[Full disclosure: Main Street America Insurance is one of our insurance partners. As such, the Horan agency receives commissions for policies Main Street underwrites for our clients. That relationship does not influence our opinions or evaluations of the carrier. What follows is an objective review of a company we chose to partner with for many of the reasons you’ll read below.]
Main Street America Insurance, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a fairly large national carrier licensed in New York and 36 additional US states. But they’re not as well-known as other large insurance companies who outspend Main Street by hundreds of millions of dollars on TV, radio, and print ads each year.
For that reason, many Central New Yorkers have heard little about the company. Main Street still writes many personal and commercial policies through dedicated independent agents living and working in vibrant communities in our region.
In this Horan Review, we’ll look more closely at some of their unique policy offerings below to help you determine whether Main Street will be a good fit for your personal or commercial insurance needs. Before we do so, we’ll take a brief peek into the company’s past.
How Main Street America Insurance Started
Unlike the other insurers we’ve covered in this series of Horan Reviews, Main Street America has been subject to mergers and acquisitions and extensive restructuring over the decades.
The carrier was organized in New Hampshire as the National Grange Mutual Liability Company (NGM) in March 1923. It began doing business on July 16, 1923. A companion carrier, National Grange Fire Insurance Company, was formed in 1935 and later absorbed into NGM.
There were further mergers, and NGM relocated operations to the state of Florida, becoming a stock insurance company. Main Street America Group, initiated in 1986, was issued 100% of NGM’s common stock. National Grange Mutual survives today, and Main Street underwrites home policies in New York and other states through the company.
Main Street America merged with American Family Insurance (AmFam) in 2018—AmFam being the 10th largest property and casualty (P&C) insurance company in 2021.
But Main Street holds its own in the P&C space, writing over $1 billion in annual premiums for individuals, families, and small “Main Street” businesses in 37 states across the American landscape. And it does so through its network of independent agencies that includes Horan.
Insurance Policies Offered by Main Street America
As its name suggests, Main Street America Insurance specializes in commercial policies, including insurance for business owners and contractors. They also offer commercial auto and umbrella products, workers compensation, and surety bonds.
The company’s personal lines are also competitive. Main Street offers personal home, auto, umbrella, landlord, and dwelling fire policies, making the carrier a veritable one-stop shop for most CNY residents and business owners in the market for insurance.
Main Street’s homeowners insurance offers what policyholders have come to expect: dwelling and other structures coverage, personal property, personal liability, and more. We cover those standard policy components in our homeowners insurance overview.
For those who need extra protection for their home, Main Street allows policyholders to upgrade coverage through several endorsements as part of their Homeowners Elite Program. The program includes three coverage levels, the topmost being Platinum, but all levels offer replacement cost coverage for your main dwelling, which has limits described in your policy.
Picking up Main Street’s Platinum premium endorsement for the home portion increases protection for your valuables and steps you up to Guaranteed Replacement Cost. This high tier of homeowners coverage helps cover rebuilding costs beyond your policy limits following a total loss.
Opting for the Platinum endorsement on a home policy adds other protections, such as personal injury, which helps to buffer you financially in cases of libel, slander, defamation of character, and similar unintended assaults on a person’s reputation.
Auto policies come standard with the usual coverage: bodily injury liability, property damage, medical expenses, and more, all of which you can read about in our auto insurance overview.
As with a homeowners policy, Main Street’s auto coverage boasts a three-level Auto Elite Endorsement, available to those with vehicles 15 years old or newer and who meet other guidelines. The program’s Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers provide their share of benefits if policyholders are willing to pay to obtain them.
Gold and Platinum perks include a diminishing deductible for collision coverage and pet injury collision, which will reimburse you for veterinary and medication bills arising from a covered accident involving a cat or dog up to $500 for a single occurrence.
Exclusive to the Platinum tier for auto is Accident Forgiveness Coverage, which waives the first chargeable accident for the household that occurred within three years. Platinum members also receive Extra Medical Payments Coverage, which bumps up per-person Medical Payments Coverage Benefits an additional 50% to the policy limit (up to $5,000 per person).
You should note that, for Main Street’s auto policies, rates can vary significantly depending on which region of New York State you reside in. Currently, Main Street’s auto insurance rates in Onondaga County are less competitive than neighboring counties. The carrier’s rates fair well in counties like Oswego, Cayuga, and Oneida.
Main Street’s commercial insurance offerings include a Business Owners Policy or BOP. The policy is split into two coverage types: general liability and property damage. A BOP is great for small CNY businesses with physical locations on “Main Streets” in various towns.
It protects business owners who face potential lawsuits since frequent customers or guests will be on-site and can incur injuries on the premises. We’re talking accountants and attorneys with storefront offices, bike repair shops, hair salons, and other businesses.
Policyholders can also upgrade their insurance to include replacement coverage for their building or personal property belonging to the business.
Commercial auto policies are also on offer, and they include similar coverage you’ll see on personal auto insurance, including bodily injury liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and more.
Upgrading a commercial auto policy can lead to additional protections like coverage for vehicles rented by employees or for physical damage to hired vehicles.
Main Street also offers Workers’ Compensation coverage within its suite of commercial packages.
What is the Claims Process Like for Main Street America Insurance?
The phone lines for Main Street America Insurance are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be accessed directly from their website. You can also report your claim online using their claims portal. It is easy to navigate and includes fillable forms with helpful instructions.
You can also contact your independent agent to report your claim since they are already familiar with the claims process.
From our experience, we have found Main Street to be prompt with payments and reasonable with the costs associated with various claims.
Main Street’s Awards and Other Highlights
Main Street America Insurance, as large a carrier as it is, doesn’t vie for awards or special recognition as far as we have seen, so there are none to report. But the carrier, being part of the AmFam group, ranked 251 on the Fortune 500 list in 2022, down from 232 in 2021.
AM Best, the world’s largest credit rating agency, announced in 2021 that Main Street America Insurance—including the companies in the group it shares with AmFam—received its 19th consecutive ‘A’ (Excellent) rating for financial strength.
AM Best “also affirmed the company’s issuer credit rating of ‘a+’ for the fourth year in a row” and increased Main Street’s innovation rating from “Significant” to “Prominent.”
Through its charity arms, NGM Charitable Foundation and Austin Mutual Foundation, Main Street donated $244,936 to nonprofit organizations focused on health, educational, welfare, cultural, and civic needs in 2021.
In addition to offering support through corporate giving, volunteerism, and community service, Main Street also encourages its employees to give by matching donations:
“We offer a 1-to-1 match to employee donations made to nonprofit organizations and a 1-to-1.5 match for donations to The United Way.”
Considering Main Street’s Fortune 500 status within the AmFam group, its high industry ratings from AM Best, and the company’s charitable giving, one still has to weigh its policy offerings and ask:
Is Main Street America Insurance Right for Me?
Have you purchased a new home in a CNY subdivision or completed construction on a new property elsewhere? Consider Main Street for your homeowners policy.
Was your home built in the last 10 years? Main Street is likely a good fit for your insurance needs.
If you’ve had no claims in the past five years and have a good driving record (meaning no traffic violations or tickets), Main Street will probably be a good fit for you.
Are you a small contractor whose line of business doesn’t require you or your employees to climb ladders? Have you been in business for at least three years? Main Street America may be a good fit for your commercial insurance needs.
The not-so-good fits criteria for Main Street are rather specific.
Central New Yorkers with log homes, manufactured homes, and vacant or unoccupied homes will not be a good fit for Main Street.
If your home’s swimming pool has a diving board or slide, Main Street is not a good fit.
Is there a trampoline on your property? Look elsewhere for homeowners insurance.
Homes with knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring won’t be a good fit for Main Street.
And if you have a dog with a bite history, Main Street won’t be writing you a policy any time soon—then again, no insurer we know of writes policies for dogs that have bitten people in the past.
For drivers who have been licensed for less than three years but want to branch out to their own auto policy, Main Street America Insurance won’t be a good fit.
An unmarried driver under the age of 23—who will be the main policyholder—is also not a good fit.
If you’ve had a DUI or DWI in the last five years, you’ll have to look elsewhere for auto insurance.
Main Street is not a good fit if you’ve had any prior insurance cancelations or non-renewals imposed by an insurance carrier in the past three years. This can be due to non-payment, traffic tickets, claims, underwriting issues, or anything you may have done to cause a carrier to deny coverage in the last three years.
If you use your vehicle for ridesharing, food, or product delivery, Main Street is not the insurer for you.
That said, Main Street America Insurance is a large, stable carrier that offers an abundant mix of insurance products to meet the needs of most Central New Yorkers.
The company writes personal insurance policies, but given its name, and the handshake imagery used in its logo, Main Street intends to partner with small businesses lining “Main Streets” in idyllic towns throughout the country. After reading this review, you may decide that your home, auto, or business is ideal for policies from the insurer. Or you might not.
Either way, we hope this review has helped you weigh Main Street’s pros and cons.
If you’d like to read more Horan Reviews on carriers that serve the Central New York region, click the links below. We’ll add more review links as they become available.
- Dryden Mutual Insurance Review
- Erie Insurance Review
- NYCM Insurance Review
- Progressive Insurance Review
- Sterling Insurance Review
- Travelers Insurance Review
If you’re ready to see a quote from Main Street America Insurance or other insurers in our network, click the Get a Quote button below, and one of our insurance specialists will reach out to you.