Central Insurance Companies, part of the Central Mutual Insurance Corporation, is an Ohio-based insurance company that provides personal and commercial insurance policies. Central Insurance specializes in home insurance, auto insurance, and commercial/business insurance. Central is one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States – it was established almost 150 years ago, in the year of 1876 – back then it was known as Van West Country Mutual Fire Insurance Company, bearing the name of the town Van West, OH.
Central Insurance is one of the largest insurance corporations in the United States – it currently services over 350,000 clients for auto insurance, home insurance, and commercial insurance; operating out of 23 states. Central’s main market is the Ohio market, but they’ve expanded their reach to virtually every part of the United States. Central Insurance possess assets of over $1B, and as one of the oldest-running insurance companies on U.S. soil, they provide their home insurance policies in 23 states.
Central is rooted in the town of Van Wert, OH. It used to specialize in fire insurance and provided farmers with much-needed insurance back in the 19th century. As the company expanded its reach, it changed its name from the ‘Fire Insurance’ company to ‘Central Manufacturers Company’ and finally settled on ‘Central Insurance’. The company’s first expansion was to Boston, MA when it opened its regional headquarters in Massachusetts.
Central Insurance expanded greatly in the ’50s when it opened its first regional offices in the southern U.S. states of Texas and Georgia. Central retains regional headquarters in Atlanta and Dallas to this day – it started trading on the U.S. stock exchange in 1961 when it became a public company. Central Insurance acquired a number of smaller competitors who now belong to the larger Central Insurance Companies brand. Central does not sell policies directly, but it has a network of thousands of agents who sell their policies individually. Central Insurance currently services the following states: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Central Insurance home policies are available for the following:
- Condominium unit owners
- Commercial property owners
Central Insurance is in excellent financial standing and receives excellent marks by all major financial institutions. A.M. Best, the largest financial institution responsible for rating insurance companies based on their financial standing awarded Central Insurance an “A – Excellent” rating for financial stability. Central is part of the Better Business Bureau, which rates companies based on their financial stability and customer complaint ratio – the BBB currently awards Central an “A+” rating for high financial stability and low customer complaint ratio.
HO-3 Home Insurance
Central offers a singular all-encompassing HO-3 plan that provides clients with full coverage; without any add-ons or upgrades. Central provides coverage for the main structure, the side structures, personal liability, living expenses in case of destruction, medical liability, and more. Central offers the following coverage with their HO-3 policy:
- Guaranteed Repair/Replacement Cost. If the home is damaged, Central will repair at no cost for the client – this includes 100% rebuilding costs if the home is destroyed. The rebuilding cost is guaranteed, meaning even if the total coverage of the HO-3 plan is below the contractor’s cost to rebuild, Central will cover the difference. For instance, if a client’s coverage is only $500K and the contractor bids $600K to rebuild, Central will cover the extra $100K. This policy is only available for homeowners who reside in their homes as their main residence.
- Personal Belongings. All personal belongings and furniture inside the home are automatically covered. Coverage under this policy includes furniture, clothing, electronics, AC units, kitchen appliances, silverware, and more. The only exceptions to this policy are high-value items such as watches, antiques, designer clothes, artwork or precious metals.
- Replacement Advance Settlement. Central will pay a client upfront even while the home is being rebuilt – clients don’t have to wait until they get an invoice by the contractor in order to demand a payout.
- Cash Out Policy. If a client wishes to receive a cash amount instead of repairing their home, Central offers them a cash-out amount that covers their home value. Clients can choose what they do with the money – it’s not obligatory to rebuild the home, they could purchase a new property.
- First Claim Forgiveness. Central guarantees that a client’s premiums won’t increase after their first claim, although this policy is not available to New York customers.
- Loss Of Use Liability. If a client has to move out of their home while repairs are being carried out, Central will cover the cost of their hotels/rentals including living expenses until they’re ready to move in. This is to maintain the standard of living of clients despite the loss of property.
- Equipment Breakdown. This is included under the ‘personal belongings’ policy, but it also applies if equipment breakdowns are caused and the home remains untouched – for instance, if a fridge breaks down the client is eligible for a new fridge or the full costs of repair.
- Tree/Debris Removal. If a tree falls on a client’s property, Central bears the cost of a contractor to remove the tree and clean up their property.
- Infrastructure Damage. If any of the infrastructure of the home is damaged (water pipes, electric/gas lines, etc) – the repair costs will be reimbursed by Central.
- Water Damage. This policy comes by default with Central Insurance and in case of a sump pump overflow or a sewer-system damage, the company will bear all plumbing and water extraction costs.
- Identity Protection. If the client’s identity is stolen and used for malicious purposes, the client will receive a special agent who will help clear out their credit history and they will be reimbursed for the financial damages.
Central Insurance receives highly positive reviews – clients mostly praise their low premiums and high coverage. Many customers claim that they dropped their previous insurer after they found out how low the premiums are at Central and switched to Central Insurance. Many clients praise the company for providing coverage such as water damage without an add-on (these policies come included with the standard HO-3 plan). Their customer service department receives positive reviews and clients like the company app that allows for flexible payments.
The negative reviews for Central come from business clients – some clients say the company didn’t provide insurance for stolen items in their business. Clients have to make sure they purchase individual coverage for all valuable items if they’re insuring commercial properties. For home insurance they’re reliable – many clients say Central Insurance was quick to issue emergency response teams when their home was damaged, and the company offered them fast payouts.