Unique Auto Insurance Review: Customer Complaints, AM Best, BBB, & JD Power Ratings

Unique Insurance Company sells nonstandard auto insurance through local independent insurance agencies located throughout the six states of Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Tennessee. Nonstandard auto insurance is car insurance for higher risk drivers some standard or preferred auto insurance companies won’t insure, such as newly licensed or inexperienced drivers, drivers with a recent lapse in coverage, currently do not have auto insurance, or have too short of a prior auto insurance history, drivers with too many tickets, accidents, or a major driving violation (DUI, DUII, DWI, Reckless driving), or recent license suspension.

Are you the type of driver that needs a company like Unique Insurance Company, or is there a better standard auto insurance company for you? Does Unique Auto Insurance have too many customer complaints? How does Unique Insurance Company compare to competing auto insurance companies like Progressive & GEICO? This blog post will help you answer these questions and review Unique Auto Insurance, evaluating its JD Power, AM Best, BBB (Better Business Bureau) ratings, and customer complaints over the last three years, to let you know if Unique Insurance Company has a better than average, average, or worse than average complaint record or competitive auto insurance rates.

The information in this review can help you decide if Unique Insurance Company is a good company to insure your cars or trucks. The smart insurance shopper checks their eligibility with all the major companies for the right combination of coverage, acceptable claims & customer service, and best price for them. Be sure to use the ad below this paragraph (or the ad at the end of this review) to request price quotes from multiple insurance companies, and find the best insurance company for you.


Unique Auto Insurance Review

This Unique auto insurance review is divided into five parts, consisting of: 1. A company overview including the Unique Insurance Company website and how to get auto insurance price quotes, 2. The AM Best financial strength ratings for Unique Insurance Company, 3. The JD Power customer satisfaction ratings and BBB rating for Unique Auto Insurance, 4. the auto insurance customer complaint records for Unique Insurance Company over the last three years, 5. a review summary of Unique auto insurance, rating its customer complaint record as average, better than average, or below average, and the competitiveness of Unique auto insurance rates.

1. About Unique Insurance Company

Unique Insurance Company was established in 1996 as a physical damage carrier (no auto insurance liability for the car, insuring the vehicle only for damage through comprehensive & collision coverage) available solely in Illinois, but now offers complete personal auto insurance policies in Illinois and five additional states, and commercial auto insurance for businesses in Illinois and Indiana.

Unique Insurance Company sells nonstandard auto insurance for drivers considered higher risk by insurance companies, such as drivers with tickets or accidents, a recent lapse or no prior insurance coverage, drivers licensed less than three years, or other reasons. If you qualify for standard or preferred auto insurance with any company, it’s probably a better & less expensive choice for you than Unique auto insurance. Unique Insurance Company sells its auto insurance using a network of local independent insurance agencies with offices throughout the six states where the company provides coverage.

According to the company website, Unique Insurance Company sells its auto insurance policies through independent insurance agencies located in the following states: Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Tennessee. If you are a driver not qualifying for standard or preferred auto insurance coverage, and live in a state where Unique auto insurance is available, you should check to see what coverage and rates Unique Insurance Company can offer you.

Unique Insurance Website, Getting Auto Insurance Price Quotes, & Reporting Claims

You can’t get auto insurance price quotes online from the Unique Insurance Company website or use the site to find the contact information and locations of independent insurance agencies authorized to sell Unique auto insurance near you. Customers can use the Unique Insurance Company website for making payments online, filing claims, and general company information.

To get the location and phone number for an agent representing Unique Insurance Company near you, to contact for an auto insurance price quote, call:

MAIN PHONE (TOLL FREE): (866) 426-8842

BUSINESS HOURS

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm(CST) Friday: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm(CST)

BUSINESS HOURS – INDIANA CLAIMS OFFICE:

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (CST) Friday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm(CST)

Unique Auto Insurance Claims Reporting

Claims can be reported online through the Unique Insurance Company website, or by phone. The Unique Insurance Company claims reporting phone numbers are listed below for the following states.

Illinois, Georgia, New Mexico, & Tennessee: (773) 299-7500 (See business hours above)

Indiana & Mississippi: (855) 584-3500 (See business hours above)

Source: Unique Insurance Company website

2. AM Best Financial Strength Ratings for Unique Insurance Company

Unique Insurance Company had its AM Best Financial Strength Rating downgraded from “B” (Fair) to “B-” (Fair) with a negative outlook (another ratings downgrade is possible in the near future) on 04/21/2015. The AM Best rating of “B-” is the 8th ranked rating (four ratings are higher: A++, A+, A, A-, B++, B+, B) from AM Best, and it is the second highest rating the AM Best website places in the “vulnerable” category. It’s wise to avoid any company in the “vulnerable” category, if possible.

Per this Insurance Journal article, AM Best states the downgrade & negative outlook are due to the size of of the surplus Unique Insurance Company has to pay claims and increased expenses from its recent rapid growth in customers.

AM Best financial strength ratings are not a measure of customer service or the quality of the claims adjusting for Unique Insurance Company, but an opinion about its ability to pay claims, remain financially solvent, and stay in business. I recommend avoiding, if possible or practical, any auto or homeowners insurance company with lower than an “A-” rating for financial strength from AM Best. However, when it comes to the higher cost of nonstandard auto insurance in general, consumers often make their choice of company based on the lowest rates.

Source: Unique Insurance Company AM Best Rating

3. Unique Insurance Company JD Power & Better Business Bureau Ratings

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Unique Insurance Company, like most smaller insurance companies operating in a few states & focusing on a specialty line like nonstandard auto insurance, does not have enough customers at this time in any one state, region, or nationally to be included in any of the recent annual JD Power insurance customer satisfaction studies, which evaluate the largest national and regional auto or homeowners insurance companies in the USA. Not being included in a JD Power insurance study does not make Unique Insurance Company better or worse than larger JD Power rated companies or better-known brands, but it does make it harder to objectively evaluate the quality of customer service provided by a company not rated by JD Power, like Unique Insurance Company.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

Unique Insurance Company has the highest rating of “A+” from the Better Business Bureau, and it was recently accredited by the BBB on 3/1/2015. Unique Insurance Company had 77 BBB complaints closed in the last three years, with 38 being closed in the last 12 months. 72 of the complaints were for the category of a problem with service, 3 of the complaints were for billing / collections issues, 1 of the complaints was for warranty/guarantee issues, and 1 of the complaints was for delivery issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved with the assistance of the BBB.

Although customer complaints are best directed toward a customer’s state department of insurance, the Better Business Bureau is a well-known and popular choice for consumers filing complaints against companies. If many customers are having difficulty resolving an issue with their insurance company and take the time to contact the Better Business Bureau about it, it’s a pretty good sign customers in general may be unhappy with the service provided by their insurance company. If a lot of complaints are made to the BBB about a company, in greater numbers than similar-sized insurance companies, it’s supposed to be reflected in the BBB rating, and would be an indicator the company may have more dissatisfied customers than some of its competitors.

However, in spite of having the top rating from the Better Business Bureau, I recently reviewed two larger nonstandard auto insurance companies, GAINSCO Auto Insurance & Safeway Insurance, and they both have many fewer BBB complaints than Unique Insurance Company. I think 77 BBB complaints in three years for Unique Insurance Company is a lot of complaints for a company its size.

I don’t consider an A+ BBB rating to be a reliable indication of a good insurance company, but a lower than “A” rating should be considered as a sign of below average customer service. The “A+” rating from the BBB for Unique Insurance Company & its response to customer complaints are a good sign, but its higher number of BBB complaints, compared to nonstandard auto insurance companies with more auto insurance policyholders than Unique Insurance Company, should be a concern for its customers or potential customers.

Source: BBB ratings for Unique Insurance Company

4. Unique Auto Insurance Complaints filed with a State Agency

The most common reasons for people to file car insurance company complaints with a state insurance department are for delays in a claim payment, unsatisfactory payment of a claim, and denial of a claim.

The auto insurance complaint statistics for Unique Insurance Company listed below are calculated by the NAIC, and display the ratio of the company’s U.S. market share of closed complaints compared to its U.S. market share of premiums for a specific policy type. Complaint ratios lower than “1” have less complaints than average, and complaint ratios over “1” have more complaints than average. The lower the complaint ratio, the less complaints against the company. Ideally, you want to choose an insurance company with complaint ratios much less than 1.00 each year, over the last three years.

So you don’t have to worry about comparing complaint ratio numbers, I devised a rating system to help you identify if Unique Insurance Company has a good or poor complaint record.

Here’s how I establish my auto insurance complaint ratings:

B = Better than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios less than 75% of the average insurance company.

C = Average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios from 75% to 125% of the average insurance company. I use a minus sign (-) to indicate auto insurance complaint ratios slightly worse than average (1.01 to 1.25) and a plus sign (+) for auto insurance complaint ratios slightly better than average (.99 to .75).

W = Worse than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios more than 125% of the average insurance company.

I prefer companies with the longest recent history of “B” ratings each year (or at least in the most recent three years). Companies with “B” or “C+” ratings are okay, too, particularly if they have less market share, with less than $100,000,000 in premiums for that line of insurance (auto or home) each year. I prefer to avoid companies with a consistently higher than average number of complaints, or with inconsistent complaint records, unless there are mitigating factors, such as very small market share.

Unique auto insurance has one subsidiary company insuring personal use private passenger cars & trucks in the states where Unique operates:

Unique Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (7.93)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $63,552,268

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (8.11)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $48,248,182

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (13.01)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $35,676,319

Unique Insurance Company is available in the states of Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Tennessee. Unique Insurance Company has a consistently worse-than-average auto insurance complaint record each year from 2012 to 2014, but has increased its market share each year since 2012, which may indicate Unique Insurance Company has competitive auto insurance rates. However, even for a nonstandard auto insurance company, Unique Insurance Company has a lot of complaints compared to its market share. Over the last three years, Unique Insurance Company has received most of its customer complaints in Illinois, Indiana, & Mississippi, which are probably the states where Unique Insurance Company has most of its auto insurance customers.

5. Unique Auto Insurance Review Summary

Here’s my summary to give you the bottom line on the customer service & rates for Unique Insurance Company, to see if the company perform better than average, average, or worse than average.

Unique auto insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2012-2014 complaint record:

Worse than average

Although an insurance company’s complaint record can be particularly useful for identifying poor claims service & claims satisfaction, it should not be the only tool you use for choosing an auto insurance company. If you qualify only for nonstandard auto insurance, it can be very hard to find a company or subsidiary with a close to average complaint record & affordable rates, much less a car insurance company with a better than average customer complaint record. Remember to consider GEICO if you qualify, and buying direct from Progressive as possibly better options for you, but if you are limited to the nonstandard auto insurance market, you should consider all the auto insurance companies available to you.

However, compared to some nonstandard auto insurance companies with more customers than Unique auto insurance, also operating in some of the same states, like GAINSCO, Safeway, and The General (you can find my reviews for GAINSCO, Safeway, and other nonstandard auto insurance companies here), Unique Insurance Company has fewer customers and a lot more complaints, as indicated by its much worse auto insurance complaint ratios shown in section #4 of this review. Unless you have no other options, or you can’t afford auto insurance with any other company, I would not choose Unique Insurance Company for your auto insurance.

For drivers not qualifying for standard auto insurance rates, Progressive, and GEICO if you qualify, have better service & fewer complaints than many companies selling only nonstandard auto insurance, as mentioned above. The nonstandard auto insurance subsidiaries of Allstate, American Family, Nationwide, & Farmers may be better options, too, if you can find an agent interested in servicing this segment of the auto insurance market.

If (and you should) contact local independent insurance agencies selling nonstandard auto insurance, choose an agency interested in trying to find the right coverage for you with better service, not just the lowest price. Auto insurance coverage, like who is an insurer driver, can be very different, particularly among nonstandard auto insurance companies, so make sure your agent finds you the right policy for your situation, not just the best price. Independent insurance agencies represent many companies, of those companies selling their insurance through independent agents, so they should be able to find you a better auto insurance company than Unique Insurance Company.

How does Unique Insurance Company compare to major auto or nonstandard auto insurance companies, like 21st Century, GEICO, Progressive, National General (formerly GMAC), Infinity, The General and others? Compare Unique auto insurance with over forty other companies at my home page: smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

Unique Insurance Company Financial Stability:

Worse than average

In addition to its worse than average auto insurance complaint history, I would recommend Unique Insurance Company customers consider insuring with other auto insurance companies, because of the poor AM Best financial strength rating, with a continuing negative outlook, for Unique Insurance Company (See section #2 of this review for the details). You may be very happy with Unique Insurance Company now, but the company may have trouble paying its claims or being solvent when you need it.

Unique Auto Insurance Rates

For pricing, the most reliable way to know if your car insurance company charges too much is to conduct your own pricing survey, by obtaining price quotes from all the leading insurance companies in your state, to find the best company for you. However, a recent rapid increase or decrease in market share may indicate whether a company has higher or lower insurance rates for at least some people.

Based on increasing auto insurance market share, as measured by total auto insurance premiums collected by Unique Insurance Company each year as shown in Section #4 of this review, Unique Insurance Company may have competitive auto insurance rates in at least some of the states where it operates. If you can’t qualify for standard auto insurance rates due to your driving record or other reasons, and live in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, or Tennessee, you should check to see if Unique Insurance Company has lower car insurance rates for you. But for the reasons I explain above, it’s not likely Unique Insurance Company is a good choice for your auto insurance.

It pays to shop. You may not have your choice of companies with the best complaint records, but you can still see, among the companies willing to insure you, big variations in the prices they charge for the same coverage. In addition to Unique Insurance Company, be sure to check with GEICO, Progressive, Infinity, Mercury, 21st Century, National General, Direct General, and others.

Many people pay too much for their insurance because they never shop for better rates, or if they do shop, they don’t check the rates of enough companies. No single company has low rates for everyone. You have to shop with all the leading companies, to find the company with the best coverage and best price for you. The ad below will take you to links to get online quotes from leading Home, Auto, Health, & Life insurance companies in your area. Choose the type of insurance, put in your zip, and start shopping now!

Did this Unique auto insurance review explain what you need to know about Unique Insurance Company? Tell me about it. Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.