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Safeco Auto Insurance Review 2021

Safeco auto policies offer some unique features, such as first aid reimbursement and accident forgiveness.
May 26, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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  • Safeco’s customer satisfaction ratings are below average for auto insurance claims.
  • Received fewer than the expected number of customer complaints, relative to its size, for auto insurance.
  • Offers ridesharing insurance in multiple states.

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

Safeco pros and cons

ProsCons
Fewer than the expected number of customer complaints for auto insuranceCustomer satisfaction ratings are below average for auto insurance shopping
Offers accident forgiveness and generous first aid reimbursement
Many options to customize auto policies’ coverage

Safeco auto insurance

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Safeco auto insurance earned 4 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.

» MORE: Car insurance quotes: What you need to know

Common types of car insurance coverage

When you’re shopping for car insurance, it’s important to understand what car insurance coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. Most states require car insurance to drive a vehicle, although minimum coverage requirements vary from state to state. This generally includes liability insurance and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

If you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Full coverage isn’t a specific policy you can buy, but rather a combination of coverage types like liability, collision and comprehensive insurance.

Check out the most common types of car insurance coverage below to see how they work:

Coverage typeWhat it pays forRequired?
Bodily injury and property damage liabilityCosts for injuries, deaths or property damage from an accident you caused.Typically required.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverageMedical and property damage costs after an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance or none at all.Often required.
Collision coverageRepair expenses from traffic-related accidents, regardless of who's at fault.A car loan or lease may require it.
Comprehensive coverageRepair costs from events outside of your control — including weather events, hitting an animal while driving, theft and vandalism.A car loan or lease may require it.

While Safeco policies include these standard types of coverage, the company also offers these unusual features that set it apart from most insurers:

  • First aid reimbursement up to $10,000 for first aid administered after an accident.
  • 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 or five years.

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. Safeco can cover the gap for less than $10 per month for most drivers in states where this coverage is available.
  • 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. Typically, this is covered by renters or homeowners insurance if you have it.
  • 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.
  • CD and DVD replacement pays out when your audio-visual media such as DVDs, CDs and videotapes are damaged or stolen.
  • 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 pays for veterinary expenses or a death benefit if your cat or dog is injured or dies in a collision.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Safeco’s auto insurance discounts:

  • Multi-policy (bundling) discount.
  • Safe driver discount.
  • Accident prevention course discount.
  • Discount for using Teen Safety Rewards, a collection of tools created to help your teen drive safely.
  • Multi-car discount.
  • Discount for driving few annual miles.
  • Discount for adding an anti-theft device to your vehicle.
  • Anti-lock brakes discount.
  • Discount for owning your own home.

The RightTrack program: In some states, you can get a discount for allowing Safeco to monitor your driving for a 90-day period through either an app or a plug-in device. The program tracks behaviors such as hard braking, nighttime driving and total miles driven. A discount is guaranteed just for completing the program, and safe drivers can save up to 30%.

» MORE: Where to get rideshare insurance and what it covers

Auto insurance buying guide

Before you compare car insurance companies, you’ll need to collect basic information, such as the driving history of everyone on the policy and facts about your car, including safety features and annual mileage driven. You’ll also want to understand which types of coverage you need. For example, do you want only the bare minimum insurance that your state requires, or do you need more extensive coverage, such as gap insurance or rideshare coverage? Check that each company you’re considering has the options you want.

When comparing rates among insurers, make sure each is offering the same coverage limits and deductibles. You may not want to decide based on price alone. Look at how many consumer complaints each company has, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service you might receive.

Depending on which company you choose, you may be able to buy insurance online, over the phone or through an agent. For more guidance, see how to get car insurance.

Safeco homeowners insurance

Safeco offers standard homeowners insurance coverage, along with additional options. To learn more, read our Safeco home insurance review.

Safeco complaints and customer satisfaction

Safeco had fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for auto insurance relative to its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Safeco ranked below average for auto insurance according to J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction studies.

2020 J.D. Power StudySafeco ranks...
Auto insurance shoppingBelow average
Auto insurance claims satisfactionBelow average

More about Safeco

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

Mobile app: Safeco’s app lets you log in and manage your policy, pay bills, check the status of a claim and more.

Alexa: Use Alexa’s “insurance advisor” skill from Safeco to test your risk knowledge, find an insurance agent and learn more about insurance coverage.

Other insurance products available from Safeco
Motorcycle insuranceUmbrella insurance
Renters insuranceLandlord protection insurance
Condo insuranceRV insurance
Boat and watercraft insuranceClassic car insurance
ATV insuranceSnowmobile insurance
Golf cart insurance

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 and discounts. Our “ease of use” category looks at factors such as website transparency and how easy it is to file a claim. 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 2018-2020. 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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