Auto insurance is one of the most competitive industries, and many companies are eager to find an edge over their competitors. Most of the time, this is accomplished through offering better discounts. Some programs, however, are designed to improve the overall experience of being insured with a company. Because insurance is a service industry, good customer service can be a deciding factor for consumers.

In response to mediocre J.D. Powers ratings and other consumer complaints, Allstate launched a revolutionary claims satisfaction guarantee. So far, it’s the only company that offers anything like this, and its site is eager to show off the feature. Nevertheless, not all customers are aware of how this guarantee works or if they can use it.

How Does the Customer Service Guarantee Work?

Some people are dissatisfied with the results of a claim. They may feel that their settlement was too low, the company mistreated them or the process took too long to complete. In most cases, insurance companies are eager to solve these problems during the claims process itself, but customers may not be fully satisfied with those solutions.

In that case, they can file a complaint with Allstate and potentially receive a substantial rebate on their premiums as compensation for the trouble. In order to file a complaint, customers must follow certain steps:

  • The claim must have been paid. You cannot file a complaint for claim denials. The guarantee is only applicable to situations where the claim is paid but the customer service experience was lacking.
  • The accident must have happened after the customer service guarantee became available in the insured person’s state.
  • The complaint must be filed formally in writing to the appropriate department. Complaints made on the company’s website, at an agent’s office or over the phone won’t count.
  • The complaint needs to be filed within 180 days of the claim being filed. Complaints that fall outside of this window cannot be honored.
  • The insured must reside in a state where the guarantee is available. Not all states support the guarantee program at this tie.

Once the customer has filed the complaint, the Allstate customer service team will review the situation and provide a reimbursement to the customer. In exchange for your trouble, you will be reimbursed for six months of premiums. This is provided as a credit toward future policies, enabling you to get the next six months free. In other words, you can only benefit from the credit if you continue to carry Allstate insurance; you cannot cash out the reimbursement and change to a different company.

How Can Allstate Afford to Pay For These Complaints?

In the bigger scheme of things, reimbursing six months of a customer’s premium is cheaper than losing that customer’s patronage. A customer who receives a money-back guarantee is more likely to think positively of the company and even recommend it to friends than someone who left an insurer due to bad service.

Additionally, the guarantee puts more pressure on the company’s staff to perform. Because there is so much at stake, employees have greater incentive to offer exemplary customer service. Whether this results in long-term improvements to the company’s quality is yet to be seen, but that certainly seems to be Allstate’s end-term goal.

It’s also important to note that there is a process associated with getting the rebate. An insured must go through the steps of filing a complaint in writing and mailing it to the company. This gives the insured plenty of time to consider the situation and decide whether it’s worth pursuing the complaint. While many customers will pursue this option, many more will decide that it’s not worth the effort.

Will Other Insurance Companies Offer Guarantees?

If Allstate’s customer satisfaction guarantee helps the company grow and attract more customers, other insurance companies may begin to offer similar programs. In the meanwhile, if you have another company, you still have some recourse if you are dissatisfied with your claim. It’s important to bring up concerns as quickly as possible so they can be dealt with.

Whether you’re upset about a claim or believe you’re paying too much for insurance, you should communicate these concerns with your insurance company. In many cases, the company may be able to work with you to solve your concerns. Be sure to keep a level head and speak with a supervisor to get solutions to your problems. You might not be able to get your premiums reimbursed, but you can often get your issues addressed immediately.