If you live in the Northwest area of the U.S., you may have heard of PEMCO Insurance Company. PEMCO, which stands for the Public Employees Mutual Insurance Company, is a mutual insurance company, which means policyholders are owners of the company.
PEMCO is not new. It has been around since 1942 when Robert J. Handy initially created it. Handy’s vision for PEMCO at its inception was to provide insurance to local teachers who were members of the School Employees Credit Union of Washington, and the company does remain affiliated with that Credit Union and offer similar parks.
However, today’s version of PEMCO is not the same as it was in 1942. Now it not only offer auto insurance for educators, but also includes renters’, boat, umbrella, homeowners’, and condo insurance. You can even get life insurance through PEMCO Life if you are a member of the teacher’s credit union.
You may wonder if PEMCO is a good insurance option, especially if you live in the Washington area. Like most insurance companies, PEMCO has its benefits and disadvantages; therefore, it is best to familiarize yourself with this insurance company and see if it is the right financial fit for you.
Customer Service Ratings are a Good Place to Start
Any time you are researching a potential insurance company, the first place to look is their customer ratings. Currently, PEMCO has a B++ with the A.M. Best insurance rating organization. Initially, PEMCO had received numerous complaints about their poor customer service, which led to equally poor reviews. However, by January 2016, the company turned itself around, and the outlook for its insurance company went from negative to stable.
The JD Power and Associates award for customer satisfaction has gone to PEMCO since revamping their customer service, and they received one of the highest rankings in customer service for automobile insurance companies in the region.
One Note: PEMCO is Not Accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
PEMCO does not carry a BBB accreditation, but no company is necessarily required to have one. However, most insurers do get accredited as a way to show to interested customers how they handle customer complaints and issues.
Despite no accreditation, PEMCO, like other non-accredited companies, can still receive a ranking on the BBB, and they still have an A+, which is always a good sign.
What Does their Auto Insurance Coverage Look Like?
PEMCO does carry all of the coverage that other insurers have, including bumper-to-bumper collision and comprehensive, medical costs for accidents, liability, and even rideshare and rental car coverage for customers. They also have the usual towing and labor coverage, auto loan coverage (GAP), accidental death coverage, and pet injury coverage policies too, but the pet injury only applies to those in Washington. Another perk exclusive to Washington residents is the replacement to re-key or re-code a camper, canopy, and other custom parts.
Are there Discount Opportunities?
PEMCO does have a Defensive Driver Discount, but this is for drivers over the age of 55 that take an approved course in the state of Washington.
Ease of Access
Some insurance companies are impossible to reach after hours, but PEMCO allows you to file a claim with their company 24 hours per day, seven days per week. You can also find affiliate repair shops using the online claims portal, and you are not required to pay your deductible for glass chip repair services. You can make your payments online, upgrade coverage, and even add a new driver online through your portal.
The Benefits of PEMCO for Auto Insurance
Those who live in Washington benefit the most, as many of the exclusive member benefits only apply to those in the state. However, those in Oregon can receive PEMCO insurance as well. As long as you have a clean driving record and credit record, you can receive reasonably competitive rates from PEMCO for auto insurance.
The Disadvantages of PEMCO for Auto Insurance
PEMCO is regional, which means that if you live outside of Washington or Oregon, you cannot apply for coverage. PEMCO also is not as forgiving for drivers with accidents or tickets on their record; therefore, you may save more with a national insurance company over regional. PEMCO has tiered levels of policies, and best rates go to those in the preferred tier. Also, if you have past claims with other insurance companies, you are less likely to receive a reasonable price.
Conclusion: is PEMCO a Good Option?
Overall, PEMCO Insurance offers excellent benefits to those in Washington and Oregon, but only if you have a clean driving record. Therefore, they are ideal for those with no accidents or tickets on their driving record and no insurance claims filed with past companies. Likewise, if you travel a lot, you may want a national insurance carrier rather than a regional one.