Allstate Withdraws ‘Deceptive’ Auto Insurance from California

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Allstate Insurance agreed to stop selling its Your Choice Auto (YCA) insurance program in California after Consumer Watchdog said the insurance was “deceptive and overpriced,” according to the nonprofit.

Allstate won’t issue new YCA policies and will phase out the 150,000 existing policies in California by November 2011, the nonprofit reported. The company will continue selling YCA policies in other states, according to Consumer Watchdog.

YCA policies included 15% higher-than-normal-premiums in exchange for promises that future tickets or accidents would not increase the premiums, Consumer Watchdog said. The nonprofit found these benefits were not worth the charged premium.

It accused Allstate of violating California’s good driver discount law; unfairly discriminating against drivers despite their good driving record; selling a deceptive product; and encouraging irresponsible driving.

The YCA policies brought in $20 million per year in premiums since Allstate began selling them in California in 2008, according to Consumer Watchdog.

“Your Choice Auto became a cash cow for Allstate by charging customers more than they should be paying under California’s good driver law,” said Todd M. Foreman, in-house counsel for Consumer Watchdog, in a statement. “Only when faced with the threat of having their executives cross-examined about the actual costs and benefits of YCA did Allstate finally agree to take this product off the market.”

Consumer Watchdog challenged the YCA policies under Proposition 103, which requires insurance companies in California to justify that rates are not excessive and insurance products are legal, according to the nonprofit.

The agreement to remove YCA from the California market was approved by then-Commissioner Poizner, and goes into effect Jan. 10, 2011, the nonprofit reported.
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