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Auto-Owners Insurance Review 2020

Jan. 3, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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  • Has fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for life, home and auto insurance.
  • Has lots of policy and coverage options.
  • Available in 26 states throughout the country.

Auto-Owners Insurance Company serves a lot more than just owners of automobiles. The company offers over a dozen types of insurance through independent agents in 26 states. People who need several insurance policies may benefit from the convenience and discounts of bundling them with Auto-Owners, which has many coverage options.

Auto-Owners auto insurance

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Auto-Owners auto insurance earned 4.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account pricing and discounts, ease of filing a claim, website transparency, financial strength, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and more.

Based on these ratings, Auto-Owners is among NerdWallet’s Best Car Insurance Companies for 2020.

Auto-Owners offers all the usual coverages, including liability, other state-required coverage types, roadside assistance and comprehensive and collision. The company also offers several add-on coverages and options:

  • Gap coverage can come in handy if you have a loan or lease balance and your car is totaled or stolen. Comprehensive and collision coverages pay out only up to the value of your car, which might be less than you owe on a loan or lease. Gap insurance pays the difference if you buy it.
  • Diminished value coverage is similar to gap insurance, but for less extreme situations. If your car is damaged (rather than stolen or totaled), this add-on will compensate you for the reduced value of your car.
  • Additional expenses insurance goes further than traditional rental car coverage. In addition to paying for a rental car if your car is in the shop for a covered claim, this optional coverage also pays for food, lodging and other incidentals if you’re stranded.
  • The Personal Automobile Plus package has more than 10 perks and coverages, including identity theft coverage, cell phone insurance and coverage for replacing lost or stolen keys.

Auto-Owners also includes a few benefits in its auto policies that other major insurers don’t.

Common loss deductible. If you have your home insurance through Auto-Owners in addition to an auto policy with comprehensive coverage. If you need to make a claim to both policies for the same event — such as a bad storm or a tree falling on both your house and car — the company will reduce your auto deductible by the amount of your property deductible. If your homeowners deductible is higher, the company will waive your auto deductible.

Collision coverage advantage from Auto-Owners has two parts. First, if you’re in a collision with another customer of the company, your collision deductibles will be waived. Second, if you’re in a collision with an animal, Auto-Owners will either pay from your collision or comprehensive coverage — whichever pays you more. With most insurers, animal collisions strictly fall under comprehensive coverage.

Rental car insurance. When you rent a car, your Auto-Owners policy covers as much as it does for your personal car, as well as any fees from the rental company associated with an accident. Many auto policies have lower coverage limits when you rent a car and don’t pay those fees.

Discounts from Auto-Owners include:

  • Multipolicy discount.
  • Life insurance multipolicy premium discount.
  • Discount for a 36-month history of on-time payments.
  • Discount for paying your premium in full, upfront.
  • Paperless and online payments discount.
  • Multicar discount.
  • Discount for safety features like anti-lock brakes and air bags.
  • Discount for having few or favorable (not at-fault) claims.
  • Student discounts for good grades, leaving the car at home while attending school more than 100 miles away and monitoring a teen driver with GPS.

TrueRide from Auto-Owners is a usage-based discount with an app to match, available to Auto-Owners customers in Ohio. You get a discount for signing up, then the app tracks your driving behavior and provides feedback on behaviors such as hard braking, sharp turns and acceleration. You get a driving score with each trip and, if you drive safely, an additional discount when you renew your policy.

» MORE: Car insurance comparison tool 

Auto-Owners homeowners insurance

Auto-Owners offers all the standard homeowners coverages, including protection for your home and other structures like sheds, liability insurance, personal property coverage and additional living expenses coverage. Homeowners insurance policies from Auto-Owners can also be personalized with add-ons:

  • Guaranteed home replacement cost provides full replacement of your home in the event that your coverage limit is too low to pay for replacing it entirely. This can happen if your home has gone up in value and your policy reflects an earlier, lower value.
  • Sewer or drain water backup isn’t covered by a standard policy, but the damage from such a backup can be tremendous. This coverage pays for repairs to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems and is available from Auto-Owners in several limits.
  • Special personal property coverage takes standard homeowners insurance a step further by paying for misplacement, staining or defacing of your property.
  • Ordinance or law coverage pays out to get you up to code when local laws change and affect the costs of repairs, construction or demolition of your home.
  • Equipment breakdown, like the failure of your air conditioner, refrigerator or washing machine, can be costly and isn’t covered by standard policies. This add-on pays out in those situations.
  • Identity theft coverage pays up to $15,000 for expenses related to restoring your financial identity if it’s stolen.
  • The Homeowners Plus package bundles several coverages, including those that pay for damage caused by appliance leaks and better coverage for food spoilage due to power failures.

Auto-Owners home insurance discounts include: 

  • Multipolicy discount.
  • Life insurance premium multipolicy discount.
  • Discount for 36 months of on-time premium payments.
  • Paperless, paid-in-full and online payments discounts.
  • Discount for new applicants who get a quote before day one of the policy.
  • Discount for devices such as smoke detectors, deadbolt locks and fire extinguishers.
  • Discount if you have an approved system that automatically turns off water supply throughout the home when a leak is detected.
  • Automatic backup generator discount.
  • Mortgage-free discount.

» MORE: Home Insurance Quotes: What You Need to Know

Auto-Owners life insurance

You can get term, universal and whole life insurance policies from Auto-Owners Insurance.

For most families, term life insurance is the best mix of price and protection. From Auto-Owners, term life insurance comes in 10-, 20- or 30-year terms and can be extended to age 95.

Consult a financial advisor if you’re considering permanent life insurance.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, not all companies are accepting new life insurance applications. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

» MORE: Compare life insurance quotes

Auto-Owners complaints and customer satisfaction

Auto-Owners had far fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators relative to its size for life, home and auto insurance, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Auto-Owners has some of the best customer satisfaction ratings in the industry.

2019 J.D. Power studyAuto-Owners ranks...
Auto insurance shoppingBetter than most
Auto insurance claims satisfactionAbout average
Home insuranceBetter than most
Property insurance claimsBetter than most

More about Auto-Owners insurance

Website: Auto-Owners has a user-friendly website with information on policy options and discounts. Policyowners can log in to view policy information, select paperless billing, make payments and more.

Mobile app: Android or Apple users can download the Auto-Owners app and customers can use it to track claims, pay bills and view documents and insurance ID cards..

Other insurance types: Auto-Owners can provide other types of insurance than those listed above, sometimes through third parties. While you can still get a discount for bundling, a potential downside is that you have to manage your policies separately, rather than all from one web portal.

Other types of insurance from Auto-Owners include:
Condo insuranceMotorcycle insurance
Renters insuranceBoat insurance
Farm insuranceATV and off-road vehicle insurance
Flood insuranceCommercial auto insurance
Umbrella insuranceMobile home insurance

Recap: Auto-Owners pros and cons

ProsCons
Offers a wide variety of products with the opportunity to bundleOnly available in 26 states
Fewer complaints than other companies for auto, home and life insurance
Had higher customer satisfaction ratings than most companies for home insurance claims

Auto insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Methodology: Insurer complaints

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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