Safeco Auto Insurance Review

Safeco Auto Insurance Review

Editor's Rating

Average to high rates for certain drivers, but beware of the lackluster customer service

Good for

  • Young drivers looking for a low cost insurer
  • Anyone who drives less than 8,000 miles per year or uses mass transit more than their vehicle
  • People who want discounts based on their driving habits

Bad for

  • Anyone who wants the ability to make online claims
  • Someone who values great customer service
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Editor's Rating

Average to high rates for certain drivers, but beware of the lackluster customer service

Good for

  • Young drivers looking for a low cost insurer
  • Anyone who drives less than 8,000 miles per year or uses mass transit more than their vehicle
  • People who want discounts based on their driving habits

Bad for

  • Anyone who wants the ability to make online claims
  • Someone who values great customer service
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Safeco is not the most affordable auto insurer, but it does offer a variety of unique discounts and services that could make it a good choice for your auto insurance. There are certain driver segments that Safeco performs well for, specifically drivers over 40. That said, if you value customer service highly, Safeco might not be the best fit for your needs.

Consider the following companies as alternatives to Safeway

Best for most drivers

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Best for affordability

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Best for full coverage

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Safeco provides good insurance value for older drivers

Safeco has insurance rates that are higher than other national insurers, and offers below-average customer claim service. Due to this, we believe there are alternative insurance companies providing better value than Safeco. That said, we found that Safeco offers low rates for older drivers when compared to other national insurers. For younger drivers, Safeco’s quotes were substantially more expensive than what other insurers offered. We outline how Safeco stacks up against other insurers for different driver profiles below:

ProfileSafecoProgressiveFarmersAllstate
18 Year Old Male$9,806$7,576$8,042$6,670
42 Year Old Married Couple$3,550$2,450$4,008$3,786
81 Year Old Female$2,040$2,540$2,032$3,786
Family w/ 17 Year Old Son$8,686$5,068$6,520$5,516

Safeco coverage options and discounts

Safeco offers its customers all of the standard car insurance coverage options, along with access to unique services, such as auto glass repair and replacement, a claims valet service, and the Safeco RightTrack program.

Glass repair and replacement: If your car’s glass is damaged, you can get it repaired for free or replaced (for your policy’s deductible) at the shop of your choice, as well as at your home, if you wish.

Safeco claims valet service: If your vehicle is involved in an accident and is still operational, a Safeco valet driver can deliver a rental vehicle, drive your car to an authorized repair shop, and return your repaired car, all at no cost.

Safeco RightTrack: RighTrack is a telematics program that tracks your driving, and everyone that takes part qualifies for a discount between 5% to 30%. When you enroll in the program Safeco will ship you a device that you attach to your vehicle to track your driving habits.

The RightTrack program is available to most Safeco customers that have a valid email address and a car that was manufactured after 1996. Participants can enroll more than one vehicle in the program. Residents of most states are eligible to participate with the following exceptions:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Jersey

Roadside assistance: Basic roadside assistance services available include towing, tire changes, battery service, fuel and fluids replenishment, and car unlocking.

Other unique features: All Safeco policyholders receive reimbursement for first aid up to $10,000, accident forgiveness, and a diminishing deductible that is reduced by $100 each time the policy is renewed for a maximum of $500 or five years.

Discounts offered by Safeco

One of the most valuable discounts Safeco offers is a low mileage discount. Policyholders that drive less than 8,000 miles per year or those that use mass transit more than their car are eligible to save up to 20% on their auto insurance policy.

Safeco also offers standard discounts that you would expect from a large auto insurance company. Below we list the ways policyholders can reduce their Safeco insurance cost:

  • Bundling multiple insurance policies
  • Having a clean driving record
  • Taking an accident prevention course
  • Insuring multiple cars with Safeco
  • Equipping your vehicle with an anti-theft device
  • Owning a car with anti-lock brakes

Safeco insurance quotes comparison

Based on our research, Safeco offers affordable coverage for experienced drivers when compared to other major insurance companies. In fact, Safeco offered an insurance quote to experienced drivers that was 22% more affordable than the average of the four insurers in our study.

However, we found that while most auto insurers assign high premiums to young drivers, Safeco’s rates are higher than even those offered by its competitors. In other words, Safeco is exceptionally expensive for young drivers. Middle-aged married couples can expect Safeco to offer middle-of-the-road insurance premiums.

How Does Safeco Compare Against Other Insurers?
How Does Safeco Compare Against Other Insurers?

Beyond just experienced drivers, Safeco could be a good insurance provider for someone who’s been in an accident in the past due to the multiple discounts it makes available to drivers. For instance, the RightTrack program guarantees a discount of at least 5% when you sign-up. Not many insurers offer automatic savings programs like this one.

Customer reviews and complaints

Customer reviews of Safeco Auto Insurance by its policyholders rate Safeco as a below average company. In fact, Safeco came in last among the 24 auto insurance companies profiled in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. The survey encapsulates several rating factors including the experience of reporting a claim, claim servicing, the appraisal process, repairs process, etc.

Filing an auto insurance claim with Safeco

If you need to file an auto insurance claim with Safeco, you can do so by calling 1-800-332-3226. You can track your existing claims online through your Safeco account. If you need roadside assistance then you can call 1-877-762-3101. Below is some helpful information to have on-hand when calling to report your claim:

  • Time and place of the accident
  • Details about other vehicles involved
  • A description of the damage incurred to your vehicle
  • Contact information for everyone involved and any witnesses
  • Any injuries incurred to either party
  • Police report number and the name of the responding police department (if any)

Safeco benefits from having independent agents across the entire country. Part of the reason why Safeco has such a national presence is that it became a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual in 2008. Thus, Safeco is able to reap the benefits of Liberty Mutual’s large network of independent agents to reach and be available to more people.

Safeco Complaints and Financial Strength Ratings

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) awards Safeco a complaint rating of 1.11. For comparison, the national median complaint rating is 1.00. When you consider that J.D. Power’s findings indicate that Safeco doesn’t have the best customer service, specifically for customers filing a claim, it's clear that Safeco has customer service issues.

However, though Safeco isn’t the most prominent name in auto insurance, its parent company, Liberty Mutual Insurance, has strong financial strength ratings. Policyholders should have limited reservations about Safeco’s ability to pay out their claims. Liberty Mutual insurance is rated ‘A’ by A.M. Best Rating Services, which is a signal of excellent health.

Methodology

Our rating for Safeco was calculated through our assessment of the insurance company’s affordability, claims handling, coverage, shopping experience and discounts. Affordability and claims handling represent 30% of the rating, coverage represents 20%, and shopping and discounts represent 10%, for a total of 100%.

Sources:

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction
Safeco Website

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.