I’ve had a really frustrating experience with Geico this past month. I could have sworn that I set up auto-pay for my car insurance earlier this year, but either I didn’t or it didn’t process correctly because I realized in November that my coverage had lapsed. My first frustration was that the “Restart my policy” tool on their website was actually applying for an entirely new policy and required a 15-day waiting period for underwriting. I’ve been a customer with them for over a decade with the same vehicle, but that was the only option they offered. I reluctantly went through the process on November 15th and remember seeing the calendar on the form showing November 30th as the earliest date I could have coverage.
I waited and had not heard anything by November 30th, so tried to talk to a human on the phone. Ha. I settled for a customer service chat on their site and was told it’s 15 business days. Another frustration, but fine, I should hear something by December 6th then.
On December 4th, I got mail from Geico! Except it felt kind of thin. It was a letter dated November 28, 2023 and said they require additional information to move forward: a copy of a recent utility bill and a copy of the vehicle registration. I was immediately angry for multiple reasons. They already had this information. It’s the same vehicle they’ve covered for the last decade and I’ve been at the same address for 3 years now. Also, even if it was information they needed, they could have asked for it when I applied online weeks ago. Then I read the next line:
“You must provide this information no later than 11/30/2023 at 11:59pm Pacific for us to process your request to purchase a policy. If we do not receive these documents and/or information by this date, a new application for insurance with GEICO is required.”
More anger. Yes, they sent mail less than two days before their deadline and I didn’t receive it until 4 days after the deadline. Ridiculous.
I had already been thinking during this process that I might try another provider and that decided it for me. I recently joined AAA so checked out their offerings. I was applying online and when I had an issue, I called their number and talked to a human. It was a breath of fresh air. They were very helpful and got me through the initial setup quickly. I still have to wait until December 19th for their underwriting, but I am feeling much more hopeful about this.
I told the agent some of this debacle and he said it lines up with what he’s heard about Geico, that they’ve basically been closing up shop in CA, trying to avoid taking on new risk. Some Reddit discussions bear this out too. Supposedly it’s a mixture of things like California limiting how much companies can raise rates and auto repair costs being high. It’s Reddit, so take that with a grain of salt, but it seems plausible.
I kinda wonder now if I did set up auto-pay correctly but they just had a “technical issue” to drop the policy. Probably not, but regardless, the timing of that letter definitely seems like they’re trying to put barriers in place to avoid taking on new policies in California. I decided to file a complaint with the CA Department of Insurance requesting they investigate these business practices. I’ll update if I hear anything.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been as hopeful that my safe driving record or long-time customer loyalty was much of a factor here. Big companies like Geico don’t care as much about that, it’s all about their bottom line and the risk they’re taking on. I’m sure they’ll continue to make billions.
My rating: Zero stars