Auto-Owners Insurance Review

Auto-Owners Insurance Review

Auto-Owners Insurance is a great option for people who want affordable insurance from a dependable organization with a few modern perks.
Auto-Owners

Editor's Rating

Auto-Owners focuses on providing low rates and personalized customer service. Insurance from Auto-Owners is exclusively available through independent agents, and it can't be purchased from the company directly. However, the company still has a few modern advantages, such as a smartphone-based driver safety rating program that can lead to significant discounts for the safest drivers.

Good for
  • People who value a one-on-one relationship with an agent
  • Drivers who can save money with the TrueRide safe-driving app
Bad for
  • People who live outside of Auto-Owners' coverage areas
  • Customers who want to buy and manage their insurance coverage online

Auto-Owners Insurance: Our thoughts

In many respects, Auto-Owners Insurance is an old-fashioned company. The only way to purchase insurance from it is through an independent agent who lives and works in your area, and most of the interaction you have with the company will be through that agent, not online.

For those who prefer a close relationship with an insurance agent, this works out to be a strong plus: If you ever have questions about your policy or need to make a claim, the person on the other end of the line will know your name and the exact details of your policy. And this structure works out to mean highly rated customer service. The company routinely tops the rankings for claims service and customer interaction.

Additionally, rates from Auto-Owners are very competitive. A common concern people have when working with an insurance agent is the possibility of high premiums, since there is a middleman you have to pay. But Auto-Owners' rates compared well with other auto insurance companies, so this shouldn't be an issue for potential customers.

The biggest downside to Auto-Owners is that it's not available nationwide: The company currently operates in just 26 states, despite having been founded over a century ago in Lansing, Mich. So you'll only be able to buy insurance from the company if you live in one of the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

However, for customers eligible to buy coverage, Auto-Owners has another strong benefit worth noting: its extreme dependability. The company consistently receives the best possible financial ratings, indicating a high level of fiscal responsibility and suggesting it will be around to insure its customers for a long time to come.

Though Auto-Owners matches many of the most popular discounts and coverage options, it does not offer many unique choices. If you have special coverage needs or might be able to find a great discount elsewhere — like if you're in the military and can purchase from USAA — it may be worth it to shop around before committing to Auto-Owners Insurance.

Bottom line: Auto-Owners car insurance is a great choice for customers who want great rates and exceptional customer service and don't feel the need to do everything online.

Auto-Owners customer service

A standout benefit of choosing Auto-Owners for your car insurance is having a one-on-one relationship with a local independent agent, who is intimately familiar with the laws and insurance requirements in your area. While your experience with a particular independent insurance agent can vary, Auto-Owners' customer service routinely gets high marks from its customers. You should feel reasonably confident you'll get gracious treatment when working with Auto-Owners.

Auto-Owners also offers most of the standard customer service options that are available from major insurers, including online billing and account access, a mobile app and 24-hour roadside assistance.

However, customers who prefer to minimize how often they have to speak to a person to manage their car insurance may want to consider other carriers first. Many major policy-related actions, such as making a claim, changing your policy or canceling your insurance altogether can't be done online; you have to do them through your agent. (If your claim is an emergency and your agent is unavailable, you can reach out to Auto-Owners directly via the 24-hour hotline.)

Coverages and features

Auto-Owners Insurance provides all the standard and optional coverages you'd expect from an insurer, like liability, comprehensive and rental car coverage. It also offers a bundle of several additional coverages, called the Personal Automobile Plus Package, for a single price. The package includes a variety of perks and extra coverages that you might not find elsewhere. Keep in mind, though, that you can't purchase these extra coverages individually. It includes coverage for:

  • Lost or damaged cell phones
  • Expenses resulting from identity theft
  • Personal property stolen from your car
  • Damaged or stolen audio and video equipment
  • Trip interruption when your vehicle is disabled
  • Transportation expenses after your vehicle is stolen
  • Expenses and bail bonds resulting from a traffic violation
  • Additional transportation costs
  • Damage to non-owned trailers
  • Lock rekeying
  • Waived or reduced deductibles in certain situations
  • Rental automobile gap coverage

Additionally, Auto-Owners provides standard collision and comprehensive coverages, but there are a few extra benefits when compared with other companies' coverages. These benefits include:

Collision coverage advantage: If you're in an accident with another Auto-Owners customer, the company will waive your collision deductible. And damage caused by colliding an animal will either be covered by collision or comprehensive coverage, whichever benefits the policyholder more..

Common loss deductible: If your home and car are damaged in the same incident — and both are covered by Auto-Owners — the insurance company will lower your deductible. If your auto deductible is lower than your personal property deductible, you won't have to pay your auto deductible. If your auto deductible is higher than your personal property deductible, Auto-Owners will subtract the cost of your personal property deductible from your auto deductible, so you only pay the remainder.

Rental car insurance: If you get into an accident while driving a rental car, your coverage limits for your own car apply. Auto-Owners will also cover any charges or fees from the rental company.

Other available coverages from Auto-Owners include:

Coverage
How it works
LiabilityPays for damage to the other driver's car and their medical expenses when you are at fault in a collision.
Uninsured/underinsured motoristPays for damage to your own car and medical bills if the other driver in a collision doesn't have sufficient insurance.
Roadside assistanceCovers you whenever you have a problem with your car while driving, which could include providing a tow or extra gas or fixing a flat tire.
Medical payments/PIPCovers your medical expenses in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Additional expenseCovers the cost of a rental car or other incidentals if your car is damaged in an accident, up to a certain dollar amount.
Lease/loan gapPays the difference between the replacement cost and how much you owe on your lease or loan.
Diminished valuePays you for the decreased value of your car after it's in an accident, even after repairs are made.
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Discounts

Auto-Owners Insurance offers a standard assortment of discounts to its customers, mostly related to bundling multiple policies, paying your bill early or on time, and practicing safe driving habits. All of its discounts are fairly typical for car insurance companies, but Auto-Owners' already-low rates mean that your monthly premium could go from good to excellent.

Multi-policy discounts: Auto-Owners customers can expect to save on their insurance if they purchase additional policies from the company, including life and home insurance. The company also offers discounts for insuring multiple vehicles on the same auto policy.

Multi-car discounts: If you insure two or more cars on your policy, you could receive a discount.

Favorable loss history: Drivers with a favorable loss history could get lower premiums.

Early payments discounts: Auto-Owners rewards drivers who pay their bills early or on time. You can receive a discount for paying your bill on time for 36 consecutive months, as well as for paying your annual premium in advance. Plus, you can save right out of the gate if you request your insurance quote in advance of the policy's effective date.

Safety discounts: Drivers whose cars are equipped with safety features like airbags and car alarms will see a drop in their premiums. So will drivers who opt in to Auto-Owners' TrueRide system, which is a usage-based program that monitors driving habits via a smartphone app. (TrueRide is only available in Ohio and invited drivers in certain states.)

Green discount: Customers who opt for paperless billing and pay their bills online can get a discount on their premiums.

Discounts for teen drivers: Households with teen drivers can reduce their premiums by taking advantage of Auto-Owners' good student discount or by installing a GPS monitor in a car primarily driven by a teenager. You'll also qualify for a reduction if your teen driver is at school more than 100 miles from home and does not have a car.

Quote comparison

Auto-Owners wasn't the cheapest insurer in our study, but it offered rates that are significantly lower than average. Our sample driver with a clean record paid 20% less than average, while our sample driver with one accident on his record paid 29% less than average. That's $370 and $772 per year back in drivers' pockets, respectively.

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Auto-Owners also didn't raise rates too sharply after an at-fault accident. Rates jumped from $1,441 per year to $1,851 per year, a $403 increase. To put that in perspective, rates from Allstate, the most expensive insurer in our study, increased by $1,791.

Insurer
No accident
One accident
% increase after accident

State Farm
$1,175$1,44723%

Auto-Owners
$1,441$1,85128%
Progressive$2,048$2,82438%
Allstate$2,579$4,37069%
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Auto-Owners reviews and ratings

Auto-Owners Insurance has widely praised customer service. This comes as no surprise given the company's emphasis on fostering close relationships between their independent agents and customers. J.D. Power rated Auto-Owners as third nationwide in claims satisfaction. More specifically, the company came in first place in the Central region for J.D. Power's region-specific overall satisfaction rankings.

Auto-Owners also receives fewer complaints than competing insurance companies. It has a very low NAIC complaint score of just 0.64. This means that it received far fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size; the industry median score is 1.0.

Auto-Owners' financial stability is also excellent. Its subsidiaries have received a high Financial Strength Rating from A.M. Best's review: Auto-Owners Insurance Company received an A++, the highest possible rating, and Auto-Owners Specialty Insurance Company received an A-. These ratings mean Auto-Owners has a very strong ability to meet the financial demands of paying out claims made by its customers.

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Methodology

ValuePenguin gathered hundreds of quotes across ZIP codes in Indiana. Our sample drivers were both 30-year-old men who drive a 2015 Honda Civic EX. One has an accident on his record; the other has a clean record. We gave them the following coverage limits on a full coverage policy:

Coverage type
Coverage limits
Bodily liability$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Personal injury protection$10,000
Property damage$25,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Comprehensive and collision$500 deductible
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Quote data was sourced from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and are intended for comparative purposes only; your own rates could differ.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.