Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wawanesa - Awesome Auto Insurance

I haven't posted about anything money-related in quite a while and it's been kind of bugging me. Mainly because I know it means that I probably haven't been paying enough attention to money stuff. (A quick look at my checkbook register tells me nothing has even been written in it since 1/26/07! Whoops! Lunchtime project!) Which needs to change. Soon. Starting now...

My auto insurance renews today. I've been a customer of Wawanesa Insurance for almost 10 years. I know, you're thinking to yourself, Wawa-who? They are a direct writer of insurance and if you live in California or Oregon and have a clean driving record, listen up! Because this, I can *almost* guarantee you, will save you bucks. Lots of them.

The first time we purchased a joint auto insurance policy after I married my ex-husband, we went through a broker. I think this is probably pretty typical. I forget which company we ended up with, but after a couple years, my sister-in-law suggested we call her insurance company: Wawanesa. We had never heard of them, so we were reluctant to call them. But finally we did and got a quote that at the time was *significantly* less expensive than the renewal quote we had received from our broker. He asked us, "Are you sure it's for a year's coverage?" Which it was. In fact, it states that fact very clearly on it, because I assume it's a common question. He reviewed our quote from them and said, "Looks legit..." so we switched and have never looked back.

Some auto insurance basics: The minimum required by California is $15K of bodily injury liability for a single person, $30K bodily injury liability max per incident and $5K of property damage liability. The minimums are really quite paltry. Can you imagine having even a fender bender with some of these $50K cars out there on the road with only minimum coverage? Yikes! That $5K would barely cover a bumper!!

Back to the present: I had some changes that I started making last week to my policy (address, deleting a car/driver) so I had not received my quote yet. I called Wawanesa and went through a few voice mail menus and reached a real live person within a couple minutes. This, by the way, is pretty typical. You will often reach a live person within just a minute or two. Anyway, she looked up my account and gave me the quote over the phone. The total for a year of coverage? $763!!

Pretty damn good. And that's with much more than the minimum coverages in place. I am 32 years old, female and have a 1998 Honda Civic and for my $763, here's what I was getting:
  • $100K bodily injury liability for a single person
  • $300K bodily injury liability max per incident
  • $100K property damage liability
  • Comprehensive with $300 deductible - covers theft & other stuff that happens unrelated to accidents
  • Collision with $500 deductible - Accidents and such
  • Un/Under-insured Motorist coverage (& bodily injury) - Everyone should have this!
  • Rental Reimbursement ($25 per day/$750 max)
  • Towing & Labor ($50 per incident)
I heard a friend complaining about how much his car insurance was going up because he moved to Burbank in the past year and they finally had his correct information for the renewal. His policy with AAA was going to renew for about $1,200. I suggested he call Wawanesa to get a quote. He called, they emailed him a quote about 30 minutes later and his new rate? About $750 with better coverages than he had with AAA.

Service: You might be pretty doubtful, thinking to yourself, this is too good to be true! Well, it *is* true. And I've had excellent customer service from them. I've had someone hit one of our cars and it required body work. I've also had a car stolen while with them. Both experiences were painless. The person always called, they sent the checks, and they were more than fair with the amount paid out for the stolen car. Most importantly, it's always been pretty easy to get a live person on the phone.

Bottom line: If you don't have any tickets on your driving record, call them at (800) 640-2920. Or apply for a quote online. Either way, it will probably only take about five minutes. Do it!

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure that you can cancel an auto policy at any time and receive a refund in any paid premiums. Don't wait another six months to start saving money. Call them or go online today.

If you do give it a shot, please post a comment and let me know what you thought.


Stephanie said...

I put in a quote today. We'll see if it's less expensive than USAA. I've tried a lot of others, but USAA has been best deal yet. Thanks for all the info on what you get for your premium, I used it as a base for my quote (kept me from digging up my paperwork).

Dawn said...

Right, but what auto insurance agency is the best in Colorado??!!

Jeremy said...

Thanks for the info on Wawanesa. I just got my renewal notice from Geico, and it was exactly the same as my last six-month premium. $448 for six months. It hadn't budged. I'm a nearly 30 year old male, with no tickets, no accidents, and I was starting to see considerably fewer "discounts" from Geico as a long-standing customer with them. I'd heard the ad for Wawanesa on the radio and I read your blog entry about them and figured I'd check them out. After filling out the very simple online quote application, I was floored at the difference. $579 for a FULL YEAR of the exact same coverage. I'm in the process now of getting everything squared away to switch over.

Thanks again for all the info - it was quite helpful!

Stephanie said...

Excellent! I'm glad it helped. You pretty much had the same "Are you sure this is for a year?" experience we did! I know you'll love them. They really are great.

Ryan said...

I read about Wawanesa on other blogs and they all said the same thing about how cheap they are. Must be something to it.

pacific said...

The california insurance department ( ranks them at number 2.

Anonymous said...

being #2 on the insurance dept. list is awesome! if u look at that list shown above, the top-listed companies are the best..have least complaints!

Anonymous said...

I tried to contact Wawanesa after I was in a collision. I was on my cellphone for 20 minutes while waiting at the dealer body shop, trying to get a live adjuster to take my call. The accident happened five days ago and Wawanesa's adjuster Lisa Vick has not contacted me or been out to look at the car. When I contact her I get a recorded voice mail message that she is out of the office.

Is this how Wawanesa is supposed to treat its customers?

theoderick said...

Great post-- I just got a quote from them yesterday (I live in Orange County), and I'm looking at 37% in savings!

Anonymous said...

This company's rates is great if you don't get involved in an accident. My CLK350 was damaged by freeway debris two weeks ago, and the inspector gave me a very low estimate, so I called and left a messagge to the adjuster to discuss this matter but he won't return calls unless you talk to a supervisor, so he called me and introduce himself in an intimidating tone, I was in a meeting so I told him I'll call him back. Called him after the meeting and as usual he didn't pick up the phone so I just left message, it's been two days since I left a message and I haven't heard back from him. One more thing, you have to pay for rental car and they will reimburse you. I don't know how I'm going to be reimbursed, the adjuster won't talk to me. I keep on calling customer service and they keep on telling me to talk to the adjuster. I don't work for any insurance company, I'm a good driver and I own a late model benz and mini cooper s. If you own an old car, maybe its ok to take a chance with this company to save money, but if you love your cars, you should bring your business somewhere else. -

Anonymous said...

Been a customer for years and have been very impressed. While insured with them I've had a. car totaled and a couple minor accidents. No issues whatsoever. Rates are extremely low. The body shop said they are by far the best insurance to deal with. Much better than the common name high priced insurances.