Say Car Insurance Review: Transparent Pricing for Basic Coverage

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Say Car Insurance Review: Transparent Pricing for Basic Coverage

Say Insurance differentiates itself by offering policyholders a copy of their insurance score and helping customers identify ways to pay less for auto insurance. However, as a new insurer, Say has few coverage options and a limited track record to evaluate customer satisfaction.

Good for

  • Drivers who want to understand how their rates are calculated
  • Customers who aren't likely to switch insurers frequently and can benefit from Say's loyalty discounts

Bad for

  • Drivers seeking special coverages such as gap insurance

Editor's Rating

3.0/5.0

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Drivers who want to lower their premiums and better understand how auto insurance is priced may benefit from Say Insurance's approach to rate transparency. By providing policyholders with their insurance score — which is rare in the insurance world — Say's customers can identify ways to lower their rates over time.

If, however, you need special protections, you should seek car insurance quotes from an insurer with a larger suite of coverage and policy options.

Say Insurance: Transparent rates for standard coverage

Say Insurance's main selling point is that it helps its policyholders better understand how their car insurance premiums are priced with more transparent rate calculations. Specifically, Say Insurance provides drivers with their insurance score for free. Providing this information to customers is very rare among insurers.

Customers of Say Insurance benefit by understanding their insurance score, as well as what steps they might take to improve it and eventually receive a lower rate. Say's car insurance policies are renewed every six months, which allows drivers to receive a new rate based on the updated insurance score at the start of every term.

Importantly, Say also factors customer loyalty into its pricing scheme to further help customers save on their rates.

While some drivers may benefit from Say Insurance's rate schema and transparency regarding insurance scores, there are several limitations to consider:

  • The company currently only covers basic coverage options. Drivers seeking specialty coverage such as umbrella or gap insurance may need to look elsewhere.
  • Founded in 2016, Say Insurance is still a young company, limiting accurate assessments of customer satisfaction and the ability to successfully pay out insurance claims.
  • Say's policies are currently only available in five states, including Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

Bottom line: Loyal customers who can successfully improve their insurance score over time may benefit from cheaper rates, but drivers in need of special coverage options should get car insurance quotes from other large carriers.

How does Say auto insurance work?

Say Insurance prices its auto policies on several factors related to drivers’ personal characteristics, their household information and coverage selections.

The following rate determinants are common to most insurers, though Say differentiates itself by providing more transparent insight into customers’ insurance scores.

  • Coverage limits: Higher coverage levels provide greater protection in the event of an accident but therefore cost more.
  • Deductible: A higher deductible implies less of a financial risk to Say and thereby reduces rates.
  • Insurance score: A high insurance score suggests that policyholders are financially responsible. Higher scores are thus less of a risk to the insurer and result in lower rates.
  • Tickets: Having a driving ticket on your record implies risky driving behavior and thereby raises car insurance premiums. Say only factors in violations from the past three years.
  • Accidents: Similar to tickets, having an accident on your driving record suggests a greater risk of unsafe driving behavior. Say Insurance only considers accidents that have resulted in $1,000 or more in claim payments in the past three months.

Why your insurance score matters

Insurance companies use insurance scores to predict the likelihood of future claim filings, and thereby how to price your car insurance policy, or even whether or not to grant the policy. Insurance scores typically rely on factors similar to that of credit scores, including:

  • Frequency of on-time payments
  • Average length of credit history
  • Number of credit inquiries
  • Diversity of credit sources

Better insurance scores imply greater financial responsibility and thereby less risk to the insurance company. Policyholders with higher insurance scores will thus receive lower rates.

The Say score

While Say Insurance uses the above factors to determine its auto insurance pricing, the company also employs a proprietary rating mechanism known as the Say score.

This tool blends customer loyalty with traditional insurance scores to price rates and is a unique pricing method that benefits drivers who stick with Say Insurance for a longer period of time.

Say score = Current insurance score + (# of renewals x 50)

Every six months, Say policies are renewed, so insurance scores, and thereby Say scores, are recalculated at every renewal to determine pricing for the next term.

Each renewal, regardless of changes in your insurance score (whether positive or negative), adds 50 points to your Say score, which is used to determine rates. For example:

  • An insurance score of 600 at the first renewal will lead to a Say score of 650.
  • An insurance score of 650 at the second renewal will lead to a Say score of 750.
  • If your insurance score goes back down to 600 at the third renewal, the Say score will remain at 750.

This means that customer loyalty serves as a helpful buffer against any potential negative fluctuations in your insurance score. If all else stays the same with your policy (eg, no tickets or claims filed), the addition of 50 points to your Say score at every renewal saves, on average, 4% of your car insurance premium.

Of note, insurance scores have a maximum of 997 points, though policy renewals can help you continue saving over the long run.

Say car insurance reviews and complaints

Say Insurance's customer reviews are generally positive, though as a young company, there is limited feedback from policyholders.

No official complaints have yet been filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), though Say's parent company, Shelter Insurance, has a complaint index of 10.86.

A complaint index above 1 suggests that Shelter Insurance receives 10 times more complaints than expected for a company of its size. Most complaints were related to unsatisfactory settlement or claim denials.

Say car insurance coverage and discounts

Say Insurance offers all the standard car insurance protections but doesn't offer many optional coverages. Some drivers may need additional protection covered by special coverages, such as gap insurance, which are not offered by Say.

Additionally, Say does not offer a variety of policy types, preventing customers from bundling their auto policy with a home policy, for instance. Say also does not offer umbrella insurance policies, which provide coverage beyond the liability limits of traditional auto insurance policies and may be beneficial to high net worth individuals.

Drivers seeking specialty coverage would benefit from comparing policies and rates at other insurers.

Standard coverage available through Say Insurance

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Collision and comprehensive
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Medical payments

Of note, Say's collision and comprehensive insurance includes new car replacement coverage. If a policyholder gets into an accident within a year of purchasing a car, they could be eligible to purchase a new, similar vehicle.

Say Insurance also offers rental reimbursement and roadside assistance, though these two coverage options are common among car insurers.

  • Roadside assistance pays for up to $100 of services, including dead batteries, flat tires, lockout and towing to the mechanical shop. Unlike many other insurers, Say's roadside assistance coverage is included in every auto policy issued.
  • Rental reimbursement is an optional coverage that reimburses the cost of a car rental when your vehicle is being repaired. Rental reimbursement only covers repairs due to an accident protected by collision and comprehensive insurance.

Discounts at Say Insurance

Say Insurance offers several discounts to policyholders, though those offered are all common at most large, national auto insurers.

  • Pay-in-full: Pay in a single up-front payment rather than monthly installments.
  • Paperless: Opt to receive documents electronically.
  • Advance purchase: Buy an auto insurance policy at least seven days before coverage goes into effect.
  • Defensive driving: Pass an approved motor vehicle accident prevention course, for seniors 55 and above.
  • Anti-theft: Install an anti-theft device, such as a car alarm or GPS tracker.

Say Insurance financial strength ratings and policy availability

Although Say Insurance is a relatively young company, founded in 2016, Say is owned and backed by Shelter Insurance, a national property and casualty insurer.

Shelter Insurance has an A rating for financial strength from A.M. Best, which evaluates the insurer's ability to successfully pay out claims. Shelter Insurance also receives an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Currently, Say Insurance's auto policies are only available in five states:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee

Say Insurance may, however, expand coverage to other states in the future.

Comments and Questions

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