Costco Insurance Review: More Than Just Auto

May 16, 2011 39 Comments »

costco

You’ve just purchased one metric ton of salsa, a 50-inch television set and a two-person kayak…don’t forget the car insurance!

Costco, similar to many other large corporations with any existing customer base, offers insurance products to their army of bulk purchase super-savers.

How you ask? The same way GEICO and Progressive (at least they are involved in insurance) offer homeowners insurance.


[Compare rates from the leading car insurance companies in your area.]

GEICO and Progressive “underwrite” auto insurance as auto insurance companies, which means they collect your insurance premiums and write the actual check if you have a covered claim.

Conversely, GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. (Geico Home Insurance) and Progressive Insurance Company (Progressive bundling) act as “any old insurance agent” and “sell” you someone else’s product when it’s not auto insurance. They get a commission, but do not collect your premium and do not pay claims.

Following suit, Costco Insurance Agency, Inc. will “sell” you someone else’s insurance product for a commission. We’ve said it a million times and we’ll say it again if you’re not familiar with our website.

Insurance is a “marketing” business. The insurance products and services available to the public are, for the most part, all relatively the same…which is why we are such proponents of the local independent agent (not captive agents).

Therefore, we must be influenced, primarily through advertising, to believe one company is better than the other.

And any company the size of Costco has a huge customer base that’s prime for the picking. You’re there once a week, you trust the name, they are nationally known…frankly we’re surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

Who Am I Actually Insured With If Not Costco?

We’re glad you asked. The answer to who actually “holds” the policy is always in the fine print…just below the insignia of the multi-billion dollar company that intends to make the commission as a “middle man” on the deal.

In this case, it’s IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company and Ameriprise Insurance Company, both located in De Pere, Wisconsin. Each company is a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

That’s right, Ameriprise Financial. They are very well known for financial planning. Perhaps they didn’t want to spend the money on re-branding as an insurer, or didn’t want to water down their existing brand, which focuses on retirement and financial investments. For the record, insurance and your financial future go hand-in-hand.

Pure marketing genius on Ameriprise’s part! Did you know Ameriprise as an insurance company? Probably not. Does that matter? Not if you believe in Costco’s marketing and branding efforts.

Fair Enough. What Does Costco Offer?

You will have to speak to a representative of the company, right behind the “tobacco cage” at your local Costco.

Shocker alert. If it were an earth shattering type of insurance, they’d market it under their own name and blow our collective minds. P.S. You might be able to save up to “who knows what” by switching to them!

Costco Auto Insurance

At last glance, Costco car insurance seems to be provided by Ameriprise, a reputable insurance company. Now let’s take a look at what you get.

– Discount “just” for being a Costco member in almost all cases.
– Personalized service built around your unique needs – this is seriously a bullet point of the program
Comprehensive coverage options – we’ll assume this means they offer physical damage coverage (not just liability-only).
– Responsive insurance claims service 24/7
– You get to choose your repair facility – which verifies they offer physical damage and uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage
– Available discounts include safe driving, insuring multiple vehicles (which is technically “buying in bulk”…we couldn’t help ourselves), having more than one policy and “more” – their words, not ours. You know we’d list them for you!
– 24 hour roadside assistance is available
– Lifetime renewability – Keep in mind they may renew you no matter what, but that doesn’t mean the premium will be favorable at renewal.

*The Costco auto insurance program is not available in the state of Michigan.

Costco Home Insurance

The details of this one are sketchy – there is not a lot of info readily available, so take your homeowners insurance quotes to a local independent insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage.That said, here is what they disclose:

– Home lockout assistance – they’ll pay up to $100 for up to two incidences within a 12 month period. For the record, $100 should be more than enough to get you back in your house!
– Home Glass Repair – Don’t laugh at this one. Not every homeowner’s insurance policy covers all of the glass on your home against breakage of any type. Most insurers certainly offer the option, often referred to as “unscheduled glass” coverage or simply “glass” coverage.
– The home glass repair reimbursement coverage offers up to $1000 per occurrence and is limited to two claims within any consecutive 12-month period.
– Discounts for packaging home and auto

Costco also offers a so-called “auto and home insurance program” for its members that can apparently save you up to $541.69. However, this package deal isn’t available in AK, LA, ME, ND, RI, WV, WY or Puerto Rico.

*The Costco home insurance program is not available in the state of Florida.

And the exclusive Costco discount isn’t available in the state of Tennessee, or on auto insurance for non-Executive members in Massachusetts.

Costco Renters Insurance

What more can we say about the importance of renters insurance.

Costco’s renters insurance is likely comparable to many other available products, but always be sure to ask about “water back-up “ coverage and make sure to get the details of exactly what types of losses you are insured against.

For the record; you will want an all risks policy.

Mexico Travel Auto Insurance

Please read up on the laws and details of auto insurance in Mexico prior to heading south of the border – an auto accident is basically considered a crime in Mexico…meaning dealing with the local “authorities” before you can be back on your way.

Costco has switched gears here and partnered with Bonita West Mexico Insurance Services, Inc., a broker, out of California for this particular product.

Bonita West, in turn, sells you a policy from MAPFRE Tepeyac, SA de CV (that is not a typo; based on our admittedly limited Spanish, is a Mexican insurance company…as in, from Mexico).

The product is pretty comprehensive and offers the following coverage:

– You can purchase a daily, all the way up to an annual, policy
– More than one option for liability and medical coverage
– Comp and collision coverage up to $60,000 – leave the Ferrari at home for goodness sake

Their full coverage plan includes collision, total theft (ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY), bodily injury and property damage liability, medical expenses, legal defense (ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) and travel assistance.

The coverage can be purchased 24 hours per day (we’re assuming online) in case you get the “itch” to go to Mexico at an odd time.

Final Word

While Costco might have the best deal out there, depending on your unique insurance profile and needs, you should consider visiting a local independent insurance agent if you are comfortable buying an insurance policy from an insurance agency.

Sticking with our mantra, if Costco/Ameriprise Financial/ Bonita West Mexico Insurance Services, Inc./ MAPFRE Tepeyac, SA de CV has the lowest price and best service, then by all means go with them.

Just remember you are foregoing multiple insurance quotes from numerous insurance companies if you don’t visit an independent agent. Period.

At the end of the day, Costco may refuse to be beat on price when it comes to giant plastic bins of cheese balls, but they may fall short in offering you the lowest price on your insurance policy, whether its home, auto, or both.

(photo: greenwenvy08)

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39 Comments

  1. Richard March 22, 2014 at 12:53 am -

    I’m sick of Costco pretending to offer things like insurance when in fact they are just resellers. Might as well just set up an Allstate booth out front and be honest about it. If I need an economy-sized tub of mayo, I’ll go to Costco. If I need insurance, I’ll talk to an independent agent.

  2. Dina March 24, 2014 at 11:48 am -

    My home insurance claim and associated repair with Costco-Ameriprise has now taken more than 4 months and still they have not completed. Normally, this would take between 1 and 2 weeks. Because of the number of layers, and the lack of empathy towards customers, they drag every step for several weeks. They do not provide an ETA for completion of the repairs, their authorized contractors do not care to complete the work on time and not reply to messages on time. Overall, a very stressful experience dealing with the claim.

  3. MINTHA March 30, 2014 at 8:20 am -

    COSTCO CAR INSURANCE ACTUALLY IS VERY BAD, BUT I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THEIR HOME INSURANCE.
    ACCORDING TO MY OWN EXPERIENCE COSTCO CAR INSURANCE IS THE WORST I EVER HAD. IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME TRY IT YOURSELF AND YOU WILL REGRET ONE DAY.
    THERE ARE MANY OTHER CAR INSURANCES OUT THERE 10 TIMES BETTER THAN COSTCO CAR INSURANCE.

  4. Robert Cheeseman August 10, 2014 at 10:11 am -

    Dear Richard, Dina and Mintha-
    I am interested in auto insurance with Costco- but now am having 2nd and 3rd thoughts about it-
    Thanks much for your responses- Why haven’t you complained to the State of Washington if you are in Washington – if so their website to make a complaint– which they need to get in order to rate insurance companies accurately.
    http://www.insurance.wa.gov/complaints-and-fraud/file-a-complaint/

  5. Tony January 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm -

    2 weeks to approve the claim! 30 day rental was gone BEFORE my car was repaired! Stay away from Ameriprise. I am surprised Costco is part of it because they sell it and I am a big fan of Costco.

  6. Dawn in AZ June 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm -

    I have had Ameriprise home and auto insurance through Costco for 12 years. They will gladly take your premiums but fail you when you need them. I will be changing at the end of our policy term.

  7. Jim T July 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm -

    When they review a company how about telling us something about it. Other than a few comments this was a worthless review.

  8. Zachary August 27, 2015 at 2:46 pm -

    Wow… talk about internet clutter. If you’re going to pretend to write a review, at least make it entertaining. Your quibble fails to provide meaningful insights. Ameriprise has offered wonderful coverage at reasonable premiums for all my cars.

    And Richard, I know this is a necro-post, but you’re complaining about a retailer (who “resells” everything they carry) for reselling an insurance product? Might as well be sick of Costco “pretending to offer things like” Mayo instead of setting-up a mayo-booth outside their store and be honest about it.

  9. Rick Mikolasek August 31, 2015 at 9:54 am -

    Zachary,

    Companies that resell financial products from select carriers should vet them properly and ensure they offer something that aligns with the parent company’s values and the expectations of its customers. It’s not mayonnaise.

  10. keith rochford September 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm -

    An “independent agent” is just another middle man, same as Costco. If you wish to avoid a middleman, then go to an ABC exclusive agent (who is employed by ABC) to buy ABC insurance. Do not assume an independent agent is always on your side looking out for your best interests. They have to make a buck too.

  11. Rachel October 13, 2015 at 7:10 am -

    To say that Ameriprise has been difficult to deal with is an understatement. My home was struck by lightening and I have had to jump through hoops to get things repaired or replaced. My latest issue is that my heat won’t work. I had the HVAC people look at it. They found the problem and wrote an estimate. The insurance company came out and looked at it. They said no. The items found by your HVAC person are fine we won’t pay. I asked them to tell me what is broken then and they wouldn’t tell me. So how do I get my heat fixed? Do not fall for the cheaper price! Pay more for a better company. You never know when you will need to file a claim and you need someone you can trust!!!

  12. Al December 9, 2015 at 6:45 am -

    We had Ameriprise ( Costco) as our auto and home insurance company for the last three years , they have competitive rate , they seemed like a great company till you need them , they almost doubled our rate after my wife had her first minor accident , their customer service is one of the worst , like I said they are great as long as taking your money but when is time to provide service and help with a claim you they are the worst

  13. Snezana December 15, 2015 at 10:59 am -

    This is the worst insurance company that I have ever dealt with. My adjustor is simply ignoring my phone calls, so I have try to get other people at the company to look at my case. Every step is taking forever. My experience is horrendous. I am changing company as soon as I get this claim settled.

  14. Mary Fannon February 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm -

    My husband was rear ended on the freeway and suffered significant injuries, we were insured by State Farm, and luckily had an additional medical payment clause included which covered his emergency treatment costs. The at fault driver’s insurance carrier was Ameriprise, and they basically did nothing but ask me to give them permission to access my husband’s entire medical record history, I told them to amend a release to include only medical records relating to his injuries and his previous injuries that predisposed him to more injury because of his existing damage from previous injury. They never did, they kept asking me to do what I wrote them I never would do, a full medical release. They illegally pushed us to sign their med release by threatening to close the claim. Flat out against the law to use that tactic. Bad Faith, they never paid, they never used my repeatedly requested contact information, and they stalled at every attempt I made to force action on the case. Criminal practices combined with a total lack of care for my suffering husband. I’m not going to stop commenting on their bad faith practices until CostCo cuts them loose.

  15. Michael February 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm -

    Just to counter all the negativity- we’ve been Ameriprise insurance (home and auto) for over 20 years. We have had our home policy with them for 25 years, and auto for even longer. Every claim we’ve had has been dealt with quickly and professionally.

    Every two years or so, I would check to see if any other company could match their rates, and some came close, but not enough of a difference for me to change companies.

    But when we discovered we could rewriting our policy (identical coverage) through our CostCo membership, this resulted in nearly a 30% reduction in our rates!

    Again, I’ve only good things to say about Ameriprise Insurance. Their financial advisors- not so much, but that’s a different subject.

  16. Tom March 7, 2016 at 7:52 am -

    Costco “offers” travel insurance .. provides a link for rates ..

    NEVER mentions that you have to book the trip through

    Costco Travel to get the rate from Travel Guard until you call

    Travel Guard and find out the rate is actually double.

    Bait and switch BS.

  17. Cindi March 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm -

    I have had Ameriprise (Costco) for a couple of years. They have the most rude customer service dept. Ah and about quotes on your new vehicle purchases…..don’t trust them. I was quoted a price, went and purchased the vehicle and then was told that I was misquoted. Run, don’t walk away from Ameriprise.

  18. carl March 22, 2016 at 12:01 pm -

    I used the web site to get a quote on car and home in Jan, 2016. Could not give me anything.

    called the number given and for my car, it was double what I am paying now.

    For my home, because I am in the country, like a lot of folks, they could not even quote.

    What a waste of time. Costco wake up.. you are insulting us members

  19. larry June 22, 2016 at 10:32 am -

    I just discovered that Ameriprise through Costco has a senior penalty that kicks in after 67 yrs of age to the tune of about $200/yr, in my case. Also FYI, note that they have just increased the period during which an accident remains on your record from 3 to 4 years. This makes an enormous difference in your premiums (about $750/yr in my case). I rec’d a quote from another insurance company with a much better complaint ratio as posted on the DMV website that is $668 less even with the accident. I will say that the service for my accident was stellar.
    If looking for homeowner’s insurance, they do not insure homes built before 1950 or with shake shingle roofs.

  20. Jennifer June 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm -

    I have had insurance with Ameriprise through Costco since 2011. I told friends and family about the wonderful customer service and competitive pricing for a number of years until last year. I have an auto policy with 4 vehicles (no tickets, no claims) and homeowners (again no claims), have NEVER been late with payments (auto pay), have been a “loyal” customer. Ameriprise decided to repay that loyalty with raising my 6 month auto premium by over $700 my last renewal policy and another $500 this most current period. My policy has DOUBLED in 1 year for absolutely no reason. The claim from customer service is that Ameriprise reassessed their policies in Michigan etc etc. Interestingly, no other companies that I have spoken to nor any other individual I have questioned has had the same occurrence with their insurance provider. My homeowner policy increased by over $500 as well. Steer clear of this company especially if you live in Michigan!

  21. Lucy October 11, 2016 at 7:05 pm -

    Terrible customer service. They seem like they are helping you but they actually don’t care.I have a claim open for 5 months. I have been calling, email them, no solution. they have a reasonable price but you will never get things fixed.

  22. Mj Shull October 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm -

    Thank you everyone for your feedback that you post from your experiences. Too many negative reviews for me. I’ll stay where I’m at.

  23. Dan October 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm -

    I just got my renewal for 6 months. They raised my rates $1,000 for my 4 cars. They’ve lost a customer.

  24. Kevin Jenkins November 8, 2016 at 3:54 pm -

    I bought Costco Ameriprise Insurance for my MB C250. I shopped myself over 20 companies. The nearest competitor was over 450.00 more annually for same product, comparing apples to apples, even had the largest company come in 1500.00 more annually. I had quotes from all major companies and the ones you barley hear about, hands down no one comes even close. On the second renewal Costco lowered my premium an extra 100.00 a year. Anyone can say what they want about auto insurance but if you shop yourself and educate the yourself on costs savings then the Amerprise Costco insurance program save big time.

  25. Jason D November 23, 2016 at 8:43 am -

    Peoples, peoples, peoples!!! You check any company’s reviews, you will always find complaints. Very rarely do compliments get posted. In my experience, the complaints are not really complaints, it is something you did wrong!!! I am not an agent, I don’t represent an insurance company in any fashion, way, or form. There is a right way to do things and a wrong way. The guy who wanted travel insurance, of course you have to buy the travel thru the vendor who is offering the insurance. Is American Airlines going to offer travel insurance for Carnival Cruises?

    I have no loyalty to any vendor. I just switched to Ameriprise Auto after being with Liberty Mutual for 10 years. I saved over 400.00 plus have increased coverage. If anything happens, I expect them to perform, I don’t expect any less. If not, it is off to the insurance commission and Costco offices. I will not allow even 1 extra day without communication or action to pass without some sort of action.

    If there’s an issue you contact the insurance commission and Costco. Don’t allow even 1 week without communication to pass without YOU taking that step!!!

  26. Patrick Magann December 5, 2016 at 7:59 pm -

    Have spent the last half hour checking out Ameriprise Auto Insurance and the only positive I had found is possibly lower price. The problem with that seems that you have a supposed A+ company by BBB that is the best until something happens to your car. I have always checked the company out before doing business with anyone, it’s called common sense. My common sense has never ever read so many negative reviews about any company such as Ameriprise. They have more negatives then Trump had from the liberals and it makes me wonder why Costco would stay with someone like this. I understand making money but I also understand the importance of keeping faith with your customers and this just isn’t Costco I though I knew. Any site seems to say the same thing,” it’s great until you have a accident or someone hits you or breaks into your car”. Thumbs down to this Ameriprise but a thumbs up to the customers who have dealt with Ameriprise and passed on what happen when dealing with them. to one poster a good company is not one you have to say if they don’t do as they should I will go to the insurance Commissioner. When younger I sold insurance and this may be a shocker but the Insurance Commissioners can take longer then Ameriprise but the final result could be as bad.

  27. Debbie January 27, 2017 at 10:05 am -

    I WISH I would have read these comments before making the WORST decision of my life to use this insurance company. Costco should be ASHAMED that they are subjecting their customers tot this HORRENDOUS company! My SUV was totaled by fault of another driver, who was fined, and I have been waiting over 2 MONTHS for even one cent. …and that’s the easiest part of all of this…having a car payment despite not having a car! The agent is the rudest, most uncaring, unprofessional, patronizing person I have ever had to deal with. To top all of this off, they are doing whatever they can to lowball my payout..and they are going to be nearly entirely reimbursed by the at fault driver’s policy, but not entirely because the other driver had inadequate coverage..we are talking a shortage on her coverage of less than $5,000…which is why Ameriprise is handling it,, and the last time I checked I pay for un/underinsured motorist coverage on all our vehicles….but they are trying to make my claim equal to only the amount they will get. But the money is NOT the worst part, the worst part is the emotional toll it takes on your health to deal with these people!!! They will call you with false and upsetting information, then wait 2 WEEKS to follow up! It is not worth it!! Life is too short! Unless you love stress and to be treated like a criminal when you are a paying customer, and a victim in this case, do NOT give this company your business!!

    Are they cheaper…MAYBE….SHOP AROUND!!

    is the lower cost WORTH THE STRESS.?? HEAVENS NO!!

    IT IS TRUE….THEY ARE “FINE” UNTIL YOU HAVE A CLAIM!!!

  28. Erik February 4, 2017 at 10:15 am -

    Had Ameriprise for many years. They are fine until you need them. Very slow claims. No follow-ups, customer service terrible, the agents never call you back and they always undercut you on how much you should get back for a repair to replace a vehicle. Takes weeks to get a car repaired. The bottom line – lower premiums not worth the hassle of zero follow through and support on Ameriprise’s end.

  29. CJ March 28, 2017 at 4:36 am -

    The “awesome price” you are quoted is only if you bundle car and home. It doesn’t say that when you are doing the online quote. It doesn’t matter if you click car only, you are given a great price and when you followup you find that price only exists if you are bundling. My son got totally screwed over thinking insurance would be in place then finding out opps..we made a mistake…it’s $730 higher! Leaving us to scramble …they are actually higher than just normal insurance quotes online without a costco membership…so buyer beware…we learned the hard way!

  30. Victor June 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm -

    I have auto insurance with Costco and by far it is the worst I have ever had.I have been with out my truck for 6weeks. They have not gotten estimated on how much and when it be fix. They rent me a car for 5 days. After that it came out of my pocket. Victor Alvarez in Modesto California.

  31. Robin Winters June 26, 2017 at 1:27 pm -

    Ameriprise will not consider you if you have been involved in a *not-at-fault* accident within the past 3 years. Costco, you can find someone better to offer insurance for Costco members.

  32. SE September 25, 2017 at 12:35 pm -

    Ameriprise is a total rip off! I started with them 18 months ago. They cut my annual premium by 50% on all three of my vehicles. I have had no tickets or accidents, and just received my new premium bill. Over the last 18 months they have nickel and dimed each vehicle coverage every 6 months by $20. here and $50. there, to where my new bill is actually more than I was paying 18 months ago from my old insurer! After what just happened to me and reading all of these negative reviews, SHAME ON YOU COSTCO!!!!!

  33. Robert October 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm -

    Got hit by a driver with this insurance, Claim service is a nightmare, fighting for a rental,
    Under my state law, this type of behavior is not allowed.
    Going to take the car driver to claims court is my only option.

  34. Charlotte Manny November 11, 2017 at 7:15 am -

    Yesterday, I cancelled my Costco Ameriprise Auto and Renters Insurance policies! The first time I ever filed a claim was for auto hail damage in Colorado. The claims process was a nightmare from beginning to end. I have countless emails and phone calls to prove that their claims customer service is horrendous. I keep telling myself that this is a case of “you get what you pay for”. The price was right, until I had to process a claim. My policy ends in early December, and I cannot wait to shred all my papers with this company.

  35. Stephen M Riley December 29, 2017 at 8:20 pm -

    Thanks to everyone for all the heads up honest reviews. You have most certainly influenced my decision for considering Costco for my insurance needs. They have been crossed off my list. Shame on Costco for providing their (loyal) customers with such mediocre service.

  36. Catherine Leonard January 1, 2018 at 1:55 pm -

    Won’t be choosing Ameriprise due to overwhelming negative reviews of Ameriprise service and support. I am saddened and surprised Costco hasn’t stepped in.
    I know from dealing with previous Costco aligned agencies: Hearing Aids, Glasses, and carpeting, that Costco is very sensitive to customer response. Seems they have dropped the ball, aren’t aware, or are tied up in contractual obligations. At any rate, I hope the many of you who have been dissatisfied with Ameriprise coverage have also made an extra effort to let Costco know of your experiences. It’s not fair to complain of Costco support if they aren’t notified, and no, it’s not safe to assume they read random reviews like this.
    Finally, thank you to those of you who have posted your comments here. Thank you for saving me grief and time.

  37. Joe Sortais March 14, 2018 at 8:42 pm -

    Generally happy with Costco, but after all these bad reviews will skip Ameriprise for new business.

  38. Doug Waver April 28, 2018 at 6:10 am -

    Will not recommend at all. They lure you in for the first year and jack up the premium almost 45% on the next year and onward. I found out that they use the same bogus excuse on me and all my work colleagues that your state/county has raised the requirement for insurance and won’t tell me what it is. Such a bogus, I like Costco but I don’t understand why Costco continues to have them…

  39. Costco Customer May 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm -

    Would not recommend Costco Ameriprise to anyone I care about. They have been super frustrating and aggravating to deal with. They make everything so much harder than necessary.

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