New Jersey Manufacturers car insurance review October 2018 | finder.com

New Jersey Manufacturers car insurance review October 2018

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If you call New Jersey or Pennsylvania home, this niche insurer is well worth a look.

When you’re shopping for car insurance, price and reliability may be top factors on your list. Car insurance is something most states require you to have, but you hope to never use it. To make the decision easier, many providers have a clear angle.

New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM) capitalizes on its local reach and expertise. For almost a century, the company has catered to drivers in New Jersey, and more recently, Pennsylvania. With limited reach and strict eligibility requirements, it’s a niche insurer in every sense, but if you fit the mold, it’s a solid choice.

NJM is New Jersey’s leading auto insurer. In a state where car insurance coverage is on the pricier side, the company is known for its low premiums. Its agents are local and schooled on the ins and outs of the state they service. As a mutual firm, its success is hinged on its customer service.

Description NJM takes the guesswork out of shopping for a policy by keeping its criteria tight: To qualify for coverage, you must live and work in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. The insurer is a mutual company and has local agents dotted around these two states to offer specialized service and exclusive benefits.
States served New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Roadside assistance Optional
Included free
Pay schedule monthly
Claims methods online, phone
New car protection No

Pros

  • Local agents
  • Competitive rates
  • 24/7 claims processing
  • Online portal
  • Roadside assistance
  • Leniency
  • Teen Safe Driving program
  • Financially strong

Cons

  • No live chat
  • Limited geographic reach
  • Limited eligibility
  • Missing coverage
Defensive driving discount Yes, 5%, NJ drivers only
Good student discount Yes, high school & college students with a 3.0 GPA
Loyalty discount No
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount No
Safety device discount No
Special employment discount No
Usage-based discount No
Other discounts Driver Training Discount - drivers under 21 years old who successfully complete a certain amount of training Mature Driver Improvement - PA drivers over 55 who successfully complete a driver improvement course

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Who is NJM best for?

As a niche insurer, NJM has a set of criteria policyholders need to meet.

For auto insurance in New Jersey, applicants must be employed by one of the 1,600 members of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), the federal government, the state of New Jersey or a local public school. You may also be eligible if you’re a prior policyholder, the spouse of a policyholder or someone who drives a commercial car that’s covered by NJM.

If you’re nodding yes to any of the above, NJM could be a solid choice. It’s proudly local and specializes in New Jersey car insurance. Its rates are competitive, especially for those with a low credit score or one at-fault accident to their name. With agents and offices dotted around the state, it has an excellent customer service record.

NJM also writes auto insurance for Pennsylvania residents, and applications are open to anyone.

What is NJM?

Founded by a group of factory owners in 1913, NJM had one goal in mind: To provide fair and accessible workers’ compensation to New Jersey’s business community. In 1921, the insurer branched out to offer auto and home insurance and opened up membership to employees of businesses around the state. Today, it has a strong partnership with the NJBIA and writes coverage for member companies, as well as public school and federal government employees.

NJM is a mutual firm, meaning it’s owned by its policyholders. It sells directly to consumers, and this model has made it a low-cost provider. Along with offering specialized service and a long list of discounts, NJM pays dividends to its policyholders at an average rate of 5% of the yearly premium each year. Since 1918, more than $6 billion has been paid to policyholders — an impressive number for a niche insurer.

NJM supports the local community. Its employees volunteer at Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and HomeFront’s Camp Mercer, a program for homeless children, and participate in the annual walk for the American Heart Association. It’s also big on education: Its teen safe driver program, Share the Keys, is free for all New Jersey high schools.

What car insurance coverage does NJM offer?

NJM’s coverage is geared toward New Jersey state laws and driving conditions. Your policy might cover:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP). Covers the cost of medical treatment if you or other people under your policy get into an accident. It also takes care of the other expenses you may incur as a result, such as lost wages. PIP is sometimes called no-fault coverage because it pays regardless of who caused the accident. Depending on your policy, NJM can pay between $15,000 and $250,000 per person or accident. This is legally required in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • Body injury liability coverage. Legally required in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this pays for claims and lawsuits by people who are injured in an accident you caused.
  • Property damage liability coverage. Also state-mandated in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this helps to pay for the damage you cause to others’ property in an accident.
  • Combined single-limit liability coverage. Under New Jersey’s Standard Policy, this provides liability coverage for both bodily injury and property damage as a combined limit.
  • Uninsured (UI) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Required by law in New Jersey, this kicks in if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who has little to no insurance.
  • Collision coverage. An optional add-on, this covers the cost of damage to your vehicle after a collision with another car or object.
  • Comprehensive. Available as an option, this pays for damages to your car caused by things like theft, vandalism, flooding, fire or broken windshields.
  • Extended medical expense coverage limit. With a limit of $10,000, this takes care of the costs if you’re injured while riding in a motor vehicle that’s not a standard car, like a bus, motorcycle, taxi or commercial truck. It also applies to pedestrians struck by those kinds of vehicles.
  • Roadside assistance. NJM stands out for offering this service free of charge on all auto policies. The insurer will pay up to $75 for each time a covered car has a mechanical breakdown, flat tire or lockout.

What discounts can I get with NJM?

NJM offers attractive discounts for qualifying customers.

  • Home and auto bundle. Choose NJM for your auto and homeowners or renters insurance and you’ll earn a discount.
  • Multi-car discount. Insure two or more vehicles on the same policy and NJM will apply a discount for each.
  • Good student discount. If you’re a high school or college student with at least a B average or 3.0 GPA or higher, NJM may reward that by slashing your premium.
  • Anti-theft device discount. Is your car equipped with an anti-theft or vehicle recovery device? You’ll likely get a discount.
  • Driver training discount. This is available to drivers younger than 21 who successfully complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training, or three hours of behind-the-wheel training and 12 hours in an approved driving simulator.
  • Defensive driving. If you’ve taken a defensive driving course approved by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), you’ll get a 5% discount for up to three years. You can retake the course every three years, and online courses count.
  • Pennsylvania mature driver improvement discount. Pennsylvania drivers 55 years or older can qualify for a discount if they voluntarily complete a mature driver improvement course through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The policyholder must have done the course within three years, and continue to take it every three years to stay eligible.

What is NJM’s Teen Safe Driving program?

NJM is committed to educating young drivers. As part of its Teen Driver Safety program, NJM officers visit high schools around New Jersey to talk about distracted driving and state driving laws. The initiative is fully funded by NJM and free for all schools.

In 2013, the insurer launched Share The Keys, a 60- to 90-minute interactive program for parents and their teen drivers. The program aims to reduce the risk of teen crashes by getting parents involved. During the presentation, NJM touches on controlling the keys, being a good role model and boosting your teen’s practice driving hours.

What’s not covered by NJM?

New Jersey is notorious for its high auto insurance rates. It’s the fourth smallest state in the US, but it ranks 11th for population, meaning there are a lot of drivers on the road. To keep the costs as low as possible, NJM tends to steer clear of super high-end, luxury and exotic cars. To find out if your car falls into that category, your best bet is to give the company a call.

Also, unlike many providers in New Jersey, NJM’s policies don’t include mechanical breakdown, personal property or pet injury coverage.

Are there any coverage maximums?

New Jersey requires drivers to carry liability insurance and personal injury protection (PIP). While the limits vary between policies, NJM will offer up to $500,000 of coverage for combined bodily injury liability and property damage liability. For PIP, the company will pay up to $250,000 per person or accident. And underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is available for the limits you set for liability coverage.

We’re unable to verify the coverage maximums for Pennsylvania policies, so you’ll need to reach out to an NJM agent for more info.

Pros and cons of NJM

Pros

  • Local agents. Every agent is aware of unique local driving laws.
  • Competitive rates. NJM’s premiums can be up to 20% lower than the state average.
  • 24/7 claims processing. You can file a claim over the phone or online at any time.
  • Online portal. Manage your policy, make payments and monitor claims
  • Roadside assistance. Usually a costly add-on, NJM offers this service free on all policies.
  • Leniency. The insurer offers some of the cheapest rates for drivers with poor credit and one at-fault accident on their record.
  • Teen Safe Driving program. NJM takes the safety of its state’s roads into its own hands, offering free safety presentations to New Jersey high schools.
  • Financially strong. NJM holds an A+ rating by A.M. Best, meaning it has the funds to pay out claims.

Cons

  • No live chat. NJM’s website doesn’t offer real-time help.
  • Limited geographic reach. Auto insurance policies are only available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • Limited eligibility. While insurance is available to all Pennsylvania drivers, New Jerseyans have to tick a few boxes.
  • Missing coverage. Unlike many providers in New Jersey, NJM’s policies don’t include mechanical breakdown, personal property or pet injury coverage.

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What do customers say about NJM?

While NJM isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it has an A rating. The BBB has closed just 28 complaints in the past three years, most of which touched on issues with billing and claims processing.

On online forums, customers praise the company’s local knowledge, timely investigations and fair repairs, though some say it can be slow to communicate and process claims.

In J.D. Power’s 2017 Auto Insurance Study, NJM ranked highly for customer satisfaction. It earned a score of 874 on a 1,000-point scale, which was well above the national average of 819.

How to apply for car insurance with NJM

To get a quote online:

  1. Head to NJM’s website.
  2. On the homepage, you’ll see two dropdown boxes. Select your area: New Jersey or Pennsylvania, and the type of coverage you’re interested in: Auto.
  3. Click Get Quote.
  4. You’ll then be asked to enter your personal information and driving history, and shown your coverage options and rates.

You can also get a quote over the phone by calling 800-232-6600, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

What information do I need to apply?

You’ll need:

  1. Your driver’s license number
  2. Details on your driving history, including past claims and accidents
  3. Details of the car you’re insuring
  4. The names of the people who will be driving it

How do I find an NJM agent near me?

NJM has offices in West Trenton, Parsippany and Hammonton in New Jersey. If you’re not nearby, you can call, email or fax customer service. The company does not have any brick-and-mortar offices in Pennsylvania.

How do I make a claim with NJM?

You can file a car insurance claim 24/7 by calling 800-367-6564 or logging into the online portal.

You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your policy number
  • Your contact details
  • Your relationship to the policyholder, if it’s not you
  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Description of incident
  • Photos of any damage caused

How do I contact NJM?

You can get in touch with NJM in a few ways.

  • In person. Visit the offices in West Trenton, Parsippany and Hammonton, New Jersey.
  • Email. Navigate to the Contact Us page on NJM’s website, and fill out the email form.
  • Phone. Call 800-232-6600. The customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.
  • Fax. Send a fax to the below numbers.
    • West Trenton: 609-882-3457
    • Parsippany: 973-326-6809
    • Hammonton: 609-493-1475
  • Mail. Post can be directed to: NJM Insurance Group, 301 Sullivan Way, West Trenton, NJ 08628

Does NJM offer other types of insurance?

NJM sells a range of personal insurance products, including:

  • Auto and recreational vehicle insurance — boat, personal watercraft, motorcycle, ATV and classic and collector car
  • Homeowners, condo and renter’s insurance
  • Flood insurance
  • Umbrella insurance

Business-wise, it also offers commercial auto insurance and workers’ compensation.

What are some alternatives to NJM?

If you’re open to bundling policies for a discount, check out Esurance, Progressive and Geico.

For a similarly local insurer in the New England region, look at Arbella.

And if you’re hunting for providers who will reward you for safe driving and doing defensive driving programs like NJM does, explore National General and Ameriprise.

Compare car insurance providers

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
Included free
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
Included free
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
Included free
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

NJM caters to drivers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and its agents are not only local but specialize in the laws and nuances of both states. It’s an exclusive, niche insurer and for customers, that’s where its appeal lies.

As a mutual company, the firm relies on customer service and it has very few complaints to its name. It’s also paid out steady dividends to policyholders since 1918.

If you qualify for coverage, NJM is definitely worth exploring. While coverage is limited in some ways, it stands out for offering low premiums and discounts — especially in New Jersey, where auto insurance rates are among the highest in the country.

Before committing, compare car insurance policies to make sure you’re getting the best one for you.

Frequently asked questions about NJM

Katia Iervasi

Katia is a freelance writer from sunny Sydney, Australia. Her writing — and curiosity — has taken her around the world, and she now calls chaotic, creative New York home. She navigates insurance and finance for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

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