy App looks just as polished as the official GEICO App and deserves kudos for not requiring an OBD-II dongle like its competitors. Unfortunately, the program is currently only available to policyholders in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, but when it becomes more widespread I think it could rival the best telematics programs out there.
How are GEICO’s rates?
Generally speaking, there’s validity to the claim 15 minutes may save you 15% or more on car insurance. Multiple studies have found GEICO to be in the top three least expensive car insurance providers. They also seem especially friendly to drivers in their 20s, with rates only beat only by niche carriers like USAA.
GEICO does not rank as well for homeowners and renters insurance, but that may be because they’re newer to the game. A home and auto bundle may still make sense for convenience, but the overall discount may be steeper somewhere else.
While GEICO offers affordable rates, a rate alone is pretty irrelevant if your provider won’t pay out on claims. So how generous is GEICO?
AM Best assigns insurance companies scores based upon how well/often they pay out claims to policyholders. Luckily, GEICO scored an A++ rating, aka “Superior,” hence the below-average number of policyholder complaints.
My personal experience with GEICO
GEICO’s claim “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance” turned out to be untrue for me.
First, it took only six minutes.
As stated, GEICO.com is fast, responsive, and best of all, asks only a single question on each page. I personally found this less intimidating and more digestible than a sea of dropdown menus.
Second, I saved 27%.
I was so shocked that I actually switched to GEICO on the spot. Sorry, old provider, it’s over.
A little background: I’m an unmarried male living in the Southeast United States. I drive an 11-year-old sports sedan that’s paid off. I’ve had no accidents or tickets in the last five years.
Despite that last fact, many carriers would still see me as a liability. Unmarried male in his 20s piloting a 300 horsepower sports car? ARREST HIM! But the scuttlebutt about GEICO “forgiving” drivers in their 20s seems to be true.
GEICO is best for
Tech and convenience-oriented drivers
Part of what’s driving GEICO’s high customer satisfaction (no pun intended) is its user-friendly app and website. These features are often overlooked until you need them, at which point they become a significant headache-reducer.
Plus, GEICO’s telematics program DriveEasy is less than a year old, but if GEICO’s track record with excellent technology is any indicator, DE will quickly become an industry leader.
Drivers in their 20s with clean records
As low as GEICO’s rates are, they tend to be exceptionally lower for young drivers with clean records.
Drivers of new cars under 15,000 miles
As listed above, mechanical breakdown insurance is a pretty nice perk for new car buyers, especially if you’re buying a historically unreliable car.
GEICO is not ideal for
Whether you drive 2,000 miles or 20,000 this year, GEICO doesn’t really care. This is silly in my opinion, since the latter case multiplies the risk factor of a collision by 10.
For that reason, as low as GEICO’s rates are to begin with, you may still save a few bucks by insuring with a pay-per-mile insurer.
Pros & cons
- Easy-to-use website — GEICO.com is crisp, clean, and well-designed.
- Excellent mobile app rife with features — Who’d have thought an insurance app would earn 4.8 stars on the app store?
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for new cars — Acting as a more robust and comprehensive extended warranty, MBI is a must for historically-unreliable new cars.
- Above average service — GEICO customers report above-average satisfaction.
- Below average rates — Despite spending billions on ads, GEICO’s rates are some of the industry’s lowest.
- Fewer live agents and brick-and-mortar locations — GEICO has less of a physical presence than traditional competitors like Allstate.
- Home and renters insurance rates aren’t as competitive as auto — GEICO offers home and auto bundles, but they’re not competitive.
- Limited coverage options — GEICO is missing some common coverage options such as new car replacement and gap insurance.
- Limited discounts — GEICO does not offer discounts for low mileage, claims-free terms, or purchasing coverage online.
|Competitor||Advantage compared to GEICO||Disadvantage compared to GEICO|
|Allstate||Greater selection of coverage options (new car replacement, gap insurance)||(Likely) higher rates|
|Esurance||Greater # of discounts (pay in full, bigger home and auto discount, etc.)||(Likely) higher rates|
GEICO and Allstate have a lot in common – great discounts, good-reputations, and decent customer service reviews.
But, where Allstate may win out over GEICO is in their agents. Allstate’s whole schtick is their local agents and the added value that having a continuous relationship with an agent provides.
In addition, compared to Allstate, GEICO’s coverage options are pretty limited. For example, gap insurance and new car replacement coverage both help to protect you against rapid depreciation. Allstate offers both.
Compared to Esurance, GEICO’s menu of discounts is curiously limited. They offer the usual suspects (military, good student, etc.) but are missing some more innovative discounts offered by competitors.
Esurance, on the other hand, offers discounts for purchasing a policy online, a claims-free discount, and will cut 30% off of your renter’s insurance premium in a bundle, and more depending on your specific qualifications.
GEICO’s mascot-driven ads aren’t just amusing; they speak the truth. In 15 minutes or less I did save 15% or more.
While your experience may vary, I can safely award GEICO big points for user-friendliness, innovative tech, and above-average customer service.
If you value face-to-face interactions and discussing claims in-person, GEICO may not be the provider for you. But if you’re looking for a good rate with a traditional and reputable provider, built upon excellent tech and usability, trust the gecko.