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State Auto Insurance Review 2021

State Auto sells insurance packages with many perks and extras in 28 states, but has a high number of complaints for auto insurance.
Sept. 3, 2021
Auto Insurance, Insurance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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State Auto reviews and ratings

  • Sells policies in 28 states.
  • Has more complaints than expected for auto insurance.
  • Quotes are provided by independent agents, not online.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, State Auto Insurance offers auto, home and various other insurance policies in 28 states. Quotes are not available online, and policies are sold through independent agents only.

Liberty Mutual is expected to acquire State Auto in 2022.

State Auto pros and cons

ProsCons
Offers numerous discounts.Not available in all states.
Few complaints for home insurance.Has more auto insurance complaints than companies of a similar size.
Some coverage is available only through insurance packages.

State Auto car insurance

3.5 NerdWallet rating

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.

State Auto offers the usual car insurance coverage such as liability insurance, as well as additional extras available only through one of its packages below.

Protection Plus includes the ability to add safety glass coverage, which pays for glass damage if it wasn’t caused by a collision.

The AutoXtended coverage endorsement is also part of this package, and includes:

  • Bail bonds coverage for bonds related to an accident that caused an injury or property damage.
  • Accident forgiveness and minor violation coverage, which may prevent you from getting a surcharge after your first accident or minor violation if you’ve had no traffic incidents for three years.
  • Customized equipment coverage, which pays for damage to equipment that wasn’t installed at the factory or dealership, such as a custom engine or new stereo system.
  • Death indemnity, which pays a set amount if the policyholder dies in a car accident.
  • Total disability, which covers lost wages if you’re disabled as a result of an accident.
  • Attorney fees coverage, which pays for your lawyer fees if you’re arrested for causing an injury in an accident.
  • Rented vehicle coverage, which covers the cost of a car rental, including any repairs if you damage the rented vehicle, with no dollar limit.
  • Cell phone coverage, which pays to replace or repair your phone if it’s damaged in a car accident, up to $500.
  • GPS coverage, which pays for repairs or a replacement if your GPS is damaged.
  • Emergency ambulance coverage, which covers up to $10,000 for emergency transportation after an accident.
  • Locksmith services or key replacement, which pays up to $250 if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • Pet coverage, which pays up to $500 if your animal dies or is injured in a car accident while in a vehicle you’ve insured with State Auto.
  • Waiving of deductible for certain types of claims.

AutoXtended Premier includes higher coverage amounts for some of these options. For instance, emergency ambulance coverage has a $25,000 limit, and cell phone coverage is increased to $1,000.

State Auto also offers additional auto insurance options like:

Rideshare insurance. Uber and Lyft will cover you while you’re carrying passengers or on the way to pick them up, but not while you’re waiting for ride requests. Rideshare coverage fills the gap.

Auto replacement cost. If your car is declared a total loss when it’s two years old or less, State Auto will pay to replace your vehicle.

Total loss plus. If your car is more than two years old when it’s totaled, State Auto will either pay to replace it with a model one year newer or give you 120% of your car’s value at the time of the crash, whichever is less.

State Auto’s car insurance discounts

Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for discounts for:

  • Insuring more than one vehicle.
  • Having State Auto home or umbrella insurance in addition to auto coverage.
  • Having anti-theft devices.
  • Paying your full premium upfront.
  • Taking a driver education class if you’re 21 or younger. South Carolina drivers are eligible up to age 25.
  • Having good grades or leaving the car at home while attending school.
  • Completing an accident prevention course if you are 21 or over.
  • Switching to State Auto car insurance if you’ve been with another carrier for at least six months, in most cases.

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Pricing based on tracked driving habits

State Auto Safety 360°: When you sign up for the Safety 360° program, State Auto will use an app and a tag placed on your windshield to track driving habits like acceleration, braking and miles driven.

You receive a 10% discount for joining the program, and up to 50% based on your driving behavior. In some states, your rates may increase if you’re deemed an unsafe driver.

» MORE: Pay-per-mile car insurance: What you need to know

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.

State Auto homeowners insurance

You can customize your homeowners policy with numerous add-ons, but below are the types of coverage that generally come standard:

Type of coverageWhat it does
DwellingPays to repair or rebuild the structure of your home.
Other structuresCovers damage to unattached structures such as a shed or fence.
Personal propertyPays to repair or replace personal belongings such as furniture or clothing.
Additional living expensesPays for hotel stays, restaurant meals or other expenses if you have to live elsewhere while your home undergoes covered repairs.
LiabilityCovers legal expenses and damages if you're responsible for injuries to other people or their property.
Medical paymentsCovers injuries to guests in your home, regardless of fault.

For more details, see Homeowners Insurance: What It Is and What It Covers.

State Auto also offers packages based on the amount of coverage you want:

Standard may include:

  • ID fraud expense services if you’re the victim of identity theft.
  • Replacement cost value, which pays for brand-new replacements for damaged or stolen items, instead of their depreciated value.

Protection Plus includes:

  • Lock replacement coverage, which pays to change your locks if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • Freezer contents, which pays up to $1,000 for freezer or refrigerator contents lost due to a power outage or breakdown.
  • Golf cart rentals coverage, which pays for damage or injuries resulting from a golf cart rental.

The HomeXtended endorsement, an optional add-on that’s available only through State Auto’s home insurance packages, includes extra coverage for your home and belongings such as

  • Cell phone and GPS coverage, which pays to replace or repair your items, up to $500 each.
  • Computer personal records, which pays to replace or restore lost information.
  • ID fraud expense, which provides up to $10,000 of identity theft recovery services.
  • Fire extinguisher coverage, which pays to replace or recharge your fire extinguisher.
  • False alarm coverage, which pays out if the police or fire department responds to a false alarm.
  • Personal property business use, which covers up to $5,000 of equipment — like tools, computers or printers — if used in your home for business purposes.
  • Mortgage and related extra expense, which helps pay for appraisal and application fees when you get a new mortgage.

Premier includes everything under the Protection Plus package in addition to:

  • Extra coverage for valuable items like jewelry and fine art.
  • Volunteer wrongful acts, which pays for costs associated with errors or negligence as a volunteer.
  • The HomeXtended endorsement.

Coverage in State Auto’s packages is also available individually unless otherwise noted.

The insurer offers additional optional coverage such as:

Blanket personal property, which has one limit for everything in a certain category, like jewelry.

Earthquake coverage, which pays for damage from an earthquake.

Home-sharing, which provides coverage for damage when you rent out your home through a home-sharing network like Airbnb.

Home systems protection, which pays to repair or replace electric equipment as well as property damage due to the breakdown.

Identity fraud expense, which pays out if you’re a victim of identity theft.

Ordinance or law, which pays additional costs associated with updating your home to current building codes during covered repairs.

Personal injury, which extends your liability coverage to include things like libel, slander or false arrest.

Scheduled personal property, which provides extra coverage for high-value items such as jewelry. An appraisal may be required.

Service line, which covers repairs or replacement costs for damaged pipes or wires.

Water backup, which pays for damage caused by water overflowing from drains or sewers.

State Auto’s home insurance discounts

Depending on where you live, you may get a discount for:

  • Having protective devices like burglar or fire alarms.
  • Owning a fortified home that protects against hurricanes, hail and other severe weather.
  • Your roof construction, based on material and age.
  • Switching to State Auto home insurance if you’ve been with your previous carrier for at least three years.
  • Owning a newly constructed home.
  • Getting a home insurance quote at least eight days before your policy renews.
  • Having State Auto umbrella or auto insurance in addition to home insurance.

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

State Auto complaints

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

More about State Auto

Website: State Auto’s website lets you submit and track claims and make payments online. However, you’ll need to contact an agent to change your policy, update contact information or get new ID cards.

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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