Pemco car insurance review November 2018 | finder.com

Pemco car insurance review November 2018

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For Oregon and Washington drivers who are looking to score big on discounts

Buying car insurance can feel a lot like a chess match. It’s you against the insurance company, and you’ve got to plan your next move before it gets the better of you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Pemco is a local, mutually-owned insurance company that does things differently.

Since Pemco is available to only Washington and Oregon residents, its customers are also its neighbors. They drive the same roads, deal with the same weather and attend the same schools. When you insure your car, home or boat with Pemco, you can rest assured that you won’t be lost in a sea of nationwide customers.

Description Pemco car insurance is ideal for drivers in Washington and Oregon who want safe driving discounts, great customer service and a handy mobile app.
States served Oregon, Washington
Roadside assistance Included free
Pay schedule 6 months
Claims methods online
New car protection No

Pros

  • Wide range of discounts available.
  • Award-winning customer service.
  • Convenient mobile app.

Cons

  • Limited availability based on location.
  • Customer complaints of increased rates.
Defensive driving discount Yes
Good student discount Yes
Loyalty discount Yes
Homeowner discount Yes
Military discount No
Safety device discount Yes
Special employment discount Yes
Usage-based discount No
Other discounts Paid-in-Full Discount. Get a discount when you pay your premiums in a single, lump-sum payment.

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Who is Pemco best for?

Pemco insurance is best for residents in the Northwest region of the US, specifically in Washington and Oregon. This is an auto insurance company for responsible drivers who want to work together to keep costs down for their fellow Northwesties.

What is Pemco?

Seattle journalist and math teacher Robert J. Handy started Pemco, short for Public Employees Mutual Casualty Company, in 1949 as a way to provide car insurance to teachers who were members of his credit union. It was important to Handy that his company be mutually owned by its customers rather than stockholders on Wall Street. In 1968, the company began donating 5% of its net taxable income each year to local charities.

The company stopped selling life insurance in 2012 when this branch was sold to Sagicor Life, but Washington and Oregon residents can still purchase auto, home, boat and umbrella policies with Pemco.

Today, Northwesterners might recognize Pemco best by its tagline, “We’re a lot like you. A little different,” to showcase its dedication to local customers. It’s also worth noting that the company was named highest in customer satisfaction among auto insurers in the Northwest region for five years in a row by J.D. Power.

What car insurance coverage does Pemco offer?

Pemco may be a smaller company compared to some of its nationwide competitors, but it still has an extensive list of car insurance policy options.

  • Collision. If your car is damaged in a crash or rollover, collision coverage pays for the cost of repairs, regardless of who’s at fault. If you have a car loan, your bank will most likely require this coverage.
  • Comprehensive. Covers costs from anything other than collision damage, such as theft, fire or vandalism.
  • Liability bodily injury damage. If you are legally liable for causing bodily injury to someone else, this coverage will take care of the costs, as well as any defense costs if you go to court.
  • Liability property damage. Covers the costs of the other person’s car and belongings if damaged in an accident. It also covers the defense costs if you have to go to court.
  • Personal injury protection. Pays for medical expenses and lost wages for you or family members who are injured or killed in an automobile accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist. Covers you if your car is damaged in an accident caused by someone else with no insurance or insufficient insurance.
  • Towing and labor. Pemco’s version of roadside assistance, which comes in handy if you break down and need work right on the spot or if you need to be towed to a shop.
  • Rental reimbursement. You’ll be reimbursed for the cost of a rental car while yours is being repaired. You can bundle this with collision and comprehensive coverage to save.
  • Auto loan coverage. Also called gap insurance, if your car is less than three years old and is totaled, auto loan coverage will pay off your car loan, provided the amount left on your loan is more than what the car is worth.
  • Accidental death. If any covered person is killed in a car wreck, $10,000 will be paid to his or her spouse or estate.
  • Rideshare coverage. Coverage extends your auto insurance coverage while driving for Lyft, Uber or other rideshare services.

A few additional coverage options are available to Washington residents only.

  • Replacing or recoding key coverage. Lost your key, or need your electronic keypad recoded? This insurance coverage pays up to $500 toward these costs.
  • Camper, canopy and tonneau cover coverage. Pays up to $500 to cover these items, with the option to purchase additional protection.
  • Custom parts and equipment coverage. Pays up to $500 for custom parts and equipment, with the option to buy more coverage.
  • Pet coverage. Pays up to $1,000 for your dog or cat if injured or killed in a covered collision.
  • Rental car coverage. If your rental car is damaged in an accident, this coverage pays for the costs of repairs, plus any administrative fees, diminished value or other expenses.

Pemco car insurance rates

As with any insurance company, your car insurance rate with Pemco will vary based on your insurance score, which looks at factors like your credit score and accident history. Pemco’s rates can be a bit on the pricier side, but the company does offer a number of ways to help you save, such as low mileage, safe driving and accident-free driving discounts, as well as your choice of deductibles.

What discounts can I get with Pemco?

There are lots of ways you can save a little extra on your car insurance policy. Pemco offers the following discounts to its customers.

  • Auto and home bundle. Bundle your car and homeowners or renters insurance together to save on redboth.
  • Educator discount. Get a discount if you work for a public or private school, community college or university. You can even keep the same discount when you retire.
  • Safety feature discount. Is your vehicle equipped with airbags and a car alarm? Pemco will give you a discount.
  • Good student discount. Get a GPA of 3.0 or higher and earn a discount on your car insurance policy.
  • Distant student discount. You can save if you have a student who goes to school more than 75 miles away from home and doesn’t have a car at school.
  • Defensive driver discount. Drivers who are 55 or older can complete a defensive driving course to save on their policy.
  • University of Washington alumni discount. If you have a degree from the University of Washington and still live in either Washington state or Oregon, you qualify for some savings.
  • Loyal auto customer discount. Pemco rewards loyal auto insurance policyholders with discounts starting at their one-year anniversary.
  • Advance purchase discount. Get a discount when you buy a Pemco insurance policy at least seven days before it’ll go into effect.
  • Low mileage discount. If you drive your car less than 8,000 miles per year, you can snap up a discount.
  • New vehicle discount. You’ll qualify for this discount if your car is less than five model years old when your policy starts.
  • Paid in full discount. Save even more when you pay your bill in one annual payment or two six-month payments.

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Does Pemco offer any special programs?

Pemco offers two special programs if you’ve been an auto insurance customer with the company for at least five years:

  • Accident forgiveness. Pemco’s accident forgiveness program applies to all drivers on your policy, not just once per year. It’ll go into effect if you’ve been a Pemco auto insurance customer for five or more years without an accident.
  • Minor ticket forgiveness. No tickets for your first five years with Pemco? Your rates won’t go up after your first one, thanks to the company’s minor ticket forgiveness program.

What is the Timesaver Repairs Program?

Pemco’s Timesaver Repairs Program aims to expedite the repair process after an accident. If you choose to visit one of these qualified garages, you won’t need to wait for a Pemco adjuster to review your vehicle damages and give you an estimate. Instead, you work directly with the repair shop, which prepares an estimate and repairs your damages.

  1. Take your damaged vehicle to one of Pemco’s Timesaver Repair Shops that are prescreened for quality and customer service.
  2. Get your estimate and wait for repairs to be complete. No haggling or dealing with an insurance adjuster.
  3. Once your car is fixed, pick it up and you’re done.
  4. After you pay your deductible, the shop will send Pemco the final bill.

What’s not covered by Pemco?

Pemco will only insure drivers who live in Washington state or Oregon. Most makes and models of vehicles are eligible for insurance coverage with Pemco, and newer vehicles will qualify lower rates.

Are there any coverage maximums?

Pemco has a maximum of $250,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $500,000 per accident. There’s not too much more offered on the site, and and the customer service representative was vague, stating that general coverage maximums vary by state.

Pros and cons of Pemco car insurance

Pros

  • Lots of discounts. Whether you’re a teacher, UW alumni, have a new car or do great in school, there’s an opportunity for savings on your car insurance policy.
  • Ticket and accident forgiveness. After five years of insuring with Pemco, your first accident or ticket won’t increase your rates.
  • Excellent customer service. Pemco has been named the highest in customer satisfaction among auto insurers in the Northwest region for five years in a row by J.D. Power.
  • Easy-to-use mobile app. Download the Go Pemco app to get instant access to your policy, download proof of insurance and make insurance claims 24/7.

Cons

  • Limited customer base. Pemco auto insurance is only available to residents of Washington and Oregon.
  • No rate lock. Some customers complain that their insurance premiums increased even after being loyal customers for years.

What do customers say about Pemco?

Pemco is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, yet it earns an A+ rating. However, many customers don’t seem to agree with this score. Loyal customers are primarily upset with increased insurance rates, despite having been with the company for several years.

On the other hand, even some of the negative reviews for Pemco praise its friendly customer service. When you contact Pemco directly, you’ll speak to a real person who can help you resolve your issue quickly.

How to apply

Applying for Pemco car insurance online is an easy, streamlined process.

  1. Go to Pemco’s site and enter your ZIP code in the green Get a Quote box. Click Get Your Quote.
  2. Enter your personal information, including your name, address, birth date and policy start date.
  3. Answer some questions about where you live, your gender, your education and your accident history to see if you could qualify for discounts. Click the button that says Add Driver at the bottom of this page if you would like more than one driver on your policy.
  4. Enter your car’s VIN number, or look it up by its make, model and body style.
  5. On the final page, you should see an insurance quote in a green box on the right side of your screen. If more information is needed to generate your quote, you may see a message asking you to fill out an online contact form so an agent can give you a call.

If you have any questions during this process, you can click the orange Chat button at the bottom of the screen to speak with an agent.

What info do I need to apply?

You’ll need to have this information handy when you apply:

  • Your basic personal information, such as your name and address
  • Your car’s VIN or the make, model and package of the car you’d like to insure
  • Information for any drivers you’d like to add to your policy

Entering your Social Security number is optional during the online quote process, but it may be required if Pemco is unable to verify your credit information using your name and address alone.

How do I find a Pemco agent near me

To find an agent near you:

  1. Go to the Pemco website and click Find an Agent in the green Get a Quote box.
  2. Enter a location and a list of car insurance agencies near you will appear, along with their address and phone number.

How to make a claim with Pemco

Pemco makes filing a car insurance claim as simple as possible. You can do so through its mobile app, online or by calling 800-467-3626. You can file an insurance claim 24/7 everyday, so there’s no need to wait until Monday or after a holiday if your accident happens on a weekend or on, say Christmas.

After getting in contact with your agent and Pemco’s claims office, claims can take around 10 business days to process.

To make a claim online:

  1. Go to Pemco’s website and click Claims in the top navigation bar.
  2. Click the green Report a Claim button.
  3. Sign into your Pemco account.
  4. Enter the required information regarding your claim.
  5. Submit your claim.
  6. Wait for a claims representative to contact you to walk you through the process.

What info do I need to make a claim?

No matter how you choose to file a claim, you’ll likely need to provide the following information.

  • Your policy number
  • Date, time and location of the accident or incident.
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of registered owners, injured people, occupants of other cars and witnesses.
  • Description and license numbers of the other cars involved.
  • Photos taken after the accident or incident.
  • Police report number, if applicable.

How to contact Pemco

There are a few different ways you can reach Pemco customer support:

  • By phone. Call 800-467-3626 on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Dial 711 or 800-833-6384 for Washington relay for the hearing impaired services.
  • By email. Go to Pemco’s site and click Contact Us at the bottom of the page. Click Secure Online Form to email customer service.
  • By fax. You can send a fax to customer support at 206-268-2735 or the claims department at 206-268-2715.
  • With the Go Pemco mobile app. Contact customer service from your mobile device by logging in to the app.
  • By mail. Send snail mail to:

PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
PO Box 778
Seattle, WA 98111-0778

Does Pemco offer other types of insurance?

Yes, in addition to traditional auto insurance, Pemco also offers:

  • Homeowners, renters and condo insurance
  • Boat insurance
  • Motorcycle and scooter insurance
  • RV and travel trailer insurance
  • Classic auto insurance
  • Earthquake insurance

What are some alternatives to Pemco?

If working with a local, mutually-owned insurance company is important to you, Pemco could be a great choice. However, depending on how many discounts you qualify for, or your insurance score, you may be able to snag a cheaper policy with a nationwide company like Geico, State Farm or Erie. And since Pemco is only available to Washington and Oregon residents, you won’t be able to open up a policy with this company if you live out of state.

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
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

Pemco is a worthy car insurance contender for Washington and Oregon residents to consider, especially if they qualify for any of the many discounts available. While friendly customer service is one of Pemco’s strongest assets, some customers have found that they ended up paying more with this local insurance provider than they would through a bigger nationwide company.

If Pemco doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, compare other car insurance companies to find the best insurer for your unique situation.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

Frequently asked questions about Pemco

Gabrielle Pastorek

Gabrielle Pastorek writes about fashion, beauty and finance. Gabrielle loves helping people find a great deal, whether it's in their shopping cart or on a credit card. In her free time, she exercises her creative muscles by writing short stories.

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