Connect (formerly Ameriprise) car insurance review Nov 2020
Affordable rates for safe drivers and Costco members
finder.com's rating: 4 / 5
- Get a quote if you want budget-friendly insurance with discounts.
- Pick something else if you want online support and claims.
- Rewards loyal Costco customers, students and good drivers
New car protection
|States served||Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin|
|New car protection||Yes|
|Pay schedule||12 months, 6 months, monthly|
|Claims methods||online, phone|
No info available
- Affordable rates and attractive discounts
- Free perks
- Flexible payments
- Financially strong
- Poor customer service reviews
- Not lenient with driving history
- Not available in some states
|Anti-theft device discount||Yes|
|Defensive driving discount||Yes|
|Good student discount||Yes|
|Safety device discount||Yes|
|Special employment discount||No|
|Other discounts||Costco member discount|
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
If you haven’t heard of Connect yet, that might be because the company cut down on advertising costs to pass those savings on to policyholders. Connect is known for its affordable rates and generous loyalty discounts, which can earn you savings on things you may already do, like driving safely, storing your car in a garage and insuring more than one vehicle. You’ll also get rare freebies, like stolen key replacement and windshield repair, that make it a solid budget-friendly option.
Connect does have its limits: It’s only available in 42 states, and it requires a clean six-year driving history, rather than the usual five. People with a few strikes on their driving record won’t have access to those cheap rates. But Connect rewards loyalty, so if you’re a long-standing member of Costco, it’s worth getting a quote.
What car insurance coverage does Connect offer?
Like most major insurers, Connect offers basic liability protection plus other types of coverage to suit individual needs.
- Bodily injury liability. This takes care of the costs if you injure someone in an accident and can help to pay for legal defense. This type of insurance is required in most states.
- Property damage liability. Covers the damage your car causes to someone’s property as the result of an accident.
- Comprehensive. This helps pay damages caused to your car by things you can’t control, such as vandalism, natural disasters, hail storms, fire and falling objects. It also includes stolen key coverage and doesn’t charge a deductible to replace keys that cost under $250.
- Collision. This covers the cost of damage to your own car after a collision with another car, pothole or other object whether you’re at fault or not. If your car is a total loss, the company will pay out its current cash value.
- Gap. Lease your car? Connect offers gap coverage, which pays the balance of your lease or loan if your car is totalled. Unlike most insurers, Connect pays up to 120% of your vehicle’s value. Gap includes new car replacement coverage for the first year and additional protection for the next two years.
- Medical expense. This covers for the medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident. It’s optional — look at your health insurance policy to avoid doubling up.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). Legally required in some states, PIP pays for a portion of medical care, lost wages and replacement services in case of an accident regardless of who was at fault.
- Rental car liability. If you need to rent a car after an accident, this coverage kicks in to pay for your daily rental charges up to a specified dollar amount. An optional add on, it’s recommended for those who drive a lot and don’t have access to another car.
- Roadside assistance and towing. Available on all auto policies, this coverage steps in if your car breaks down, your battery dies, you get a flat tire or you’re stuck in the snow.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist. To ensure you’re not stuck with the bills for an accident that wasn’t your fault, this coverage helps to pay for injuries or damage caused by a driver who has little to no insurance.
What free benefits does Connect offer?
If you have a Costco membership or buy through an Connect Financial agent, you’ll find extra perks. For Gold members, you get this coverage at no charge:
- Windshield repair. Waives your deductible if you can have your windshield repaired instead of replaced.
- Accident travel expense. If you’re involved in an accident more than 100 miles from home, the company will reimburse part of your out-of-pocket travel and accommodation expenses. This coverage easily saves you over $100 in hotels, meals and transportation after an accident.
Costco Executive members also receive:
- Roadside service. Adding roadside assistance to car insurance typically costs anywhere from $15 to $50 per year, sometimes more. Executive members get this perk at no extra cost with coverage up to $75 per service call.
- Lifetime renewability. Connect won’t cancel your policy after any number of accidents, a rare feature in the auto insurance industry. You may be eligible for this perk as an Connect Financial customer too.
What discounts can I get with Connect?
As a low-cost provider, Connect applies a range of discounts to its policies you could qualify for.
- Costco member. Another reason to love Costco! Gold Star and Executive Members score a discount, reporting an average of $600 in savings after switching their auto and home insurance. Not available in Tennessee.
- Client benefits. If you work with Connect Financial, the parent company, you’ll get a discount.
- Safe driving. Connect rewards those who boast a four-year driving record free of accidents with a discount.
- Defensive driver. This discount gives drivers an incentive to take a refresher course with the DMV. It doesn’t apply to learner drivers.
- Vehicle safety features. If your car has anti-lock brakes, airbags, automatic seatbelts and anti-theft devices, that’s another discount.
- Garaging. Do you park your car in a garage overnight? In some states, this’ll earn you a discount.
- Good student. To Connect, good grades matter. If you think a student driver on your policy may qualify, talk with a representative.
- Student away. Students who study more than 100 miles away from home and only drive cars at home on weekends or school breaks are eligible.
- Education. Connect offers a discount to students who have completed four years of post-high-school education.
- Multi-vehicle. The more cars you insure with the company, the lower your rates.
- Loyalty. If you stay with the company for an extended time, it’ll charge you a cheaper premium than it would for a new customer.
- Bundling. Bundle your home or umbrella policies to slash your rates.
What is the Connect Accident Merit Rating?
Along with its loyalty discounts, one of Connect’s standout features is its Accident Merit Rating. The company typically waives your first at-fault accident penalty under accident forgiveness, but that coverage isn’t available in all states. In those cases, Connect reduces the surcharge on your premium each year for three years, so you can put the accident behind you and try to earn back the safe driving discount.
Pros and cons of Connect car insurance
- Affordable rates and attractive discounts. These include loyalty discounts: The longer you stay with Connect, the cheaper your premium will be.
- Free perks. For example, stolen key protection with comprehensive coverage and free coverage for Costco members.
- Flexible payments. Pay for your six-month or annual policy in full or in five installments.
- Financially strong. Highly rated by A.M. Best, meaning it has the cash reserves to pay out claims.
- Poor customer service reviews. Customers complain about slow service and responses along with billing issues and problems filing small claims.
- Not lenient with driving history. This company requires a spotless record for four years to receive a safe driving discount, while some companies keep a shorter timeline than that.
- Not available in some states. Auto insurance isn’t available in Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Rhode Island or Wyoming.
Compare alternatives to Connect
How is CONNECT car insurance related to Connect?
CONNECT is the rebranded name for Connect. Connect was bought by American Family Insurance in 2019 and switched the company name as part of their new marketing. You’ll see references to the company name as CONNECT, powered by American Family throughout its website. However, most of its coverage and benefits remain the same.
Connect car insurance reviews and complaints
American Family Connect Property & Casualty—the company that bought out Connect—has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2012 and holds an A+ rating, as of October 2020. The BBB has listed over 140 customer complaints from the past few years, most related to billing, small claims and issues with slow service and follow-ups.
CONNECT also received a 3.60 rating on the 2019 National Association of Insurance Commissioners complaint index. The national average complaint rating is 1.00. While customers enjoy the discounts and wide coverage that comes with insuring a car with the company, its claims processing seems to be a sore spot.
How to apply for Connect
The easiest way to apply is to hop online, but you can also call and complete the process over the phone.
- From the main website, type in your ZIP code, choose the insurance type and click Get Quote.
- Fill out questions about your personal details and car, entering your vehicle’s make, model and year.
- Fill out your driving history and provide details for any nominated drivers.
- Identify any eligible discounts and benefits you qualify for and choose your coverage options.
- Review your application and receive your quote.
- If you like the cost and benefits, move forward with buying a policy.
- Make your first payment and start your policy.
What info do I need to apply?
You’ll need your driver’s license number, plus details on your driving history, car and people who will be driving it.
How to find an Connect agent near me
Connect only has auto insurance agents at its offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Otherwise, you’ll need to use its online tool or call for a quote.
How to make a claim with Connect
To start a car insurance claim, call the claims department 24/7 at 800-872-5246. You can file a claim online if no one was injured and fewer than two cars were involved.
You’ll be assigned a claims representative, who will get back to you within one business day. They’ll go over the details of the accident or incident, and ask for supporting documents, such as photos and medical reports.
The company will send someone to inspect your car at a repair shop of your choice. If you bought rental insurance, they’ll organize a rental vehicle for you.
To file a claim online:
- Go to Connect’s website.
- Hover over Products and Services in the top navigation bar, and click Auto and Home Insurance.
- Click Learning Center in the left-hand navigation bar.
- Click Report a Claim at the very bottom of the page.
- In the blue box on the right-hand side, click File Your Claim Online.
- Enter your User ID and Password and follow the steps needed to report your claim.
An insurance agent will respond to your claim within 48 hours.
How to contact Connect
You can get in touch with Connect customer service by:
- Email. Send a note to email@example.com
- Phone. Call 888-554-6368
- Fax. Send a fax to 920-330-5607
- Mail. Send overnight mail to: Connect Auto & Home Insurance, 3500 Packerland Drive, De Pere, WI 54115-9070
Its customer service team is available Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 10 pm, and Saturdays from 8:30 am to 7 pm CT. Make sure to include your policy number on all correspondence.
Frequently asked questions about Connect
Car insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Our insurance team analyzes car insurance providers to help you choose the best car insurance for you.We rank insurers from one to five stars based on key factors including customer satisfaction, policy options, price, billing, claims, and support. We create these rankings to help you narrow down an insurance provider that best suits your budget and coverage needs.