Country-Wide Insurance: our thoughts
We do not recommend Country-Wide Insurance. The company has a poor customer service reputation, with more than twice as many complaints filed against it as would be expected of an insurer of its size. It offers no helpful auto insurance coverage add-ons, such as roadside assistance or rental reimbursement. Most troublingly, it seems to lack financial stability, with insurance industry expert AM Best saying the company has only "marginal" financial strength.
On an experiential level, we found the process of getting a quote difficult. Like many small insurers, Country-Wide does not sell policies directly to consumers, but instead works through a network of independent brokers. To get a quote from one of these brokers, you'll need to call Country-Wide and ask for the independent agent assigned to your ZIP code.
When we tried to call the insurance office Country-Wide assigned to our sample driver's ZIP code, we found that the office was only open from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, not during standard business hours.
Additionally, Country-Wide's website does not clearly explain which discounts it offers. Many other insurers name at least some available discounts on their website.
Bottom line: Other insurers offer a better shopping and customer experience, as well as a wider menu of coverages. New York City-area drivers should look elsewhere for their insurance needs.
Check out these top New York auto insurance companies as alternatives to Country-Wide:
Country-Wide offers only basic coverage options. New York drivers can purchase the following coverages from Country-Wide:
- Bodily injury liability (BI)
- Property damage liability (PD)
- Basic personal injury protection (PIP)
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI)
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
These coverages allow New York residents to meet the minimum state requirements for auto insurance, as well purchase full coverage to protect their car.
However, Country-Wide lacks common add-on coverages like rental car reimbursement or roadside assistance. That leaves you on the hook for expenses like towing and temporary transportation after an accident.
Country-Wide customer service
Country-Wide's customer service reputation leaves a lot to be desired. The website touts the company's face-to-face service via independent brokers, but that requires shoppers to take the time to go into a broker’s office in person, while competitors offer online quotes in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, the company received more than double the number of complaints that would be expected of an insurer of its size, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The most common reason for these complaints was unsatisfactory settlement payments, followed by delays.
|NAIC Complaint Index||1.0||2.24|
|AM Best Financial Strength Rating||A++ (maximum)||C++|
Shoppers should be aware that Country-Wide might be unable to pay out all of its claims from policyholders if financially strained. The company received a C++ Financial Strength Rating from AM Best, which indicates that its ability to meet ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations is "marginal".
Even if Country-Wide had great coverage options and affordable rates, consumers shouldn't run the risk of buying a policy from an insurer with a less-than-stable financial footing. We recommend avoiding Country-Wide and getting coverage from an insurer that can meet its obligations.
Country-Wide's contact system is somewhat confusing. While its website posts different numbers for general inquiries and claims, both numbers lead to the same phone tree — so it doesn't matter which number you call.
To file an auto insurance claim with Country-Wide, you can either call the claims phone number, (212) 344-8700, or the general customer service number, (212) 514-7000. You will then select your language from among English, Spanish and Chinese, and a phone tree will allow you either to report an accident or inquire after an existing claim.
Note that in the immediate aftermath of an accident, Country-Wide requests that policyholders call its insurance hotline: 1-800-79-NY-AUTO.
To make an auto insurance payment to Country-Wide, customers have one of several options. They can make a payment online, either by logging into their portal or by using the "make a payment" page on the company’s website.
Alternatively, customers can call the payment number at (877) 940-2167. Policyholders should be aware that using the payment phone number requires a $3 processing fee.
Lastly, policyholders can send a check to the following mailing address:
P.O. Box 7039, New York, NY 10008-7039
Note that this address is different from the company’s general mailing address, which is:
Country-Wide Insurance Company, 40 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005
About Country-Wide Insurance
Country-Wide Insurance, a subsidiary of Barbara Cheven Holding Company, was established in 1963. Contrary to its name, Country-Wide provides consumer and commercial car insurance products solely for the downstate New York area. The company markets its services through a network of independent brokers in the New York City metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs.