Posts Tagged Fireman’s Fund

Green Auto Insurance Part 2

Posted by on Friday, 5 March, 2010

Many agencies claim to have created a green auto insurance plan. Since this is a newer field, there doesn’t really seem to be a standard, although there are a few subjects that keep turning up. One of the most common items seems to be the discount on a hybrid car rental. Fireman’s Fund has a really interesting offer that pushes customers to switch to a green vehicle. This contract states that if a customer’s car gets totaled in the first three years, the company will replace it with a new hybrid vehicle in a similar make and model as a replacement.

This is very different from the usual policies. Typically if a car is fully covered by insurance and gets wrecked the insurance company pays out the depreciated cost of the car, the client gets a cash settlement. Fireman’s Fund’s green auto insurance policy actually replaces the vehicle with a hybrid, so every time it activates there is one more hybrid and one less traditional vehicle. Very similar to Cash for Clunkers, as that program offered a tradein if a citizen brought in a qualifying vehicle and the dealership destroyed it. Of course, there is one major difference in this arrangement. We aren’t talking about bringing in an old car to the dealership here. You would probably only see this policy take effect if another driver crashed into your vehicle and completely wrecked it, although a loss policy can also cover theft if the car can’t be found.

One other caveat. Fireman’s Insurance is located in Novato, a smaller city north of San Francisco. You would think this policy would be offered to California residents. The Allianz link mentions that the policy is only offered in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Texas. The states seem to have nothing in common, must be some actuarial calculation behind it as it seems like demand would be higher in states like California and New York. Recall that the bicycle roadside assistance offered by AAA was available in Oregon and Washington, evidently because they believe that those states have the highest demand. Annoying to see that there are all of these green auto insurance policies available outside of California, which easily would have the greatest demand in my opinion.

Next I went to the Esurance site, after seeing Autoblog suggesting that they had some useful policies. You’re greeted by the pink haired mascot Erin Esurance, complete with a few green vines. Reminded me of Poison Ivy in the Batman series. It’s helpful to be able to use a widely known character like this in environmental public service announcements, which are mentioned on their site.
Looking around the Esurance site the main focus is the reduction of energy use and waste paper in their offices, which is always positive. Not only does this save forests, it also cuts a lot of costs. The site also mentions that all of their claims vehicles are hybrids. Always beneficial to save gas, the hybrids are also suggesting that Esurance can afford a new fleet, so they can afford to pay off a policy. The focus is not on the insurance policy itself for this company, although they’ve put a lot of work into the other aspects of environmentalism so it balances out in my opinion.