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Elephant Insurance Auto Insurance Review
Elephant Insurance is a relatively new player in the auto insurance industry, having only been around since 2009. But its parent company, Admiral Group Plc, is one of the top auto insurance providers in the United Kingdom and is a Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 company. Elephant Insurance is making a name for itself by offering a “Diminishing Deductible” program with accident forgiveness and presenting 12-month coverage terms.
Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Elephant Insurance currently offers coverage to residents of six states: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Because Elephant Insurance is a small insurance company and has only been around for a single decade, it is not rated on many of the industry’s most popular rating services (like A.M. Best, Moody’s, and J.D. Power). But it does have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and its parent company has an A+ from Fitch Ratings, so it’s possible that Elephant may be just as financially solvent as its bigger competitors.
Overall, Elephant could be a perfectly fine provider if you live within its coverage area, but it doesn’t bring anything special to the table — and if you’re looking for a company with guaranteed financial strength and a history of great customer satisfaction, you may want to look elsewhere.
Elephant Insurance claims to match the qualities of an elephant: “big, strong, and built to last,” plus “kind” and “caring.” Elephants, the insurance company claims, also “look out for their herd.”
Is it true?
Not quite. Or, at least, not yet.
Elephant Insurance is a fairly new and growing company. The first claims of being big and strong aren’t true yet, considering that Elephant only has a presence in six states. And the claim of being “built to last” can’t be verified at this early stage in the life of the company — especially since it doesn’t have any financial strength ratings of its own. However, Elephant’s parent company has grown to become one of the biggest, strongest insurance providers in the U.K. since launching in 1993, so there is cause for optimism that Elephant could follow suit.
And what about being kind and caring and looking out for the herd? At the moment, this claim appears to be a little shaky. Elephant currently has a higher-than-average number of complaints through industry watchdogs like the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The biggest complaints are the company’s failure to pay out claims (which is a common complaint industry-wide) and billing errors (which is a less common and less excusable cause for complaint). The company has no customer satisfaction ratings from organizations like J.D. Power, either, so you may want to stick with a better-known provider if you value customer service.
- In business since: 2009
- A.M. Best financial strength rating: Not rated
- Moody’s financial strength rating: Not rated
- S&P Global financial strength rating: Not rated
- J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score: Not rated
- Better Business Bureau Rating: A+
- States served: 6
- Pros: Good tools relative to its size, unique coverage add-ons
- Cons: High number of complaints
Coverage and discounts may vary by state.
To reward you for being a safe driver and a loyal customer, Elephant Insurance offers a Diminishing Deductible program. As the name implies, this program reduces the amount you would need to pay out of pocket if you file a claim. When you sign up for the Diminishing Deductible program, you’ll get $100 off your deductible immediately as a thank you for your business. Every accident-free year after, you’ll get another $100 off your deductible (up to $500 over five years). It’s important to note that the Diminishing Deductible is optional, and you must select it when purchasing or renewing your insurance policy.
Online claim filing
Most insurance companies the size of Elephant do not have the resources to offer online claim filing. Instead, you have to call a claims service phone number during business hours to report your claim. So it was a pleasant surprise to find that Elephant does support online claim filing. You simply click “File a Claim Online” on the website, and the claims system will walk you through the process of reporting your claim. Of course, if you prefer to speak to a live person about your claim, you have the option to call customer service and report your claim over the phone in about 15 to 20 minutes.
12-month term option
Many auto insurance policies come in a six-month term, which allows insurance companies to review your driving record twice per year and change your premium based on factors like the number of claims, traffic tickets, and at-fault accidents, plus the extent of any damages that were covered. Elephant offers the option for a 12-month term, as you’ll see when you get your online quote. While Elephant is far from the only company with this option, it is a great perk; if you’re getting a low rate, you can benefit from locking it in for twice as long as other six-month auto insurance policies allow.
Don’t be fooled by the high star rating on Elephant’s website. These reviews are only pulling from reviews submitted through the Elephant website and appear to mostly originate from prompts to rate Elephant immediately after the sign-up process — at which time most people don’t have any cause for complaint, because the sign-up process is straightforward. Other ratings sites tell a different story. With fewer than 2.5 stars and 170 formal complaints submitted over the past three years to the Better Business Bureau, Elephant has received more complaints than normal for a company of its size. It also fares poorly with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which weighs number of complaints relative to other companies in the market. In 2018, Elephant received almost three times the number of expected complaints.
Another possible red flag is that over 30% of the complaints filed with the BBB involve billing issues. Several customers reported excessive and unexplained increases in premiums after the first term, and several customers reported being mistakenly charged after canceling their Elephant Insurance policy. This may just be a growing pain, a temporary problem resulting from the relatively new and evolving billing systems. But for now, the billing errors are a factor to consider before choosing Elephant as your auto insurance provider.
|Elephant Insurance||State Farm||Allstate||Progressive|
|Our review||Our review||Our review|
|More complaints than average||Fewer complaints than average||More complaints than average||Fewer complaints than average|
|Diminishing Deductible program Good range of advertised discounts||Ride-share coverage Agents nationwide||Good online tools and resources No restrictions on repair shops||Usage-based insurance program Pet protection coverage|
|Higher-than-average number of customer complaints Small service area||Smaller selection of advertised discounts Buggy mobile app||Low claims satisfaction score||Low claims satisfaction score Fewer advertised discounts|
|Get a quote||Get a quote||Get a quote||Get a quote|
*Customer complaints are registered by the NAIC and measured relative to the company’s market share.
Elephant Insurance FAQ
What do I need to get an auto quote from Elephant Insurance?
You can get a quote online in about 10 minutes. You just need to provide some basic information about yourself, your vehicle(s), and any other drivers. You’ll also need to answer a few personal questions relating to your education, marital status, and employment. And if you currently have insurance, you’ll want to have your current policy on hand to answer questions about your current coverage.
Do I lose my Diminishing Deductible credit if I have an accident?
Unlike most insurance providers, Elephant Insurance will not wipe out your existing Diminishing Deductible credit if you are involved in an accident. Your deductible will simply remain flat for the following year. After that year, you will be eligible for another $100 reduction if you have not already met the Diminishing Deductible maximum of $500.
How quickly does Elephant Insurance process claims?
Elephant Insurance’s online claim filing system allows customers to file a claim 24/7, so the claims process can begin as soon as possible after an accident. The time required to process your claim depends on a few factors, like how long it takes to collect all the necessary information about the accident and how soon the vehicle can be repaired. The process moves a little faster if you opt for the Repair Assistance Program, where your vehicle will be repaired by an Elephant-approved repair shop. Because Elephant will pay the repair shop directly, you won’t have to wait for a reimbursement check to close out your claim.
The Bottom Line
There are reasons to be optimistic about the future of Elephant Insurance. Financial backing by parent company Admiral Group certainly inspires confidence, and the early investment in customer tools like online claims filing is encouraging. Elephant Insurance is also showing loyalty toward its customers through options like the Diminishing Deductible program and the 12-month term. That said, the high number of customer complaints are a cause for concern, especially when those complaints refer to billing issues. As you collect quotes from multiple insurers, it’s worth evaluating your priorities — even if Elephant offers you the lowest premium, an insurer with a little more history may give you more peace of mind.