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Similar to many insurance companies formed in the early 20th Century, Pioneer State Mutual began to protect farmers from risks, particularly storms and fires. As farming became less of an economic influence in Michigan, Pioneer and other insurance companies shifted their focus toward automobiles, homes and various businesses.
Currently, Pioneer is headquartered in Flint, Michigan. The company is small, with fewer than 100 employees, and sells most of its policies through independent agencies rather than direct sales.
The Pioneer website is designed more with current customers in mind than prospective buyers, suggesting that most people’s first contact with the company is through an agent.
Pioneer sells auto coverages to meet the needs of Michigan drivers, offering liability and first-party protection. You can add optional coverages like roadside assistance and rental reimbursement insurance. Additionally, a few more specialized coverages may be available as well:
- Rental gap insurance, which pays for damages to a vehicle that you rent for any purpose.
- New car replacement coverage, which allows you to purchase a replacement vehicle if your current car is totaled within six months of purchase.
- Trip interruption coverage, which helps to cover the cost of meals and lodging if an accident occurs while you’re away from home on vacation or another trip.
- Pet injury protection for when a pet is in your vehicle during a collision.
All of these coverages are fairly standard perks that are often offered by most insurance companies, and you will pay extra for them. Depending on your needs, you may find that the extra cost of these added coverages is not worth the value they bring to the table.
Pioneer Mutual offers property insurance to Michigan homeowners and renters. Policies are available for houses, mobile homes, condos and rental dwellings, with different policy options available for each.
Basic homeowners policies include coverage for the home’s structure, your personal property and loss of use coverage for temporary living arrangements while your home undergoes repairs. You can also purchase coverage for debris removal, refrigerator failure, sewer backup and more. Homeowners policies also include some basic liability insurance to cover the medical payments of visitors to your home for accidental injuries arising on your property.
Discounts are offered based on the age of a home and the policyholder: Older policyholders will pay less, as will those with homes built less than 20 years ago. Other discounts are available for homes with certain anti-theft/protection devices.
Commercial & Farm Insurance
Pioneer offers a variety of commercial products to small and medium-sized businesses in different industries. Coverages offered include commercial auto and property, liability, inland marine and workers’ compensation insurance.
The exact coverages that you need will depend on your business. Discussing your options with an agent to ensure you get the coverages you need without paying for things that won’t be necessary, is a good idea.
In addition to commercial and business products, Pioneer also sells farm insurance to Michigan farmers, both small and larger-scale operations. Different policies are available for various types of farms, including livestock, orchards, vineyards, urban gardens and more.
Coverages include basic property, vehicle, and liability in addition to more standard coverage for items such as farm equipment and loss of crops.
Pioneer insurance policies are sold through independent agencies. The company does not do any direct sales through its website. Its site does, however, facilitate contact with the agency by allowing you to search for an agent by zip code.
Property and auto claims can be filed online or over the phone. To file the claim online, you will need an account with the Pioneer website — this means that only Pioneer customers, not claimants, can file a claim in this way. Alternatively, you can call your agent to file the claim through the agency. Emergency claims can be filed after hours by calling 1-800-837-7674 and choosing option 2.
For a small local company, Pioneer State Mutual Insurance has a fairly large number of consumer reviews, and many of these are quite negative. In fact, the company joins the ranks of larger businesses like Allstate in having a website dedicated to complaints: In this case, the site is “PSMICSucks.com,” a page that lists a variety of complaints and issues about the company.
These complaints should be taken with a grain of salt since some issues revolve around the company’s “symbolic ties to the occult” among other similar concerns.
Still, there are many negative reviews about the company on other sites. Some common complaints include rates increasing without warning, claims not being handled in a timely manner and denials that the customer finds unfair.
The company does have an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau , however it is not accredited. There are just six complaints listed on the site to make up that rating, four of which were closed in the last 12 months.
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Pioneer is a small company with a tight geographical focus. Sometimes this can be a good thing as it shows that the company is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of a given community. However, it is also limiting. Pioneer does not offer much that makes it stand out from the competition: Its coverages and products are all quite standard for the industry. The volume and vitriol of consumer reviews should be a red flag. Even if the reviews themselves are overblown, it does suggest that there is a reason to be cautious about this company.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.