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Using a combination of agent and direct sales, Titan approaches the insurance market from two angles. Coverage for non-standard drivers with low rates is a pretty big promise, and adding personal service from an agent ups the ante to a promise of great service too. We’ll take a look at how Titan tries to fulfill those promises – and whether they succeed.
Titan Insurance Overview
Titan Insurance was founded in Troy, Michigan in 1991, and expanded quickly over the ensuing years to a number of other states. Titan’s parent company, THI Holdings (which also owns Victoria Insurance), was purchased in 2003 by Nationwide Insurance, making it part of one of the largest insurance groups in the U.S.
Titan writes automotive insurance exclusively, but offers both personal and commercial policies. As a non-standard insurer, the company writes policies for people who have trouble getting coverage elsewhere, including drivers with tickets and accidents, drivers with international licenses, and people with credit problems.
Drivers who require an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) are a big part of Titan’s business, as they provide a basic policy that meets all of the legal requirements. They also offer these policies to other drivers, including those who are new to the country and may not understand fully how U.S. auto insurance works.
Offering these basic no-frills policies allows Titan to offer lower rates for drivers who are high-risk, however, these types of policies are notorious for being inadequate in moderate to severe accidents due to their low policy limits.
Titan sells policies both online through their website, over the phone, and through what they call Titan Agent Owned Offices – which is basically just a regular insurance agent, but with offices owned by Titan’s agency sales branch. Titan Agent offices can be located within Nationwide agencies, allowing those agents to offer Titan’s non-standard products as well as other Nationwide products.
In 2014, Nationwide announced plans to drop all names and brand logos of their subsidiary companies and bring everything under the Nationwide name. So far, we have only seen minor shifts in subsidiary branding. For the time being, Titan is still operating under its old name and logo.
Should these changes go forward, Nationwide, and Titan as part of it, will be a pretty complete one-stop shop for insurance. Currently, however, Titan auto insurance customers will have to seek coverage for home, life, and other needs elsewhere, whether through Nationwide companies or not.
Titan is an auto insurance company only; although they are part of Nationwide, there is no discount for having a home insurance policy with any of the other Nationwide companies. This may change in the future once everything is under the Nationwide banner.
Titan’s personal auto insurance program is intended to be affordable, which means policies offered are quite basic.
The base policy from Titan is the state minimum coverage. Titan pushes this policy as the cheapest option; not surprising considering their target market is drivers who are high-risk and thus high-cost.
Titan offers a list of the required minimums by state for many of the states where they write auto coverage, further putting their basic policy to the forefront. While this type of policy will ensure you’re legal for the road, it’s rarely enough coverage to provide for a serious accident, and unfortunately drivers who are accepting a bare bones minimum policy may not be aware of the financial risk of carrying such low limits. Titan makes a minimal effort on their website to warn drivers that state minimums may not be sufficient, particularly in a serious accident.
Titan also offers optional coverage, with a list of the most common options. These include collision and comprehensive coverage, usually required by the lien holder on a car if there is a loan. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage can also be added – these are mandatory in some states.
They also offer roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and towing & labor. Of course, all of these add-ons cost more money, and that will raise the rates on the discount-priced bare bones policies.
Titan does have a solid list of available discounts for their auto insurance policies, such as:
- Good student
- Association membership (there is no list of affiliated associations)
- Anti-theft and safety devices (ABS, air bags)
- Prior insurance discount for those coming from a standard insurer
- Advance purchase
- Safety course discount
- Farm Use
- Mature driver
Titan also has a discount available for people whose employer participates in a traffic mitigation program, known as Travelink. However, there is no further information on this program on the company website.
Their auto insurance program is basic, but does offer all of the most common choices for coverage, and there are plenty of available discounts. That makes it pretty simple to understand, which will appeal to those who are new to U.S. auto insurance, who are new to buying car insurance of any kind, or who simply want to keep things basic.
Titan’s Commercial Auto products are available for a wide range of vehicle types and sizes that are used in the course of doing business. They cover business vehicles from passenger cars all the way to trucks of up to 80,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight.
Commercial auto is available for many types of businesses, including:
- Sales representatives
Like the personal insurance line, Titan offers their commercial products to businesses that are high-risk or otherwise have a hard time qualifying for insurance coverage. This may include business owners who are new to the country or have drivers as employees with international licenses, tickets or accidents, or other problems. Again, they present their policies as a budget option for businesses.
There are several discounts available for the commercial policies as well, such as:
- Claim-free renewal
- Years in business
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Coverage on commercial policies includes all of the standard options such as liability, comprehensive, and collision, but also adds coverage that is specific to business use. Business owners can select the coverage options they need for their particular type of business risk.
- Med-pay to cover expenses for drivers or passengers
- Hired auto liability
- Employer’s non-ownership liability
- On-hook towing liability
- Additional and custom equipment coverage
Commercial auto insurance is not available online and can only be quoted and purchased over the phone or through an agent. That is pretty standard, as commercial insurance is often complex and requires more information than a personal auto policy.
Prices and Premiums
Titan promises low rates, but according to our rate tests, they do not seem to make good on that promise. They’re quite expensive, even for drivers with clean records.
The Titan online quoting system doesn’t allow the selection of our usual rate test sample coverage limits, which makes it difficult to obtain a direct comparison. As a company that pushes bare bones, state minimum policies, it’s not surprising that quotes are focused on lower liability limits, but it leaves us unable to come up with a quote that we can compare to other companies on a level field.
That said, Titan’s rate for lower coverage limits comes in higher than we would expect even for higher limits – which means that they are offering less coverage at a higher price.
Bear in mind that our test sample is a couple that would not be considered high-risk. This means that drivers who should qualify for the best rates from most insurance companies – no tickets or accidents, licensed for many years, very low-risk drivers – are still coming in at a higher rate than average with Titan.
If low-risk drivers are unable to save with Titan, it’s difficult to imagine that the high-risk drivers the company targets are going to find the rates particularly affordable. Of course, high-risk rates are more expensive from any company, and we wouldn’t expect to find Titan offering the best rates overall since they are a high-risk insurer. Drivers who are struggling to get coverage might well find Titan to be a fair price, especially if they don’t have a lot of other options available to them.
Part of the reason for the higher rates even for low-risk drivers could be that Titan spreads the cost around to all of its policyholders in order to bring the overall rates down and offer better rates to those who have the highest risk level. All insurance companies do this to a certain degree, and it would make sense for Titan to use a method like this to be able to advertise decent rates for non-standard drivers.
Titan does have a lot discounts available, which could mitigate some of the cost for some drivers. It is also possible that they might be competitive at state-minimum levels with liability-only coverage, since that’s the type of policy they push, but since we do not recommend a state minimum policy, we don’t compare those rates.
The system itself is relatively straightforward, although it requires a number of steps and isn’t the fastest quoting system we’ve seen on an insurance company website.
We don’t test commercial auto rates, and since they are so variable based on type of business and use of the business vehicles, rates can vary considerably. It seems unlikely that Titan is offering the best commercial rates when their personal rates are on the high side, and they once again market their products towards companies with higher risk commercial auto needs. That being said, anyone considering Titan for their commercial auto needs should get a personalized quote done for themselves.
Titan accepts auto insurance claims only by phone, at 1-800-926-3168, their 24-hour toll free claims line.
Although there is a customer portal on the website where policyholders can log in to manage their account, there is no indication that they offer online claims filing. Nor do they offer online claims tracking – the website indicates that customers should call the claims line to check on the status of an existing claim.
For a major insurance company owned by one of the biggest insurers in the country, it’s surprising to see that there is no access to claims filing or tracking online. This is a service that is quickly becoming an expected standard in the industry, and something we expect to see especially from companies that offer insurance policy purchases directly.
To report a glass-only claim, call 1-800-926-3168 and select the glass only damage. The customer will then be directed to Safelite, one of the biggest auto glass repair and replacement companies in the country, and a common choice for auto glass claims for insurance companies. The site also states that glass claims can be filed online, but doesn’t indicate where this should be done – presumably directly through Safelite, although there is no link.
There is also a separate line for towing reimbursement claims, 1-800-201-2423.
Finally, for commercial auto claims you are also directed to call 1-800-926-3168 where a representative will direct you to the appropriate adjuster.
Beyond the information on how to file a claim, Titan offers no information regarding the claims process. They likely follow the standard procedure of assigning an adjuster to investigate the claim and examine what coverage is available on the policy, determining fault and damages, and then settling the claim with the driver and any other parties involved.
Their website offers no indication that Titan has a preferred repair shop network offering any kind of guarantee on the work, which is common for most major insurers. They may have one, but due to the limited amount of claims information on the website it’s hard to say. If the changeover to Nationwide branding takes place, it’s likely Titan will then use all of that company’s claims services.
Nationwide, Titan’s parent company, was rated a four out of five, for claims satisfaction in the 2016 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Study.
Non-standard insurers typically put low rates ahead of customer service when they sell their policies. At the end of the day, a cheap insurance rate – and Titan isn’t that inexpensive – might not be worth it if the company fails the customer during a claim. Since we don’t have a lot of direct information in terms of claims satisfaction for Titan, we’ll have to look further into reviews of the company to see where they’re landing on the customer service scale.
Although Titan still operates as an independent company, the Better Business Bureau has recently created aggregate ratings for all companies owned by a larger parent company. Titan’s score is therefore the same as Nationwide’s score, with no individual information available from the BBB. This is true of all Nationwide companies, even if they previously had their own page and rating.
Nationwide has a BBB rating of A+, with 396 complaints in the past three years and 116 complaints closed in the past 12 months. This includes all of the companies that fall under the Nationwide banner, making it difficult to determine how these ratings apply to Titan specifically. As a result of the aggregate system, the BBB’s ratings for Titan aren’t particularly helpful. That said, this number of complaints for a huge company – especially considering that this is an aggregate of all Nationwide’s companies – is not very high.
Other sources of reviews for Titan show a good number of complaints. PissedConsumer.com has 94 reviews of Titan, with a lot of the same comments and complaints repeated. Reviews state that Titan is expensive, that they often raise rates above what was quoted, and that customer services is lacking.
Most insurance companies have some complaints of this nature, but the repeated “bait-and-switch” complaints are definitely frequent enough to raise red flags. Since Titan advertises as a low-cost insurer aimed at helping higher risk drivers, the increased rates and problems with in accurate quotes are of special concern.
There are also several complaints stating that the company continued to charge after cancellation, and didn’t refund appropriately. While some of these may be due to a lack of understanding of insurance company billing methods, there are again enough of these complaints to raise some concern regarding Titan’s billing practices.
Interestingly, there aren’t a lot of complaints from people who are dissatisfied with the claims process. There are some claims complaints, but they are not in large numbers, which is usually the biggest part of the complaints against any insurance company. It’s encouraging to see that there aren’t a lot of claims complaints, but there are definitely some issues with customer service overall.
It appears that most of the problems with Titan occur as a result of how cancellations and rate increases are handled. It’s possible that customers are becoming frustrated with Titan before they ever reach the point of having to use the claims service and moving on to other companies; that might explain the lack of claims complaints.
Titan is a high-risk insurer and as a result they do not offer the lowest rates for those with a clean driving record. If you don’t need high-risk insurance, you’re almost certain to find better rates and better coverage elsewhere, probably from a standard insurance company.
Drivers who require an SR-22 or have been turned down for insurance elsewhere might find Titan on their list of choices, and it’s possible the rates might be reasonable – all high-risk coverage is pricey so it’s no surprise that it would cost more than a standard policy.
Titan may well be one of the only choices available to higher-risk drivers, as options are typically limited. Its good practice to get as many quotes as possible from high-risk insurers, since the rates can vary wildly. Good drivers should steer clear of non-standard insurers in general.
As a final note, Titan pushes a basic, state-minimum policy that makes insurance affordable and just enough to get drivers on the road legally. While saving money is always a big part of shopping for car insurance, it’s also a good idea to increase limits as much as you can, even if it costs more up front. The long-term cost of carrying bare bones insurance in the event of an accident is much more costly.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.