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Arbella car insurance review November 2018

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If you live in New England, check out the exclusive service and benefits from this local provider.

If you call Massachusetts or Connecticut home, it’s worth looking into Arbella. For over 30 years, the company’s policies have been geared toward the unique challenges and conditions that come with driving in New England — snow plow insurance, anyone? It’s proudly local, and as a mutual firm, policyholders reap the benefits of its success.

Description If you live in New England, look at exclusive service and benefits from this local provider.
States served Connecticut, Massachusetts
Roadside assistance Optional
Pay schedule 12 months, custom
Claims methods online, phone, in-person
New car protection No

Pros

  • Local independent agents
  • 24/7 claims processing
  • Drive-in claim centers
  • Sophisticated online portal
  • Flexible payments
  • Pet protection
  • Wheel Focused app

Cons

  • No live chat
  • Limited reach
  • Not lenient with driving history
  • Higher base rates
Defensive driving discount Yes, up to 5%
Good student discount Yes, up to 5%
Loyalty discount Yes, up to 1%
Homeowner discount Yes, up to 10%
Military discount Yes, up to 10%
Safety device discount Yes, up to 36%
Special employment discount No
Usage-based discount Yes
Other discounts Energy-Saving Hybrids Or Electrics, up to 10% discount for driving a hybrid or electric car

Who is Arbella best for?

If you exclusively drive in New England — specifically, Massachusetts or Connecticut — Arbella is a solid choice. It’s staunchly local and has an unbeatable expertise in the area. It also has offices and drive-in claims centers dotted around those two states, so you’ll be able to resolve any issues quickly.

What car insurance coverage does Arbella offer?

Arbella supplements the standard types of coverage with a few extra options that cater to New Englanders and pet owners.

  • Comprehensive. This offers protection in the event of theft, fire, flood, vandalism or glass breakage.
  • Collision. This helps to pay for the damage to your car, no matter who caused the accident or incident.
  • Bodily injury to others. This covers the cost — up to $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident — if you accidentally injure someone while driving. It can also help to pay for legal defense.
  • Personal injury protection. This pays up to $8,000 for medical expenses, replacement services and 75% of lost wages in case of an accident — regardless of who’s at fault.
  • Bodily injury caused by uninsured motorists. This protects you, and anyone who drives your car, against losses caused by hit-and-run and uninsured drivers. Arbella requires a minimum limit of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
  • Property damage. With a minimum limit of $5,000, this helps pay for the damage you cause to another person’s property.
  • Loan/lease gap. In the event of an accident where your car’s a “total loss,” this pays the difference between your car’s depreciated value at the time and the full cost of replacing it.
  • Pet protection. One of the few insurers who offers this, pet protection covers up to $500 in vet fees if your cat or dog is injured in an accident.
  • Personal property package. An optional add on, this pays a portion of the cost of replacing or repairing expensive personal items in an accident, like PDAs — up to $200; child car seats — up to $250; and laptops — up to $1,000.
  • Snowplow. Available in Massachusetts, this takes care of the cost of your plowing equipment if it’s damaged in an accident after paying a $200 deductible.
  • OEM coverage.[tooltip text=”If your car needs repairs, you’ll receive parts from the OEM, Original Equipment Manufacturer.”][/tooltip] For qualifying cars in Connecticut, this pays for parts to be replaced with those from the original manufacturer.
  • Customer care package. Free with most policies, this offers extras like new vehicle replacement coverage and enhanced towing.

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What is the Disappearing Deductible Rewards Plus program?

Along with its deep discounts, Arbella has an attractive Disappearing Deductible Rewards Plus program. Every time you renew your policy without an at-fault accident, you’ll earn a $100 reward credit toward your collision deductible. In other words, you’ll score $100 every year for being a good driver — as long as you have the endorsement on your policy. And if you do get into an accident, you can take the money you’ve earned and put it toward your deductible. These rewards have a maximum of $500.

This program also offers $35 per day for rental vehicle loss of income up to $500, covers the accidental discharge of an airbag and pays for bail bonds as a result of an accident if you have bodily injury liability insurance.

What is the Arbella Carpartment program?

Arbella promotes its “Carpartment” coverage for customers who purchase auto and renters insurance together. Arbella offers a discount on renters insurance, which is great for drivers renting homes in Boston, Hartford or other cities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

What discounts can I get with Arbella?

For qualifying customers, Arbella offers a string of discounts and rewards.

  • Disappearing deductible rewards plus. If you stay accident free, Arbella reduces your collision deductible when you renew.
  • Accident forgiveness. Available in Massachusetts, this waives some of the penalties for one at-fault accident. This is open to customers who have been on the road for six or more years and boast excellent driving records.
  • Pay in full. Pay your premium up front for a 3% discount.
  • Low-mileage drivers. Drive less than 10,000 miles a year? You’ll pay less on your rate.
  • Good student. If you’re a full-time student with ace grades — a B average or higher — you’ll get a discount.
  • Driver simulator. Young drivers who successfully complete an approved simulation program will score a 7% discount. And those who go on to do an advanced driver training program will save another 5%.
  • Student away. If your kid goes to school more than 100 miles away, you can save 10%.
  • Military away. When you’re deployed on active military duty more than 100 miles from home, Arbella will slash your policy by 10%.
  • Bundling discounts. If you have other types of personal insurance with Arbella, you may be eligible for a discount.
  • Carpartment. Purchase auto insurance, and Arbella will throw in renter’s insurance for as little as $3 a week.
  • Arbella advantage. This rewards new and second-year policyholders with up to a 12% discount.
  • Loyalty discount. Every year you renew, Arbella will credit your account.
  • Multi-car. The more cars you insure, the cheaper your premium.
  • Hybrid or electric cars. Being eco-friendly doesn’t just feel good — it also drives down your premium.
  • Multicar family discount. Newish drivers with their own policies can lower their premium by 5% — if they still live at home.

Pros and cons of Arbella car insurance

Pros

  • Local independent agents. There are agents across the region, and they’re schooled on the ins and outs of your state.
  • 24/7 claims processing. You can file a claim over the phone or online at any time.
  • Drive-in claim centers. Arbella has 12 claim centers in Massachusetts, all of which aim to appraise your car in 20 minutes.
  • Sophisticated online portal. Manage your account and monitor claims via the MyArbella online portal.
  • Flexible payments. Pay upfront or in installments. You can settle your bill online, over the phone or send a check in the mail.
  • Pet protection. If your furry friend is injured in an accident, Arbella will cover up to $500 in vet fees.
  • Wheel Focused app. You can test your safe driving skills on Arbella’s smartphone app.

Cons

  • No live chat. Unlike most major insurers, Arbella doesn’t have this real-time functionality.
  • Limited reach. Auto insurance policies are only available in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • Not lenient with driving history. Drivers with blemishes in their recent history tend to face higher rates.
  • Higher base rates. Arbella’s rates aren’t the cheapest, but this is partly a product of its service area.

How to apply for Arbella car insurance

Since Arbella sells insurance through independent agents, you’ll need to get in touch with an agent to apply. You can’t get an online quote or chat with an agent online from the Arbella website, but most agents have a phone number, email or website with a contact form.

  1. Head to Arbella’s website and type in your ZIP code in the Find an Agent box.
  2. A list of agents and their insurance expertise and contact details will pop up.
  3. Choose any one of the auto insurers to walk you through the application.

What info do I need to apply?

You’ll need your driver’s license number, along with details on your driving history, car and other nominated drivers.

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What do customers say about Arbella?

Arbella Insurance Group has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2009 and has an A+ rating. As of this writing, the BBB has closed just 12 complaints in the last three years, most of which touched on billing, changing a policy and slow claims processing. On online forums, customers praise the company’s personalized attention and local knowledge.

In J.D. Power’s 2017 Auto Insurance Study, Arbella ranked 9 out of 16 insurers surveyed in the New England region. It scored about average for overall customer satisfaction, billing, pricing and policy offerings.

How to contact Arbella

You can get in touch with Arbella customer service by:

  • Phone. Call 800-272-3552 to speak to a customer service agent.
  • Email. Send a note to info@arbella.com.
  • Mail. Write a letter and mail it to: PO Box 699103, Quincy, MA 02279-9225

What is Arbella?

Arbella first flung open its doors in 1988 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Today, the company has $1 billion in assets and provides car, home and business insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as business insurance in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. It’s run by New Englanders, for New Englanders, and this local angle is its main selling point.

As a mutual firm, Arbella’s profits are divvied up among policyholders as premium reductions, so you might end up getting a check at the end of the year if the company records high profits. On the flipside, any losses can lead to rate increases. The company sells its products through independent agents, but has 12 claim offices around the region for easy access and personalized service.

Arbella is committed to connecting with the communities it services. The Arbella Insurance Foundation supports local nonprofits and has donated $23 million since 2005. Its #SpreadTheGood initiative is a part of this: To counter all the negative news in the world, the company encourages people to do what they can to make someone’s day, and shares their stories.

Alternatives to Arbella

If having a local agent is important to you, check out National General, Geico and Liberty Mutual, who all have agents across the country. Like Arbella, Ameriprise and Allstate have excellent discount programs. Nationwide offers a comparable good student discount, and American Family is worth looking into for low-mileage drivers.

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Liberty Mutual
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Root
Optional
No
AZ, AR, DE, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MT, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Metromile
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
USAA
Optional
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

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Bottom line

Arbella caters to New England drivers, and as a mutual company, relies on excellent customer service. Its agents are independent and local, so you know you’re working with someone who really understands your state. Massachusetts drivers can face high auto insurance rates, but Arbella does its best to reduce these with its discounts, which can be stacked for a cheaper premium.

If Arbella’s car insurance options tailored to New England drivers who care about local service and discounts don’t fit the bill, you still have plenty of options to find the best car insurance for you. The key is to compare car insurance policies against your own situation.

Frequently asked questions

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Kelly Waggoner

Kelly Waggoner is a senior editor with finder.com. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.

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