Their television ads are impossible to avoid: Rate Suckers; nerdy insurance guys; leather-jacket traveler paying toll fees with premium savings; Michael Buffer and his ringside microphone; and of course, Flo in every conceivable setting. Thanks in large part to their aggressive ad campaigns, and their knack for being on the cutting edge for service innovations, they are now the nation’s fourth largest car insurance provider, with just over 8% of US market share.

How do they rate?

Whether you’re a friend of Flo or you wish she’d go away, you might want to know how Progressive rates as a car insurance company. Judging by the highly subjective online rank-by-vote site, Progressive logs in as #6 in the top-ten list of car insurance companies in the country.

More objectively, the MSN/Money magazine annual survey of reader’s experiences with car insurance companies scores Progressive 79-80 points on its 100-point scale.

J.D. Power & Associates places the company #22 overall for car insurance companies. Its 5-point scale offers nothing higher than a ranking of 3 in any category and it earns 2s for Overall Purchase Experience and for Call Center Representative Response/Experience.

A.M. Best has Progressive earning 89 points on its 100 point scale for car insurance companies, a scale that includes sub-rankings for claims handling, customer satisfaction as well as for the financial health and strength of the company.

What they offer

Highlighted in all the rankings (objective and otherwise) is Progressive’s impressive array of car insurance coverage options and plans. If you’re looking to build a car insurance coverage plan, you can select from these standard coverage options from Progressive:

  • Bodily injury & property damage liability coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Loan/Lease payoff (GAP car insurance)
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Custom parts & equipment/accessory coverage
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Roadside assistance
  • Pet injury coverage

Progressive was the first car insurance company in the country to allow customers to make installment premium payments on extended-term policies and today, they are one of the few leading car insurance companies that offers 12-month policy terms (under certain conditions.)

Discounts & unique features

Progressive was the first car insurance company that offered “drive-up claims” service and its modern-day extension of that is its routine updating and improvement of its web-based services. You can literally purchase insurance for any state, anywhere, using Progressive’s online tools.

They tout a number of unique “bells and whistles” that you can find under different names with any other insurers. For example, they lay claim to a Name Your Price® tool, which is essentially you plugging a budget into an online service and it shows you the coverage options and limits you can get from Progressive for that price.

They also tout their Snapshot® savings program, which requires you to agree to placing a monitoring device in your car that measures a range of driving habits and behavior patterns and, should you qualify, extends discounts based on what it records (though it can work in the other direction if you or your driving family members prove to be bad drivers or drive your car further and more often than you originally reported.) Most leading car insurance companies now have similar Big Brother discount options.

Progressive is unique in that it offers routine policy reviews with the promise to extend any discounts you may be eligible for, automatically. It also has a very impressive “loyalty” rewards program extending a growing list of benefits the longer you stay with the company.

They also offer drivers standard and some not-so-standard discounts that can be applied for, including:

  • Accident forgiveness
  • E-sign (an instant discount when you sign up online)
  • Homeowner discounts
  • Multi-car discounts
  • Multi-policy (bundling) discounts
  • Safe driver discounts
  • Good student discounts
  • Low mileage discounts
  • A tying the knot discount for newlyweds and soon-to-be-weds
  • Pay-in-full discounts

There are many others that are available, depending on the state where you live and drive. The company is also one of the insurance companies to recognize same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships when considering combined policy discounts and services.

So whether you’re a fan of Flo or not, you’ll be doing yourself and your family a favor by at least including Progressive in the mix next time you review your car insurance policy and look for better coverage options and some unique discounts.

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Jeffrey Davidson is a writer with Reply!. He has more than 25 years of marketing research, public relations consulting and freelance writing experience and work in all areas of the auto insurance industry. For more help, see his main article on Progressive car insurance.