Pros / Allstate's Digital Locker app lets you store photos and information about your belongings in the cloud for safekeeping.
Cons / The agents didn't seem as knowledgeable or well trained as those of other agencies.
Verdict / Allstate's coverage is not as good as other insurance agencies, but its quote was one of the cheapest, and it offers a discount for retired people. It's worth pricing out, especially if you are retired, but be sure to call several local agents to find the most knowledgeable rep.
Allstate's home insurance policy was among the least expensive of those we received quotes for, with reasonable coverage. Its value was comparable to other agencies as far as coverage per premium dollar spent, making it a choice worth considering.
This agency offers eight discounts, with six common among homeowner insurances: multi-policy, online pay, claims-free, home security, early signing (signing a policy before your old one expires) and new customer. In addition, it offers up to 10 percent savings if you are over 55 and retired.
AARP's The Hartford also offers a retiree discount, but most of the agencies we reviewed did not. Although Allstate's quoted price was much lower than AARP's, we found the value per insurance dollar spent to be similar. Its loss-of-use compensation is significantly higher, however. This is the amount the insurance pays you if your home becomes unlivable to defer the expenses of living elsewhere while your home is repaired or rebuilt, or you find a new home.
There is an online quote system. It has detailed questions, including illustrations to help you determine the type of roof and materials used in your home so you can get an accurate quote. However, it may not give you the quote but send your information to a local agent instead. Thus, while the online quote process can help you determine the details you need when getting a quote, you can just as easily call a local agent.
Allstate agents are independent contractors, and the company says they receive virtual and live training. However, the agent we spoke to was not as knowledgeable as those of other home insurance companies. He had to call other Allstate agents to get answers to some of our questions about limits on specific items. The questions we asked were fairly common; some other insurances had the answers right on their websites, while others looked them up.
The Allstate agent claimed some policies had changed, which was why he wasn't sure; however, he did not have the changes on hand, either in a file or a company database he could access. This seems to indicate that Allstate does not have a way of keeping its employees up to date, or that some agents are not aware of it. Therefore, we suggest, with this company in particular, that you call more than one agent and ask questions. Find the most knowledgeable one as well as one you click with.
Allstate has a useful app for creating an inventory of items in your home. The Digital Locker app is free and lets you store pictures, notes and the estimated value of your items in the cloud. This way, if you lose everything to a fire or other disaster, the information is nonetheless secure. You can access it via your phone or computer to organize and update it as needed.
Allstate provides competitively priced insurance with good coverage. The agents seem to have different levels of knowledge, even in basic questions such as limitations, so call around and find one that can answer your questions easily and that you are most comfortable with.