PEMCO Auto Insurance

by Nikola Djurkovic

Carsurance Verdict: Despite its low A. M. Best rating, PEMCO scores excellently in all other departments. That’s why we highly recommend it to every driver in Washington and Oregon.

Pemco is a regional insurer that sells its products only in Washington and Oregon. The company was founded in 1949, and it operates from Seattle, Washington. PEMCO auto insurance is a mutual insurance company, meaning its policyholders are in full control. Its name stands for Public Employees Mutual Insurance Company.

When we were reviewing other, bigger insurance companies, we often found other experts praising PEMCO. That’s why we decided to put it under our spotlight. It turns out that the company is an exceptional insurer with only a few minor drawbacks. Read on to find out more.

Product Overview – PEMCO Auto Insurance

Website and Mobile App

PEMCO’s website doesn’t have as many resources as some of the bigger insures, but it’s still nicely laid out and completely useful. It supports all the primary functions like getting a quote, paying a bill, or making a claim. And if you prefer using your mobile device, you can use the company’s highly rated mobile app. It offers the same functionalities as the website, plus it can be used to download proof of insurance in case you’re pulled over.

Signature Feature – PEMCO’s Timesaver Repairs Program

This program streamlines repairing your car after a covered accident as much as possible. PEMCO car insurance cooperates with many high-quality repair shops. You just need to contact PEMCO, and a customer service representative will offer you a selection of facilities to choose from.

Once you’ve made your pick, you can take your vehicle directly to the shop for repairs. You won’t have to communicate with a claims adjuster to schedule a damage review. The repair facility will estimate the damage and send photos to PEMCO. The company will reimburse the shop directly, and you’ll have to pay only for the deductible. And if you don’t like this procedure, you’re always free to choose a vehicle service on your own.

Financial Strength

This is the biggest chink in the company’s armor. The PEMCO insurance ratings from A. M. Best are “B++,” or “Good”, which is the lowest we’ve encountered in our reviews. On the plus side, A. M. Best revised the outlook from negative to stable. Nonetheless, you can expect almost any major insurer to outperform PEMCO in this category.

And an insurer’s financial stability matters a lot. If a company is weak in this department, a major crisis or a natural disaster could put it out of business. Nonetheless, PEMCO auto insurance is financially stable enough that the chances of that happening are very low.

Types of Insurance Available

Pemco may be a smaller company, but that doesn’t stop it from offering a variety of optional coverages. We applaud this effort since we’ve found in our car insurance reviews that regional insurers often provide only a handful of the optional protection plans. Here are the coverages you can add to your policy:

Towing and Labor (Roadside Assistance)

If you’re stuck because your car broke down by the road, you can count on your PEMCO roadside assistance coverage. Like all US insurers, the company offers 24/7 roadside help. If you add this coverage, you’ll have access to services such as towing, battery jump start, tire replacement, and locksmith assistance.

Custom Parts and Equipment

If you installed a custom bumper or rims, this is the coverage to add. But keep in mind that this option is only available in Washington, starting at a $500 basic limit with the option to buy higher limits.

Rental Car Reimbursement

While you’re waiting for your vehicle to get repaired after a covered accident, PEMCO insurance will cover the expenses of a rental car. Keep in mind that this coverage has a daily limit, plus a maximum amount of time you can use it for. You can bundle this option with comprehensive and collision coverage.

Auto Loan Coverage

This option is also known as GAP Insurance. If you total your vehicle, it pays the difference between the actual cash value of your car and the amount that’s left on your loan.

Key Replacement or Recoding

This option is available for Washington residents only. It pays up to $500 for recoding an undamaged key or replacing a lost key.

Camper, Canopy, and Tonneau Cover

PEMCO car insurance is among the rare insurers that cover this equipment. The default limit is $500, but you can buy even more coverage. Unfortunately, only Washington residents can get this protection plan.

Accidental Death

If any covered individual is killed in a car crash, their spouse or estate will get a $10,000 one-time benefit.

Rideshare Insurance

This is a terrific choice for those working for companies such as Uber and Lyft since their regular PEMCO insurance policy and ridesharing company’s coverage don’t provide complete protection. This option also covers you while you’re waiting for a match, are on the way to pick someone up, or are already driving a passenger.

Pet Protection

If your cat or dog gets injured or killed in a covered accident, PEMCO will pay up to $1,000 for the veterinarian bills or burial expenses.

Customer Service

In regions where the company’s insurance is available, the PEMCO customer service team is second to none.

NAIC Ratio

For starters, PEMCO’s NAIC ratio is 0.14. This is the lowest rating out of any US insurance company that appears in our reviews, and we’ve reviewed more than 20 of the leading companies. More prominent companies like Geico, Travelers, and State Farm score 0.62, 0.40, and 0.44, respectively.

J.D. Power’s Rankings

On top of that, PEMCO has the highest customer service satisfaction rating in the Northwest Region in J.D. Power’s 2018 Regional Rankings. It’s the only company that achieved five out of five stars besides USAA. However, USAA was listed as a special mention since it’s only available for the US military.

The BBB and Customer Reviews

Finally, PEMCO holds an “A+” on the Better Business Bureau website, although it’s not accredited yet.

PEMCO insurance reviews outperform the competition even on pages like Yelp and USInsuranceAgents. While they’re still strikingly bad, no car insurance company gets high praises on these websites.

In the end, we must conclude that, when it comes to treating customers fairly, PEMCO is among the best companies out there.Rating of PEMCO auto insurance in various customer service categories.

Discounts

PEMCO already offers reasonably priced policies, but that should not stop you from taking the full advantage of discounts and pay even less. What PEMCO offers is pretty much standard for the industry, which means it’s easy to compare their discounts with other offers. There are even unique options, like a discount for university employees.

One thing we dislike is how the company’s website doesn’t show the precise price reductions in percentages. This is especially disappointing because PEMCO auto insurance is a regional insurer, meaning there’s no significant variation depending on the state.

The following discounts are available:

Bundle

If you’re purchasing homeowner’s insurance from PEMCO in addition to auto insurance, you can get a discount.

Safety/Security Features

If your car is equipped with an anti-theft device such as an alarm or engine blocker, or if it has safety features like airbags or an antilock brake system (ABS), a discount is available.

Good Student

Full-time students aged 16–24, who maintain a GPA of “B” (3.0) or better can qualify for a substantial discount.

Educator

To qualify, you don’t even have to be a professor. It’s sufficient that you work in a public or private school, community college, or university. PEMCO auto insurance claims you can even keep your discount when you retire.

Distant Student

If you have a teen or young adult on a policy who studies at a school that’s more than 75 miles away and seldom drives the car, you can get a discount.

University of Washington Alumni Discount

University of Washington graduates that hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree can qualify for this discount. You cannot receive this discount if you’re already getting the Educator discount.

Accident Forgiveness Benefit

If you had a PEMCO auto insurance policy for five or more years without an at-fault accident, your first minor accident won’t lead to a higher rate. The great news is that PEMCO offers this discount for each listed driver on the policy.

Loyal Auto Customer

After your first year with Pemco, your premium will decrease for each consecutive year you spend with the company.

Home Ownership

Just by owning a home or condo, you can get a discount, no matter where you insure that property.

Low Mileage

When you are completing a PEMCO car insurance quote, you’ll need to provide your planned mileage. If it’s below 8,000 miles annually, you’ll get a discount.

Paid in Full

The main advantage of putting money down is a lower car insurance premium. If you pay your bill either in one installment or in two six-month payments, you will save up to 10%.

Advance Purchase

If you buy your insurance from PEMCO at least seven days before the coverage starts, and you’re a new customer, you can get a discount.

New Vehicle Discount

If your car is fewer than five model years old upon the policy’s effective date, you may qualify for a lower premium.

About Insurance Rates

To verify the rates that the company offers, we got a PEMCO auto insurance quote with limits that we would define as full coverage. Our reference location was the city of Seattle. We found PEMCO offers quite reasonable prices. No discounts were applied, meaning the premiums could be 20–40% lower when you finally sign up for a policy.PEMCO Auto Insurance Prices compared to its major competitors


This reduction would put it among the cheapest insurers in Washington and Oregon. It’s somewhat surprising that a regional insurer maintains such affordable rates, but that only serves to prove how fantastic an option PEMCO is.

PEMCO Auto Insurance Compared to Its Top Competitors

PEMCO vs. State Farm

PEMCO is superior to State Farm in all areas besides financial strength. It has significantly better customer service scores and considerably lower premiums. It may miss the highly polished mobile app and website that State Farm offers, but we think PEMCO is a better option unless financial strength is your number one priority.

PEMCO vs. American Family

PEMCO and American Family have similar prices, except in the case of younger drivers. That particular demographic will see about $100 more monthly in their PEMCO insurance quotes. The extra cost may be worth it since PEMCO has a better score in customer service, although the difference is small. When it comes to the available discounts and financial strength, American Family has a clear lead.

Given all this, there’s no clear cut winner in the comparison of these two insurers. This only confirms it’s prudent to get a quote from both companies.

PEMCO vs. Geico

If you’re worried about PEMCO’s financial strength, then Geico is the right alternative for you. Geico is a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which is the third company in the 2018 Fortune 500 list. It also has a slicker website and more affordable premiums.

However, you’ll have to put up with average customer service if you choose Geico. PEMCO is a clear cut winner in that department.

In the end, in WA and OR, both Geico and PEMCO are quote-worthy.

Best Alternatives

PEMCO car insurance is surely among the top insurers in Oregon and Washington. Nonetheless, before you settle for one company, you should get a quote from at least four other insurers. You can check our Oregon guide to find more details. If that’s too time-consuming, here is the quick round-up companies we’d consider adding to our quote:

Geico

It’s more affordable and has impressive online tools and the best financial strength possible. However, it scores lower in customer service.

USAA

This insurer outperforms any company in the US, including PEMCO. However, it’s only available to members of the military and their family.

Progressive

The champion of low prices and a safe haven for high-risk drivers. It’s financially stronger than PEMCO insurance, but it’s considerably worse in the customer service department.

American Family

This company also has customer service scores almost as good as PEMCO’s, and it is a tad cheaper. It also has marginally better financial strength. On top of that, as we noted in our American Family review, it offers numerous discounts.

The Hartford

This is an excellent alternative to PEMCO insurance for senior customers. It excels in customer satisfaction, and the prices are quite affordable.

Our Expert Verdict – Highly Recommended

PEMCO’s main weakness is its low A. M. Best rating, which is only “B++,” or “Good.” Despite that issue, the company scores excellent in all other departments. That’s why we highly recommend every driver in the Washington and Oregon region at least get a quote from PEMCO car insurance.

The only reason why you would you shouldn’t give PEMCO a chance is if you have a restricted budget or you’re looking for a unique feature that only one insurer offers. Otherwise, it’s near the top of the list of the best auto insurance companies.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which options companies are cheaper than PEMCO auto insurance?

Keep in mind that insurance quotes are highly personalized, meaning you might get a different result than we did. However, we would put our money on Progressive and Geico offering lower premiums than PEMCO.

2. How much does car insurance from PEMCO cost?

We requested a PEMCO insurance quote with full coverage limits for three different age demographics in the city of Seattle. The average price was $246 per month, without any discounts applied.

3. Does my PEMCO policy cover rental cars?

Yes, as PEMCO auto insurance claims on its website, your regular auto insurance transfers to rental cars too. However, if the rental vehicle is more expensive than yours, or if you only have liability coverage, it’s worth purchasing additional/higher limits from your rental company.

4. How do PEMCO’s rates compare to other car insurance companies in price?

PEMCO is slightly more expensive than the average when no discounts are applied. This means that if you qualify for a premium reduction, you’ll get some of the most competitive rates in the market.

5. How much is the PEMCO Paid-in-Full discount percentage-wise?

PEMCO auto insurance doesn’t provide info on the exact reduction on their website. Nonetheless, based on data we gathered from the 21+ insurers we reviewed, the discount ranges from 5% to 10%.

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