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Hi board,

It's the former idxbuster here. It's been a while! Hope everyone is well.

Here's my question. We just moved across the country and our former Auto/Home insurer (American Family) doesn't write policies in our new state (Maryland). So we're shopping from scratch.

Based on quotes only, we've narrowed it down to Travelers or GEICO. Both gave us stunningly good rates for auto insurance - not as good as we had in Wisconsin, but MUCH better than I expected to find here in the big city (DC area).

Anyway, Travelers quoted us $317 for 6 months through AAA. GEICO quoted (roughly) $357, but they also offer a roadside service for only $5 extra per six months. If I consider the cost of our annual AAA membership, I call these quotes dead even. We always think we will, but we never use any of the AAA add-on services. We keep it just for the comfort factor.

As far as I can tell from searching websites, GEICO has a slightly stronger financial position, although both are in very good shape. I can't see much to choose form in terms of service either.

Both offer similar rates and discounts for our co-op property insurance too.

Our main concern, given this information, is claims service. Anyone have any insight or should I just flip a coin?

Thanks!
Buster

P.S. For anyone who can remember all the way back to last summer, I still have all the great feedback I got from this board when I posted this:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1040016000388000&sort=username

before I morphed from idxbuster to TMFBuster. Looks like I might even get to make some use of the notes, finally, as part of our on-line insurance content. I'll stop back for more advice as this project gets closer to the top of the ol' to-do list. Thanks in advance.
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Many states compile and publish "complaint ratios" for their regulated companies. I checked the Maryland Department website and did not see them online. However, the site contains contact numbers -- I would recommend that you call and ask about the availability of these statistics.

http://www.mia.state.md.us

The site also contains premium comparisons you can use to compare prices among companies. The comparisons are fairly limited, but they might give you some ideas.

Both of the companies you have mentioned generally have good complaint ratio performance in most states. However, that doesn't mean anything for the local claims offices.

Best of luck!

greygreen
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