21st Century Insurance is a car insurance company that was founded in 1958 by Louis W. Foster. Initially called 20th Century Insurance, the company focuses primarily on direct to consumer sales cutting out insurance brokers. This focus allows 21st Century auto insurance to lower auto insurance premiums, providing affordable auto insurance rates. Another key aspect of 21st Century is their selectiveness when it comes to choosing its policy holders; 21st Century limited sales of its policies to “good” car insurance drivers only.
The company is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. It was sold to AIG in 2005 and later sold to Farmers Insurance Group in 2009. 21st Century Car Insurance (according to AM Best Company), has an overall credit rating of “A” with a financial strength rating of “A,”. Compared to other car insurance companies, this is considered excellent.
In our quest to compare pricing across all the companies we reviewed, we created three different driver profiles: a 29-year-old, a 37-year-old, and a 65-year-old. All drivers owned and drove a 2005 Audi Quattro and had a clean driving record. We then got quotes for two different cities: San Francisco, CA and Springfield, IL. 21st Century provided the lowest pricing of all the companies we looked at. However, you need to remember that they will only provide policies to “good drivers”, so if you have some blemishes on your driving record you may not qualify.
We stepped through their online quote tool to have the full user experience. You’re required to enter standard information such as your name, address, type of car and driving history. No surprises there! The items that might result in a discount on your policy are clearly labeled “discount opportunity,” something we appreciated as it took the guesswork out of what could save us money. There are also clearly labeled help links to the right of each question that provide additional information. If you have questions that aren’t answered, you can quickly reach a 21st Century agent by calling them, having them call you or using the chat functionality. One thing we did notice is that they don’t offer a Spanish version of the site, which may be an issue for non-native speakers.
The downside of the quote process was that 21st Century required far more information about a variety of topics than the other companies we reviewed. They want to know whether you currently have auto insurance and the reasons why or why not, how much you pay and a number of other questions. We found this to be annoying and extraneous to the quoting process. They also wanted information on how you heard about them, and if we’d indicated a friend referred us, they’d require all of your friend’s information. Even though they claim they are just going to reward your friend for this referral, the question and requirements seemed very intrusive.
Once you receive the final quote it can be easily adjusted for more or less coverage. The discounts you qualified for are indicated at the bottom of the screen, although the amount you saved isn’t shown. 21st Century includes Security Advantage in your quote, a roadside assistance and medical/travel program that came free of charge—a nice touch. Customers can easily pay for the quote online with a variety of methods including credit card and eCheck. Or if you prefer, you can call them and pay over the phone.
Customers who would like more guidance about which insurance coverage levels to select can use the special 21st Century Coverage Advisor feature. This pop-up screen allows you to enter some basic information and then suggests what type and level of coverage you may need. 21st Century was the only company of those we reviewed that offered this particular benefit.
Our reviewers found 21st Century’s quote process to be a little longer than other companies we reviewed, mostly due to the extra questions we mentioned above. Additionally, the final quote didn’t offer as many bells and whistles and the separate 21st Century website wasn’t as full featured as others we reviewed. We had a hard time searching for answers to questions, and outside of the unique and appreciated “Coverage Advisor” functionality, the online 21st Century experience didn’t have much to recommend it. Customers agreed with us, giving 21st Century lower ratings than other auto insurers in website usability, claims satisfaction and overall satisfaction with their policy.
It’s important to note that 21st Century offered some of the lowest premiums of all the insurance providers we reviewed, a major plus for buyers on a budget. However, these prices seem to come at the cost of slightly lower customer satisfaction. Also, 21st Century only offers coverage to good drivers, so if you have a spotty driving record you may be denied coverage.
21st Century offers insurance in the following states:
All states except Massachusetts