Is Elephant Auto Insurance a good insurance company?
UPDATED: Jul 21, 2015
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Asked July 21, 2015
Elephant Auto Insurance is a subsidiary of the third-largest British auto insurer conglomerate, Admiral Group, based in Cardiff, Wales and known for direct-to-consumer low-cost insurance. Admiral has over two million customers and policyholders worldwide.
Admiral has been in the insurance business for 20 years, but Elephant Auto Insurance in the United States has only operated since 2009. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Elephant sells directly to consumers, with no agents aiding the process. In theory, this results in a greater cost savings for consumers. Currently the company only operates in four states, making them one of the smallest players in the insurance market nationwide. However, Elephant processes claims from any state.
Insurance rating company, A.M. Best, rated Elephant A+ for financial strength and aa- for issuer credit.
Elephant offers auto insurance, property insurance (homeowner's, renter's and condo), life insurance and insurance for motorcycles, collector cars and ATVs. But auto insurance is their primary business, and in this category they provide typical auto insurance features such as bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Options for auto insurance include roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.
An additional coverage Elephant provides is gap insurance, where the depreciation on a car increases due to an accident or other event but the loan payments remain the same, resulting in an "underwater loan." Elephant only provides this in cases where collision and comprehensive insurance have been purchased from them and the loan is held by a bank.
Elephant also gives some discounts for bundling their different types of insurance together (ie, auto and home). Their biggest discount is for multiple cars covered on the same policy (a discount of 20 percent). Other discounts offered include online policy initiation discount (12 percent), good student discount (12 percent), clean record discount (10 percent), e-billing discount (three percent) and lump sum payment discounts (discount percentage varies).
A number of auto insurance websites say that Elephant offers much lower than average rates but is not necessarily the cheapest option available for every demographic group. In addition, several sites said Elephant had much higher-than-average complaint rates.
Also, consumers reported many complaints with Elephant.
Many consumers had stories of long phone hold times, intentional phone disconnections, rude representatives, and fees of up to $300 when canceling policies. Some told of deceptive practices, unhonored claims and continued charges and unauthorized bank account debits after policy cancellations. One consumer told a story of being pulled over by a state trooper, who called the company to check whether his insurance was current, and the customer representative was rude to the officer and encouraged him to tow the vehicle. While the officer chose to ignore this advice, he indicated this was the first time he had been told such a thing by an insurance company in 15 years.
States Serviced by Elephant Insurance
The glowing marketing copy and press releases from Elephant describing it as one of the best employee workplaces in Virginia stand in marked contrast to a large number of consumers' reviews of their customer service and company performance. It seems that in a number of cases the company has done its utmost to not honor their policies and/or pay claims.
Answered July 22, 2015 by BlockO