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United Fire Group Summary
United Fire Group traces its roots back to Ace Mutual Insurance Association, founded in 1937. In 1943, the company merged with North Central Mutual Insurance to form United Mutual Insurance Association, and by 1950 the United Fire & Casualty Company was formed. The company continued expansion with the addition of United Life Insurance in 1962, and went public in 1971.
The ensuing years saw acquisitions of multiple different companies as United spread across the country. Most recently, the company merged with Mercer Insurance Group; the completion of this merger in 2011 saw United Fire cover more of the nation than ever before, nearly every state.
United Fire Group writes a variety of personal and business products through independent agents, and do not offer any direct sales. They currently write insurance in 43 states, 36 of which include life insurance products.
United Fire writes the big three of personal insurance – auto, home, and life – as well as business insurance and surety bonds.
United Fire’s personal auto insurance program appears basic but solid; they offer all of the common coverage options as well as a few extras such as new vehicle replacement and air bag replacement.
Also available is the company’s Road Assist 24/7, which is a little more than the average roadside assistance plan; it includes coverage for things such as locksmith services, flat tire changes, dead battery assistance, and of course towing.
Discounts for auto insurance are pretty basic, including good driver, loyalty, loss-free, and multiple policy discounts.
Motorcycle insurance is also available with similar coverage and additions that are specific to motorcycles, including additional equipment coverage.
United has a homeowner’s program with two levels of coverage. The basic coverage is their standard homeowner’s. They also offer a higher coverage level for newer custom homes known as Signature Premier Homeowner Program.
Signature Premier has all of the basics but also adds identity theft coverage, equipment breakdown, increased valuables limits, and a free home inspection. These can also be added as endorsements on a basic homeowner’s policy. Additional add-ons include:
- Personal Injury coverage
- Earthquake insurance
- Water back-up and sump pump overflow
- Scheduled personal property
There are a number of discounts available for homeowner’s including a new home discount, multi-policy, and security system discount.
In addition to homeowner’s insurance, United also writes condo and renter’s policies.
United writes both term and permanent life policies, and also offer annuities.
Term life is available with the option to convert to permanent; the company also offers several riders to choose from including disability income coverage and waiver of premium.
Both whole and universal life insurance policies are available for permanent coverage; these both include cash accumulation and steady premiums. Available riders include accelerated benefits, disability income, and guaranteed insurability.
Annuity choices from United for retirement income planning are:
- Single Premium Deferred
- Flexible Premium Deferred
- Single Premium Income
United Fire Group writes a good range of different business insurance options, intended mainly for small businesses. The choices include:
- Commercial Auto
- Business Owners Policy (package policy)
- Commercial Crime
- Commercial Property
- Contractor’s Errors & Omissions
- Garage Service Program
- General Liability
- Inland Marine
United Fire offers umbrella insurance for both individuals and businesses; this coverage provides additional (up to $5 million extra) liability protection above and beyond underlying policy limits.
United has a number of different types of bonds available, including surety, contract, fidelity, judicial, license and contract, and public official bonds.
The company doesn’t advertise their auto policies as being low-cost, and they are not a major player in the auto market. Combined with their sales through agents – which means commissions – it’s pretty unlikely that United will be among the least expensive insurance companies.
Of course, price isn’t the only thing that should matter when it comes to insurance, good service combined with solid products can make a higher premium worthwhile. That balance has to be judged carefully and somewhat individually.
United Fire Group claims can be filed either over the phone or online. The toll-free claims line can be reached at 1-800-343-9131.
The online claims form can be filled out on the website without the need to log in, which can be convenient for those who don’t have or don’t want a policyholder account. There is a login section on the website, which may offer claims tracking.
Claims can also be reported through your agent. Some subsidiary companies have different claims contact phone and fax numbers, so it’s important to check which of the companies the policy is issued by when submitting a claim.
United Fire Group has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and there are only five complaints on record in the past three years, two of which were closed in the past 12 months. The company has been accredited since 2014.
Due to the fairy recent merger with Mercer, it’s difficult to say for sure whether or not this file includes any complaints against that particular company.
The only other complaint we were able to find about this company came from a former employee, and had nothing to do with the company’s service or products. The lack of complaints across multiple common sites leaves a generally positive impression of this insurance company.
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United Fire Group is unlikely to be the least expensive insurance option for most people, but they offer a smaller company with a personalized agent approach to selling and servicing policies, and a good reputation to back it up.
The company has a solid product lineup that covers most bases, and is likely worth a look for anyone who values that personal touch but still wants online access to accounts and claims; while online quoting would be nice to see, United Fire Group does manage to strike a decent balance.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.