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Safeco Insurance Review 2018: Complaints, Ratings and Coverage

Jan. 4, 2018
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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  • Safeco’s customer satisfaction ratings are average or worse
  • Has close to the median number of customer complaints, relative to its size, for auto insurance
  • Offers ridesharing insurance in 13 states

Safeco Insurance sells personal auto, homeowners and specialty insurance products. Safeco’s parent company, Liberty Mutual Group, is an insurance giant — the sixth-largest auto insurance seller.

Auto insurance rating

Safeco ranked 17th out of 23 insurers in NerdWallet’s ranking of the best car insurance companies, earning 3.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s rating is a score based on:

  • 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

Complaints

Safeco had close to the median number of complaints to state regulators for auto insurance in 2017 relative to its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It had fewer than the median number of complaints for home insurance.

Customer satisfaction

  • Safeco ranked “about average” for overall purchase experience for auto insurance in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Auto Insurance Shopping Study
  • It ranked among “the rest” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study
  • Safeco ranked “about average” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Property Claims Satisfaction Study
  • It ranked “about average” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Home Insurance Study

Financial strength: A (“excellent")

Safeco’s financial strength is “excellent,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best. Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims.


Auto insurance rating

Safeco ranked 17th out of 23 insurers in NerdWallet’s ranking of the best car insurance companies, earning 3.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s rating is a score based on:

  • 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

Complaints

Safeco had close to the median number of complaints to state regulators for auto insurance in 2017 relative to its size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It had fewer than the median number of complaints for home insurance.

Customer satisfaction

  • Safeco ranked “about average” for overall purchase experience for auto insurance in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Auto Insurance Shopping Study
  • It ranked among “the rest” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study
  • Safeco ranked “about average” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Property Claims Satisfaction Study
  • It ranked “about average” for overall satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 Home Insurance Study

Financial strength: A (“excellent")

Safeco’s financial strength is “excellent,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best. Financial strength is important because it indicates how well an insurer can pay claims.

Safeco auto insurance

Safeco policies include these unusual features that set it apart from most insurers:

  • Accident forgiveness: After a certain number of years with no accidents or violations, Safeco won’t raise your rates after your first accident
  • Diminishing deductible: If you don’t make a car insurance claim, Safeco will reduce your collision deductible each year by $100, up to $500

In addition, you can choose from several coverage options if they’re available in your state, including:

  • Rideshare coverage: If you drive for a company like Uber or Lyft, your personal policy is suspended while you use the app. Meanwhile, the ridesharing company’s insurance is limited between rides, or while you’re on the way to pick up customers. Safeco can cover the gap for less than $10 per month for most drivers.
  • New car replacement: If your car is totaled or stolen and is less than one year old, Safeco will pay to replace it with a comparable new car.
  • Personal property coverage pays out if your belongings are damaged in an accident or stolen from your car
  • Emergency assistance package includes roadside assistance and personal property protection, plus up to $100 for expenses and up to $500 for meals, lodging and transportation if you’re in an accident more than 25 miles from home
  • Gap coverage: If your car is totaled or stolen, Safeco pays the difference between how much is left on your loan or lease and the value of your car
  • Electronic key and lock replacement pays to replace lost or stolen electronic keys, remote control pads and locks, with no deductible
  • Custom equipment coverage will protect equipment that was not installed at the factory or dealership, including permanently installed audiovisual equipment, a modified or custom engine, roll bars, custom wheels, murals and decals
  • Pet coverage for veterinary expenses or death benefit if your cat or dog is injured or dies in a collision

» MORE: Where to get ridesharing insurance, what it covers

Safeco home insurance

Safeco offers standard homeowners insurance coverage, and customers can choose to buy additional options such as:

  • Identity recovery: For $1 a month, if you’re the victim of identity theft, this will reimburse you for expenses related to restoring your identity, such as lost wages for time spent handling the problem, up to $25,000.
  • Valuable articles protection: Covers jewelry, fine art, antiques, collectibles and valuable items that you specify, up to an agreed dollar amount. There’s no deductible.
  • Equipment breakdown coverage: Replaces an appliance with an Energy Star-rated appliance of “like kind and quality” if it suffers an unexpected mechanical or electrical breakdown that’s not caused by normal use
  • Personal property replacement cost: Helps to pay for new items to replace your belongings that were damaged, lost or stolen, regardless of their age or condition
  • Single loss deductible: When you insure your home and car with Safeco, you can pay only one deductible if both are damaged in the same event, such as a tree falling on your garage

More about Safeco

Website: Safeco’s site is easy to navigate and lets you log in and track a claim, get a quote, pay your bill, view or download your policy documents and more. If you prefer the personal touch of an agent, you can find one via the Safeco website.

Mobile apps: Safeco offers a free Home Inventory App that helps you create an inventory of your belongings and their value. It also has a standard insurance app that lets you log in and manage your policy, pay bills, initiate a claim and more.

Other insurance from Safeco:

  • Motorcycle insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • Boat insurance
  • RV insurance
  • Umbrella insurance
  • Classic car insurance
  • Landlord protection insurance

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

  • 2017 consumer complaints data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. 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 the Consumer Reports Winter Survey. Higher satisfactions ratings from Consumer Reports were given higher scores in our calculation.
  • 2017 J.D. Power ratings from three studies encompassing regional customer service satisfaction, auto claims satisfaction and shopping satisfaction. Ratings from each of the separate 2017 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.