Geico was established in 1936 in Texas by Leo and Lillian Goodwin. If you’ve ever wondered why the company name is usually in all capital letters, it’s because it was named the Government Employees Insurance Corporation, or Geico for short. The Goodwins established the company to provide auto insurance for federal employees and military members at reduced rates.
Geico motored along happily for a few decades, growing steadily over time. In 1956, a young Warren Buffet invested in the company while still a student at Columbia University. That would come to be important forty years later, when Buffett purchased all of Geico’s outstanding stock, and the insurance company became a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
In the meantime, Geico passed the million-policy mark in 1964. The company focused its resources on expanding its reach, and in 1993 made the decision to increase its advertising. This was the key to the Geico gecko, which debuted in 2000. (The gecko also has side gigs promoting conservation efforts.) In 2004, the “So simple a caveman could do it” campaign launched.
The company also uses the famous “Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more” slogan. This idea of spending a little time to save a lot of money on auto insurance has been central to the company’s growth. With all these efforts and investments, Geico at last became available in the state of Massachusetts in 2009. That was the final piece of the nationwide puzzle. Geico is available in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, and it offers a wide portfolio of insurance policies, no longer just auto insurance. In 2016, it became the second-largest insurer in the United States, ahead of Allstate and behind State Farm.
Geico Is the 4th Best Car Insurance Company
How We Created This Geico Car Insurance Review
It can be tough to find reliable information regarding car insurance, since rates and experiences can vary depending on the individual. We surveyed 2,799 people who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years regarding their experience with their car insurance company. This information, plus information compiled by our partner, gives a clearer portrait of Geico car insurance.
U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. The rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 17, 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Toyota RAV4, 2018 Ford-F-150, 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage of 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only. Individual rates will differ.
Geico Rating and Review
See the Best Car Insurance Companies
We asked respondents to rate their car insurance company’s claim response, customer service, and value. Geico landed in fourth place out of 10 companies. People were generally pleased with filing a claim and with their customer service. But interestingly, given Geico’s reputation for saving its policyholders money, people rated it lower for value. Let’s dig into the questions to see how people answered.
Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or completely satisfied with the ease of filing a claim with Geico. They were similarly satisfied with how their claims were resolved, with three-quarters reporting they were either satisfied or very satisfied with Geico’s resolution of their claims.
One person who took the survey said they found Geico to be “reliable and well established,” and they had a “choice of using their contractor or other independent shop.” However, others noted that Geico picked the repair shop that would perform the work, and that the work was not up to the driver’s standards.
When asked to rate customer service, respondents were mostly pleased, but when it came to status updates and feeling like they were in the loop while a claim was being processed, drivers were less enthusiastic, with just 44 percent reporting they were completely satisfied.
One respondent who was in an accident caused by a driver who was insured by Geico said, “I was so pleased by the process from start to finish that I switched from Hartford to Geico and saved money at the same time!” But not everyone was so happy. “Claims service and processing was awful, too long, no updates, didn't return phone calls,” said one respondent.
While those who took the survey were happy with customer service, the lack of updates from Geico during the claims process seemed to make a difference. When asked how satisfied drivers were with the value of their Geico insurance, only 36 percent reported being completely satisfied.
Two-thirds of respondents said they were likely or very likely to recommend Geico to others who are looking for auto insurance. About 15 percent of those who took the survey said they were unlikely or very unlikely to recommend it. As with almost any insurance company, most of these respondents said they wouldn't recommend Geico because the rates are too high and they seem to rise for reasons they can’t understand.
One person answered, “I pay more for my car insurance than I do homeowners. My credit is phenomenal, and I’ve been with Geico for over 20 years. I would refer someone but with caution.” Another said, “Many say I am overpaying. I have no marks on my license in 47 years, never a DUI or DWI. My insurance goes up $50 a half year every year, and it should be going down as the car is older.”
When asked if they’d renew their Geico auto insurance, 71 percent were likely or very likely. About 18 percent were unlikely or very unlikely, and several in the survey had already switched. Many were switching for better rates with another company. This response was typical: “I already changed insurance companies due to price, not for any dissatisfaction.” One person said plainly, “They don’t follow through with their claims,” which was echoed by several others in the survey.
And one respondent summed up the frustration and futility many drivers feel when dealing with car insurance companies: “I keep renewing with my current company because I think they are all the same.”
Given these survey responses, it seems that Geico has better customer service than you might expect from a company that advertises having lower rates than its competitors. Most people in our survey were happy with the claims process from start to finish. They were satisfied enough to renew their own insurance and recommend Geico to others.
But it’s not the least expensive insurance on average (see more on that below), and customers are willing to switch from Geico as well. The lack of status updates during the claims process left some customers feeling ignored or displeased with the repair work on their vehicle.
Geico Car Insurance Costs
See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies
When it comes to average insurance rates, only USAA is cheaper overall than Geico. However, what you pay for car insurance varies. The average insurance rates we’ll be talking about here are for comparative purposes only. Your rates will probably differ.
Age matters more to insurance companies than almost any other metric when they’re setting rates. Geico is no different, though it is a little less expensive for young drivers than some other major insurers. We found that, on average, 17-year-old drivers will pay around $6,000 per year with Geico. The price drops drastically by the time drivers reach age 25, to about $2,300 on average, with rates holding steady over the decades and into a driver’s 60s.
|Single 17-year old female||$5,653.55|
|Single 17-year old male||$6,278.96|
|Single 25-year old female||$2,378.89|
|Single 25-year old male||$2,262.87|
|Married 35-year old female||$2,302.89|
|Married 35-year old male||$2,312.38|
|Married 60-year old female||$2,247.06|
|Married 60-year old male||$2,283.45|
Whether you put about 6,000 or 12,000 miles on the odometer each year, you’ll pay close to the same rate with Geico. Those who drive 6,000 miles a year had an average rate of about $3,200 in our study, while a driver who racked up 12,000 miles a year paid $3,300 on average, a difference of only about $100.
Nor does Geico differentiate too much, price-wise, for lower or higher amounts of auto insurance coverage. Low coverage ran about $3,000, while high rates of coverage cost an average of about $3,400 annually. Given how expensive costs associated with an accident are, that $400 per year for more coverage may be worth it.
|Coverage Type||Average Rate|
Geico does heavily ding drivers with poor credit. In our study, drivers with good credit pay $2,434 on average, while those with fair credit paid an average of $2,987. That’s a typical jump. But drivers with poor credit histories, according to our study, pay $4,259 on average – that’s $1,200 more than those with fair credit.
|Credit History||Average Rate|
Drivers with a traffic violation or accident are more expensive to insure, even with Geico. Average rates for those with a clean record start at $2,146. A speeding ticket will raise that by $500, and an accident will cause that rate to go up to nearly $3,200. Geico penalizes drivers who drive under the influence even more stiffly. One DUI raises the average rate to $4,875, more than double what those with a clean record pay.
|Driving Record||Average Rate|
|With 1 speeding violation||$2,645.43|
|With 1 accident||$3,192.77|
|With 1 DUI||$4,875.87|
Who Should Get Geico Car Insurance?
Geico’s average rates for young drivers are among the best available. Only USAA’s average rate for 17-year-old drivers is lower, while Liberty Mutual’s rates for the same demographic are more than twice as high. After age 25, rates even out across the board. Geico’s rates for drivers in their 60s are firmly in the middle of the pack, with several major insurers offering lower rates for older drivers.
Even though its rates for drivers with poor credit are much higher than for those with good credit, Geico still has one of the lowest average rates for drivers with a poor credit history. Only Nationwide and USAA have lower rates for the highest credit risks.
The company is also kind to drivers with one speeding ticket or one accident. On average, Geico’s rates for those drivers are lower than other auto insurers’. But again, if you have a DUI, Geico is not so friendly. The company has one of the highest average rates for drivers who’ve gotten behind the wheel after drinking. Only Allstate and Travelers have higher rates, but those companies have higher rates overall.
Geico Auto Insurance vs. Progressive Auto Insurance
In our survey, Progressive car insurance ranked just behind Geico when it came to customer satisfaction and claims resolution. Progressive’s average overall annual premium was more expensive than Geico’s by about $800. The differences in rates were most apparent for very young drivers, where Geico’s averages were far lower, though the gecko was less expensive in almost every demographic we examined. However, drivers age 35 or older could see some savings with Progressive when compared to Geico, and Progressive’s average rate for drivers with one DUI was about $900 less than Geico’s.
Geico Auto Insurance vs. State Farm Auto Insurance
State Farm was ranked third by survey respondents for customer service and handling of claims. That was enough to top Geico, which earned the fourth spot on our list.
State Farm’s average overall rates were almost identical to Geico’s, at just over $3,200 a year. When we looked at demographics like age, commute distance, and coverage type, the two companies had average rates that were still very close, often within $50 of each other. Geico did have better average rates for drivers with poor credit, and lower rates for those with an accident or speeding ticket. But Geico’s rates for drivers with a DUI are still among the highest. State Farm’s average rate for these drivers was about $1,200 less than Geico’s.
Geico Auto Insurance vs. Allstate Auto Insurance
Survey respondents ranked Allstate in the bottom half of car insurance companies. At the same time, Allstate is among the most expensive auto insurers, with an average annual rate of $4,888. Geico is among the least expensive, with a national average of $3,215.
In every demographic and type of coverage, we found Allstate to be several hundred to several thousand dollars more expensive than Geico. Allstate was more expensive in demographics where rates tend to be low, such as for married 35-year-old drivers, where its rates were an average of about $800 higher. Where rates tend to be higher across the board, Geico was still less expensive. Geico’s average rate for drivers with poor credit, for example, was about $2,200 lower. Even for drivers with a DUI, where Geico raises rates steeply, Allstate’s rates were higher by about $1,500.
Types of Coverage From Geico Car Insurance
Geico offers a full slate of car insurance coverage, from the basics required by most states to optional services like mechanical breakdown insurance. Comprehensive, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payments, and personal injury protection are all available. Nearly every state requires a combination of several of these types of insurance.
The Geico Mobile app allows you to pay your bill and, if your state accepts it, use a digital insurance card. Twenty-four-hour roadside assistance, which is accessed via the app in addition to the website and phone, can be added to any plan, as can the use of a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop.
Geico Car Insurance Complaints
The complaints about Geico that we saw in the survey were common to those of many insurance companies. People felt that their insurance was expensive and that rates would rise without warning or explanation.
Geico had quite a few complaints about the lack of updates during the claims process. People also felt that they were left without a choice for which shop performed repairs. One person wrote, “The garage they picked didn't fix everything. [And there were] no updates on progress of work.”
Geico Car Insurance Discounts
Geico offers typical car insurance discounts, such as for insuring more than one vehicle or bundling auto and home insurance. They also have discounts for vehicle equipment, like air bags or an anti-theft system. Like other insurers, they give discounts for good driving, seat belt use, and being a good student, and they partner with large employers and some organizations to offer lower rates. After five years of accident-free driving, Geico drops most rates by as much as 26 percent.
Geico rewards drivers who take extra steps to stay sharp on the streets. They give discounts to motorcyclists who complete a safety course, and drivers over 50 who take a defensive driving course can earn a discount with the company’s Prime Time contract.
Other Types of Policies From Geico
Geico offers coverage for a wide range of vehicles, including ATVs, motorcycles, boats, and RVs. They also have policies for ride-share drivers who take passengers via services like Lyft or Uber. And they have insurance for drivers headed to Mexico, where a local policy is required.
In addition to the more usual types of insurance for home and auto, Geico has policies for pets, jewelry, and overseas travel.
Geico Financial Fitness
In 2016, Geico jumped ahead of insurance giant Allstate to gain 12 percent of the market share and become the second-largest insurer in the country. State Farm, the No. 1 insurer with more than 18 percent of the market, is a tough leader to catch.
Also in 2016, Geico’s underwriting profits were at $462 million, $2 million higher than the previous year. Its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, had underwriting profits of about $2 billion that year.
Other Insurance Brands Related to Geico
Geico is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.