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Auto-Owners Insurance Review 2019: Complaints, Ratings and Coverage

Aug. 21, 2019
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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  • Has fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators for life, home and auto insurance.
  • Has lots of policy and coverage options.
  • Ranked No. 2 in our analysis of the best auto insurance companies.

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.

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Auto-Owners insurance review details

Auto insurance rating

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Auto-Owners ranked No. 2 out of 24 insurers in NerdWallet’s ranking of the best car insurance companies, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s rating is a score based on recent:

  • J.D. Power ratings for customer service, claims satisfaction and shopping satisfaction.
  • Consumer Reports customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Consumer complaints against the insurer, based on data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Auto-Owners car insurance coverage options

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.

A common loss deductible can be helpful 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.

The 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.

Auto insurance 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.

Auto-Owners homeowner insurance coverage options

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 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.

Homeowners insurance discounts from Auto-Owners include:

  • Multipolicy discount.
  • Life insurance premium multipolicy discount.
  • Discount for 36 months of on-time premium payments.
  • Discount if you pay your annual premium in full, on time.
  • Paperless and online payments discount.
  • 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.

Life insurance options from Auto-Owners

You can get term, whole and universal 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.

Auto-Owners at a glance

FINANCIAL STRENGTH: A++ (“SUPERIOR”)

Auto-Owners’ financial strength is “superior,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best. An insurer’s financial strength indicates how well it can pay claims.

COMPLAINTS

Auto-Owners had far fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators in 2018 relative to its size for life, home and auto insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

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

Recent J.D. Power studyAuto-Owners ranks...
Insurance shopping (auto)Better than most
Auto insurance claims satisfactionBetter than most
Home insuranceAbout average
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, view documents and summon roadside assistance.

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.

You can get the following insurance types from Auto-Owners:

Condo, farm and mobile home ATV & off-road vehicleBusiness & commercial auto
Renters MotorcycleMotor home & RV
LandlordTrailerPet (third party)
UmbrellaFloodBoat
Disability incomeLong-term careAnnuities

Recap: Auto-Owners pros and cons

ProsCons
Customer satisfaction is highNot available in all states
Complaints are low
Lots of coverage options and discounts

NerdWallet’s star ratings are based on the following three factors, each weighted equally to produce a 300-point maximum total score:

  • 2018 consumer complaints data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for private passenger auto insurance. The median complaint ratio for the industry is 1. Lower ratios are better. Insurers whose median complaint ratios were more than 1 received fewer points; those lower than 1 received more points.
  • 2017 company satisfaction data from Consumer Reports’ most recent car insurance survey. Higher satisfaction ratings from Consumer Reports were given higher scores in our calculation.
  • 2018 J.D. Power ratings from three studies encompassing regional customer service satisfaction, auto claims satisfaction and shopping satisfaction. Ratings from each of the separate 2018 studies were averaged to form one overall score from J.D. Power. The higher the average, the more points the insurer scored in our calculation.

Only larger insurers with data available in all three of these categories were included. Smaller insurers not listed here may also be good choices and are worth consideration.

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