Safeco Auto Insurance Review 2023

Kayda Norman
By Kayda Norman 

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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Safeco auto policies offer some unique features, such as accident forgiveness.

Safeco Auto Insurance
NAIC complaints
Close to expected
Ease of use
Average
Discounts
Average set of discounts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers accident forgiveness and diminishing deductible.
  • Many options to customize auto policies’ coverage.

Cons

  • Customer satisfaction ratings are below average for auto insurance claims and shopping.
  • Had close to the expected number of customer complaints.

Full Review

Safeco Insurance earned 3.5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

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

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage so you can choose the insurance policy that works best for you. These carrier ratings are specific to auto insurance — a company's rating for other products may be different on our site. See our criteria for evaluating auto insurance companies.

In our auto insurance reviews, our editorial team considers the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Financial strength. We use AM Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. NerdWallet does not recommend companies with a rating lower than a B.

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best auto insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Ease of use. This category looks at how easily consumers can interact with an insurer through its mobile app and website. This includes how much coverage information is offered online, whether a user can start and track a claim online and get a quote, and mobile app scores based on the Apple and Google Play store ratings.

Discounts. We look at the kind of discounts a company offers and the total number of discounts available.

Where Safeco stands out

Coverage options. Safeco offers a multitude of optional coverage types, including some that go above and beyond when compared with other auto insurance companies. For example, Safeco’s emergency assistance package will pay for roadside assistance, plus emergency expenses for meals and lodging. It also includes personal property coverage for items damaged or stolen in your car.

You can also choose Safeco’s better car replacement coverage, which pays out the actual cash value of a car one model year newer than your totaled car.

If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, Safeco offers rideshare coverage to keep you covered while you wait for a ride request.

Where Safeco falls short

Customer satisfaction. Safeco’s customer satisfaction is low when compared with other auto insurance companies. Safeco has close to the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, but it scored low in J.D. Power’s 2022 customer satisfaction studies for auto insurance shopping and claims satisfaction.

Discounts. The company doesn’t offer many discounts compared with other car insurers. You also can’t get a quote online. Instead, you’ll need to find an insurance agent through the company’s agent locator portal who can assist you.

Compare with other insurers

Safeco

Progressive

Geico

Star rating

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

NAIC complaints

Close to the expected number.

Fewer than expected.

Close to the expected number.

Discounts

Average set of discounts.

Great set of discounts.

Great set of discounts.

Ease of use

Average.

Above average.

Average.

Bottom line

Safeco auto policies offer some unique features, such as accident forgiveness, but the insurer falls short in customer service.

Progressive offers a variety of discounts and insurance products to cater to most people, though there’s room for improvement with customer satisfaction.

With nationwide availability and a raft of discounts, Geico is a popular, and often affordable, choice for car insurance.

Read our detailed reviews

Safeco auto insurance coverage

When you're shopping for car insurance coverage, it's important to understand what coverage you want and what you’re required to buy. For instance, most states require a minimum amount of car insurance to drive a vehicle. Alternatively, if you want extra protection, you may be interested in full coverage insurance. Read about the most common types of car insurance coverage to see how they work.

While Safeco policies include these standard types of coverage, the company also offers these features, depending on your state:

  • Accident forgiveness. After a certain number of years with no accidents or violations, Safeco won’t raise your rates after your first accident.

  • Claims-free cash back. You’ll get a check for 2.5% of your premium every six months if you don’t have any at-fault claims.

  • Diminishing deductible. If you don’t make a car insurance claim, Safeco will reduce your collision deductible each year, up to $500 or five years.

  • Collision and comprehensive deductible waiver. Your deductible is waived in accidents in which you’re not at fault.

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’s rideshare coverage closes that gap so you’re covered while you wait for a request.

  • New car replacement. If your car is totaled or stolen and is less than 1 year old with fewer than 15,000 miles, Safeco will pay to replace it with a comparable new car.

  • Better car replacement. This coverage pays for the actual cash value of a car one model year newer if yours is totaled.

  • Original parts replacement. This option pays for new, original factory parts for your car in a collision or comprehensive claim.

  • Rental car reimbursement. This pays for the cost of a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired after a covered accident.

  • Personal property coverage. This coverage pays 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.

  • 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. This pays to replace lost or stolen electronic keys, remote control pads and locks with no deductible.

  • CD and DVD replacement. This option pays out when your audiovisual media such as DVDs, CDs and videotapes are damaged or stolen.

  • Custom equipment coverage. This protects equipment that wasn't 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. This option pays for veterinary expenses or a death benefit if your cat or dog is injured or dies in a collision.

  • Emergency assistance package. This pays for roadside assistance along with meals and lodging during an emergency. It also includes personal property coverage.

Auto insurance discounts

  • Multipolicy (bundling) discount.

  • Safe driver discount.

  • Accident prevention course discount.

  • Discount if your vehicle has safety features.

  • Low mileage discount.

🤓Nerdy Tip

First time shopping for auto insurance? Unsure of where to start? Check out our guide on how to shop for car insurance.

Pricing based on tracked driving habits

In most states, you can get a discount for allowing Safeco to monitor your driving for a 90-day period through the RightTrack app, or if you live in New York, you can do so by installing a plug-in device in your car’s diagnostic port. The program tracks behaviors such as hard braking, acceleration, nighttime driving and total miles driven. A discount is guaranteed for completing the program, and drivers can potentially save more based on driving behavior.

Complaints and customer satisfaction

Safeco had close to the expected number of complaints about auto insurance to state regulators 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 shopping and auto insurance claims satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2022 customer satisfaction studies.

2022 J.D. Power study

Safeco ranking

Auto insurance shopping

No. 10 of 11 companies.

Auto insurance claims satisfaction

No. 15 of 21 companies.

More about Safeco auto insurance

Website: Safeco’s site is easy to navigate and lets you track a claim, pay your bill and view or download policy documents. Though you can’t get a quote online, the Safeco website lets you locate an independent agent near you to help you buy a policy.

Mobile app: Safeco’s app lets you log in and manage your policy, pay bills, check the status of a claim, call for roadside assistance, upload photos of accident damage and more.

Homeowners insurance from Safeco

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

Other insurance from Safeco

Other insurance products available from Safeco:

  • Motorcycle insurance.

  • Umbrella insurance.

  • Landlord protection insurance.

  • Condo insurance.

  • Recreational vehicle, or RV, insurance.

  • Boat and watercraft insurance.

  • Classic car insurance.

  • All-terrain vehicle, or ATV, and off-road vehicle insurance.

  • Golf cart and low-speed vehicle insurance.

  • Pet insurance.

Methodology

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. To assess how insurers compare with 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. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life 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 and full ratings methodology for auto insurance.

Frequently asked questions