Geico, the insurance company, isn't directly publicly traded, so you can't buy Geico stock directly through your broker. But its parent company, called Berkshire Hathway, is publicly traded. It has two classes of stock that you can buy through a brokerage of your choice. Research the options and purchase the stock if you want to do so.
Buying Shares of Stock
For you to buy shares of stock in a company, it generally must be publicly traded, meaning that it's available for anyone to purchase. When you buy stock, you get the right to receive dividends if the company pays them out, and you can make a nice profit if the stock price goes up and you sell it. You can also get the right to vote on certain ownership decisions of the company.
Some companies are privately held, meaning they're only owned by a small group of people or other companies. You generally can't buy stock in these companies unless you are very wealthy and plan to make a sizable investment by arrangement with the company's owners.
Geico is a subsidiary, or division, of a larger company called Berkshire Hathaway. That means you can't buy Geico shares, but you can buy shares in the parent company, effectively investing in Geico and Berkshire Hathaway's other divisions.
Understanding Berkshire Hathaway and Geico
Geico's parent company Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company headed by famed Omaha, Nebraska, investor Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway also owns other well-known companies including See's Candies, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and Duracell and owns stakes in numerous other businesses.
So while there's no Geico or Fruit of the Loom stock ticker to use to buy stock in these companies, you can buy stock in Berkshire Hathaway. The company offers two types, or classes, of stock called Class A and Class B. Class A stock confers more voting rights, but it's also much more expensive, usually selling for well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Class B Berkshire Hathaway stock usually costs a few hundred dollars per share.
If you're thinking about investing in Berkshire Hathaway, research the company. A lot of information is available on the company's website, including annual letters from Buffett about his investment decisions and philosophy. This information can help you decide if the company is, in fact, a good investment for you.
Shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway can also attend the company's annual shareholder meetings, which celebrate the company's brands and are known for a sort of party atmosphere. They're sometimes referred to as "Woodstock for Capitalists" or similar nicknames.
Other Investment Options
In addition to investing indirectly in Geico by buying Berkshire Hathaway shares, you can also buy stock in publicly traded insurance companies or in funds that invest in the insurance industry if you think the sector in general is going to do well. Look up the ticker symbol of an insurance company of your choice and purchase it through your preferred broker, or research funds that track the industry. Some of these funds are exchange-traded funds that you can buy and sell shares in through a brokerage like stock.
As with any investment, make sure to do your due diligence on any investments you're considering. Read prospectuses and other documents online, and study companies and funds through your brokerage and financial news and information sites.
Also remember that you often must pay fees to buy and sell stock, and that funds typically charge management fees to invest in them. Commissions vary from brokerage to brokerage, and fund fees vary from fund to fund, so shop around for a way to make the investments you want at a price you like.
- Berkshire Hathaway: Subsidiary Companies
- Berkshire Hathaway: Comparative Rights and Relative Prices of Berkshire Class A and Class B Stock
- Investopedia: What's the Difference Between Berkshire Hathaway's Class A and Class B Shares?
- Barron's: Warren Buffett’s Annual Berkshire Hathaway Meeting Is Here. What You Need to Know.
- Investopedia: Insurance Industry ETF
- Current Stock Prices