Yes, Hugo is a real car insurance company. They offer on-demand liability coverage, but have more limitations than traditional companies and won’t work for everyone.
Hugo Insurance is a legitimate car insurance company that started offering policies in 2020, launching in Illinois before they expanded into 12 more states. They claim to be “the world’s first on-demand liability insurance” and provide proof of insurance in 6 minutes or less.
Hugo ads focus on how affordable they are and that you can complete a normally arduous insurance transaction quickly and get basic liability coverage in minutes. Hugo also provides micropayments without down payments. Customers can start their policy by paying for only three days worth of coverage, and can choose to pay every three days, weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Traditional insurance companies require you to pay a larger down payment if you want to make monthly payments (and don’t offer smaller payment plans). Some policies also require that you pay in full — although paying in full can earn you discounts as high as 14% off your total policy.
Hugo Insurance also emphasizes their “revolutionary on-demand model. ” Drivers who purchase Hugo Insurance can turn their coverage on and off online, and only pay premiums when they actually use their insurance.
On August 21, 2023 Hugo announced that they were leaving the state of California. While current Hugo customers can still maintain their policy until the end of their term, they will not be able to renew or change their plan. To learn what this means for your policy or coverage, click here.
Hugo insurance offers car insurance in 13 states and provides three car insurance plans; Flex, Unlimited Basic, and Unlimited Full.
All three plans offer liability coverage, flexible micropayments, no down payments or upfront frees, and overdraft protection. Only Unlimited Full offers comprehensive and collision coverage, which insures your vehicle if it's damaged in a crash or by weather events, or an animal. Only Flex provides the on-demand insurance experience that Hugo advertises, which allows drivers to turn their insurance on and off without paying more for their coverage.
While Hugo advertises all three plans, most states have one option. California and Illinois drivers can purchase Flex, while only drivers in Illinois can purchase Hugo's Unlimited Full plan. Drivers in Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida only have access to Hugo’s Unlimited Basic plan.
Hugo Insurance is an online, direct-to-consumer insurance company. Unlike insurance companies that ask you to call or speak with insurance agents to purchase a policy, customers in eligible states can go directly to Hugo’s online quoting site, create an account, and purchase their policy, all online.
After joining, Hugo insurance members can manage their policy online. Customers can make payments, modify their policy, and access policy documents/proof of insurance — all online. Hugo Insurance also does not mail paper insurance cards to drivers, meaning their customers access these cards online or print them out if paper cards are required.
Enter your information: Hugo’s website promises that you can create an account and select your policy in 2 minutes or less. We found that their form was easy to fill out, and required basic information such as driver’s license numbers, address, and auto information (make/model/year, VIN). Hugo Insurance also asks for but does not require a social security number(SSN). While you can purchase a policy without this information, Hugo warns that your rates can decrease if you provide a SSN.
Select your policy: Unlike traditional insurance companies that allow you to purchase a variety of insurance coverages depending on your needs, Hugo Insurance has limited options. Hugo primarily focuses on minimum liability insurance, which is determined by your state’s requirements, and they only offer comprehensive and collision coverage in 1 state — Illinois. While Hugo does offer different coverage options in some states, they don’t provide the same options as most traditional insurance companies. This makes checkout fast but also limits your ability to buy more effective protection or lower your rates by purchasing higher deductibles.
Pay for your policy: Drivers who live in Illinois or California have a choice between 2-3 Hugo plans, Flex, Basic Unlimited, and Full Unlimited, which determines their cost. In all other states, drivers only have access to one plan, Basic Unlimited, and can only choose to pay the price Hugo offers for that plan. Hugo customers on any plan can choose one of five payment options: every three days, every week, every two weeks, every month, or every six months. Hugo then loads your payment into your account and withdraws payment daily. Users can manually add more money to their accounts or turn on Auto Reload to keep up with regular payments. Hugo users can also withdraw funds from their account if they haven’t been used, and replace them later. If their account is empty, Hugo also allows drivers to turn off coverage until they reload their account.
Turn your coverage on and off: The most unique aspect of Hugo Insurance is its on-demand model. According to their website, you can “turn on your insurance when you need it, save money when you don’t.” We found turning coverage on and off to be more complicated.
Only drivers who enroll in a Flex plan (available exclusively in CA and IL) can turn their insurance on and off without incurring rate changes. Even with a Flex plan, Hugo recommends turning your insurance on at least once a week. State DMVs require insurance companies to notify them when your insurance has lapsed for more than a few days, and long lapses result in suspended vehicle registration.
Hugo Basic Unlimited Plans, however, are designed to remain on. Turning coverage off without enrolling in another policy results in Hugo notifying your state DMV of a lapse within 24 hours. While Hugo holds your rate constant for the next three days, after that period they’re legally required to add a reinstatement and/or cancellation fee to your rate. After ten days, Hugo has to re-rate your policy – which can significantly increase your costs. Any lapse in coverage can also impact your rates at other insurance companies and some companies can even deny you coverage.
While it’s technically possible to use Hugo Insurance “on-demand”, the reality is that it makes managing your policy more work, and can result in unintended consequences — like higher rates and a suspended registration.
Easy to use interface
Multiple payment options, including micropayments
On-demand insurance only offered in two states, CA and IL
No comprehensive/collision coverage
Surprise rate increases if you turn off your policy
Hugo insurance has over 9,000 Trustpilot reviews and an impressively high 4.8 rating. 90% of their ratings are 5-star, and 7% of ratings are 4-star. Overall, customer satisfaction appears to be high with people praising Hugo’s micropayment options and instant proof of insurance.
A review of Hugo's one to three-star ratings shows that dissatisfied customers complain about rates being higher than other carriers for liability coverage, notices from their state DMV showing their insurance is inactive, and difficulty contacting customer service. Trustpilot also points out that Hugo Insurance replies to 97% of negative reviews on their site and usually within less than 24 hours.
JenAndy, July 2023
I was incredibly stressed over the cost of insurance and recently going a period of time uninsured due to cost. While this is a slightly more expensive option for the long run, Hugo saved my sanity! It's easy and convenient. Much cheaper upfront than traditional insurance.
Patience, July 2023
Loved no deposit and instant proof of insurance. This is still cheaper than other insurances upfront and a little more long run. More money saved in my pocket
Tricia, June 2023
Taking one star because I went from one price and added 3$ but wouldn’t tell me why. And also because it’s written out weekly so it seems like you’re saving money but really it’s around 70-80$ more than my cheapest one! But I got it because you can pay small amounts and no down payment which is what I couldn’t afford just yet. So thank you Hugo!
Ellen, May 2023
I liked being able to pay per day and toggling off and on coverage when needed. I did not like that they were so expensive for me to get liability, even being an unheard of company. I was paying $215 a month through State Farm but accidentally let my policy coverage lapse too long and they more than doubled the price to get another policy. You're almost as much as they are for FULL coverage.
Martins, May 2023
Late reminder about extra payment when insurance turned off. That wasn’t the info before signing up, it says turn off anytime with no extra charge when you turn it back on !!!
Navigating Hugo Insurance's website for live support can be tricky because they focus on directing you to your online account and chat support. If you need help from Hugo immediately, or want to cancel your policy you can contact them via —
If you need to cancel your Hugo Insurance policy, you'll need to complete the following steps.
Hugo insurance is a legitimate car insurance company that provides real policies, but it's not for everyone. Hugo describes itself as an affordable alternative for drivers who need flexibility in their budget, such as drivers who only use their car every few days or need smaller payment over shorter pay periods. If you live in a state where Hugo insurance is offered, you need a lower liability-only policy quickly, and you’d benefit from micropayments — Hugo Insurance can be a unique solution to your problems.
Hugo insurance is not, however, for drivers who need comprehensive and collision coverage unless they also live in Illinois. Hugo Insurance is also not for drivers who don’t want to manage their insurance constantly. While it’s possible to pre-pay for longer periods of insurance at a time, using Hugo makes managing your insurance and insurance payments a regular task — particularly if you’re trying to take advantage of pricing and turning your coverage on and off. We also don’t recommend Hugo for drivers who have high net worth, as it offers lower liability coverages, which can put your assets at risk if you’re in a crash with injuries.
Hugo Insurance is a legitimate insurance company that offers auto insurance in 13 states, with innovative payment plans and same-day insurance coverage.
Hugo Insurance might be the cheapest option for you, particularly if you only need liability coverage and want to pay a lower up front cost. Some Hugo customers report that Hugo is not their cheapest option long-term, but it provides cheaper payment options as customers can pay as few as three days a time instead of a monthly payment.
If you need immediate coverage, don't need comprehensive and collision coverage, and want micropayments for your policy — Hugo Insurance could be worth it for you. Hugo Insurance isn't worth if you're interested in turning your coverage on and off, and don't live in a state where Flex plans are offered. Using Hugo's On/Off feature when you're on a Basic Unlimited plan can lead to increased rates, fees, and even a canceled registration if you're not carefully managing your policy. Hugo insurance also might be more expensive for you than other car insurance companies. We recommend comparing prices from multiple companies before buying and making sure Hugo offers the right insurance policy for your needs.
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