Safeco Auto Insurance Review

Safeco Auto Insurance Review

Safeco boasts affordable rates and unique coverages, but beware of the lackluster customer service.
Safeco

Editor's Rating

Safeco boasts some of the best rates available, particularly for younger drivers, in addition to offering a number of unique discounts and services.

The downside? You'll have to deal with below-average customer service. Safeco received about 33% more complaints than would be expected for an insurer of its size, which indicates that its customer service isn't meeting policyholder needs.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of getting your car insurance with Safeco.

Good for
  • Young drivers looking for a low-cost insurer
  • Classic car drivers
  • People who want discounts based on their driving habits
Bad for
  • Anyone who wants the ability to get a quote online
  • Shoppers who value great customer service

Safeco: Provides good value for most drivers

Given Safeco's excellent rates and the many unique coverages that the company offers, we'd recommend it if cheap car insurance is your top priority. If reliable customer service is your top priority, look elsewhere.

Our review of auto insurance quotes shows that Safeco offers cheaper insurance than the top national insurers. When we compared the rates Safeco offered with the rates similar companies like Progressive, State Farm and Geico offered, we found that Safeco almost always offered the most affordable deal on auto insurance.

In fact, rates for a new driver, with one to four years of experience, were 76% less expensive with Safeco than the average of the four insurers in our study.

Profile
Safeco
State Farm
Progressive
Geico
Single driver, licensed 14 to 25 years$1,710$2,389$2,040$2,123

Single driver, licensed one to four years
$2,178$3,400$2,792$2,742
Married couple, licensed for over 40 years$2,973$3,038$3,206$2,962

Source: California Department of Insurance

Safeco coverage options

In addition to standard car insurance coverages, Safeco offers policyholders several unique policy add-ons. These include:

New vehicle replacement. This is an optional add-on whereby Safeco reimburses you for the cost of another car if your new car is totaled or stolen before you put 15,000 miles on it.

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 a repair shop of your choice or a Safelite Solutions location. Safelite Solutions has a partnership with Safeco and can repair or replace your car's glass at your home or office.

Rental reimbursement. Safeco offers coverage of rental cars used when you get into an accident.

Safeco classic car insurance. Safeco offers coverage for classic cars and offers limited use discounts to drivers who drive less than 5,000 miles a year in their classic car.

Loan and lease coverage. In some states, Safeco offers auto loan/lease coverage, also known as gap insurance. This coverage helps drivers who have financed or leased their car to cover the rest of their car payments should their car get totaled or stolen.

Safeco claims valet service. Not only does Safeco cover rental cars after you get into a covered accident, but if your car is still operational, a Safeco valet driver will deliver a rental vehicle, drive your car to an authorized repair shop and return your repaired car. The valet service can deliver a rental vehicle to different locations, not limited to your home or office. You must have rental reimbursement coverage to obtain valet services.

Safeco RightTrack. Safeco RightTrack is a free telematics program that tracks your driving, and everyone who takes part qualifies for a discount between 5% and 30%. Safeco RightTrack uses a mobile app to monitor behaviors like braking, acceleration, nighttime driving and total miles driven. (The exception to this is New York state drivers, who use a plug-in device for monitoring.) After 90 days of monitoring, Safeco will evaluate the savings it can offer you based on your driving habits.

As with the Liberty Mutual version of RightTrack, Safeco policyholders can enroll more than one vehicle. Residents of most states are eligible, with the exception of the following:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • North Carolina

Roadside assistance. Safeco includes towing, tire changes, battery service, fuel and fluids replenishment and car unlocking if you lock your keys in your car. Roadside assistance is available 24/7.

Other unique features. Safeco policyholders are eligible for 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.

Safeco also offers the standard coverages you'd expect to see from any major auto insurer, including:

  • Medical payments
  • Property damage liability
  • Bodily injury liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
{"backgroundColor":"white","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EIn addition to standard car insurance coverages, Safeco offers policyholders several unique policy add-ons. These include:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ENew vehicle replacement\u003C\/strong\u003E. This is an optional add-on whereby Safeco reimburses you for the cost of another car if your new car is totaled or stolen before you put 15,000 miles on it.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EGlass repair and replacement\u003C\/strong\u003E. If your car\u2019s glass is damaged, you can get it repaired for free or replaced (for your policy\u2019s deductible) at a repair shop of your choice or a Safelite Solutions location. Safelite Solutions has a partnership with Safeco and can repair or replace your car's glass at your home or office.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ERental reimbursement\u003C\/strong\u003E. Safeco offers coverage of rental cars used when you get into an accident.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ESafeco classic car insurance\u003C\/strong\u003E. Safeco offers \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Classic Car Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/classic-car-insurance\"\u003Ecoverage for classic cars\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E and offers limited use discounts to drivers who drive less than 5,000 miles a year in their classic car.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ELoan and lease coverage\u003C\/strong\u003E. In some states, Safeco offers auto loan\/lease coverage, also known as \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Gap Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/how-gap-auto-insurance-works\"\u003Egap insurance\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E. This coverage helps drivers who have financed or leased their car to cover the rest of their car payments should their car get totaled or stolen.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ESafeco claims valet service\u003C\/strong\u003E. Not only does Safeco cover rental cars after you get into a covered accident, but if your car is still operational, a Safeco valet driver will deliver a rental vehicle, drive your car to an authorized repair shop and return your repaired car. The valet service can deliver a rental vehicle to different locations, not limited to your home or office. You must have rental reimbursement coverage to obtain valet services.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ESafeco RightTrack\u003C\/strong\u003E. Safeco RightTrack is a free telematics program that tracks your driving, and everyone who takes part qualifies for a discount between 5% and 30%. Safeco RightTrack uses a mobile app to monitor behaviors like braking, acceleration, nighttime driving and total miles driven. (The exception to this is New York state drivers, who use a plug-in device for monitoring.) After 90 days of monitoring, Safeco will evaluate the savings it can offer you based on your driving habits.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EAs with the \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Liberty Mutual RightTrack Review\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/auto-insurance\/right-track-liberty-mutual-review\"\u003ELiberty Mutual version of RightTrack\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E, Safeco policyholders can enroll more than one vehicle. Residents of most states are eligible, with the exception of the following:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--root \"\u003E\n\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--content ShortcodeList--content-margin\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--column\"\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\"ListUnordered--root ListUnordered--bullet\"\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Arkansas\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n California\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n District of Columbia\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Delaware\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Hawaii\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n North Carolina\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\n\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ERoadside assistance\u003C\/strong\u003E. Safeco includes towing, tire changes, battery service, fuel and fluids replenishment and car unlocking if you lock your keys in your car. \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"Should You Buy Roadside Assistance Through Your Car Insurance Company?\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/should-you-buy-roadside-assistance-through-your-car-insurance-company\"\u003ERoadside assistance\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E is available 24\/7.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EOther unique features\u003C\/strong\u003E. Safeco policyholders are eligible for 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.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003ESafeco also offers the \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" title=\"What Does Car Insurance Cover?\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/what-car-insurance-covers\"\u003Estandard coverages\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E you'd expect to see from any major auto insurer, including:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--root \"\u003E\n\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--content ShortcodeList--content-margin\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--column\"\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\"ListUnordered--root ListUnordered--bullet\"\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Medical payments\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Property damage liability\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Bodily injury liability\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Collision\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n Comprehensive\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\n\n","padding":"double"}

Discounts offered by Safeco

In terms of helping drivers save money, Safeco stands out for its claims-free cashback program. For every six months that you stay claims-free, Safeco will mail you a small refund: a check worth 2.5% of your insurance policy premium.

Another big perk of buying insurance from Safeco is its accident forgiveness program. If you have been a faithful Safeco customer for several years and you have not been in an at-fault accident, your first accident will be waived and will not impact your rates. However, this bonus is unavailable in some states, such as California.

Safeco also offers a low-mileage discount program. If you're older than 25 and drive your car less than 8,000 miles each year, you could get up to 20% off your auto insurance. This could be a solid option for those who work from home or those who frequently use public transit.

With Safeco, you can also get several of the standard discounts that you would expect from a large auto insurance company:

  • Bundle insurance policies with Safeco
  • Maintain a clean driving record and Safeco will lower your deductible in increments, up to $500
  • Take an accident prevention course (if you meet the required age that varies by state)
  • Insure multiple cars with Safeco
  • Make Safeco aware if your car has anti-lock brakes
  • Own a home

Safeco Insurance complaints, reviews and financial strength ratings

Safeco might offer affordable rates, but its customer service reputation is lacking. J.D. Power's 2020 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study found that Safeco customer satisfaction with claims was slightly lower than average, rating the company an 870 out of a possible 1,000 points.

Reviewer
National average
Safeco rating
J.D. Power872 out of 1,000 (higher is better)870
NAIC1.0 (lower is better)1.33
AM BestN/AA

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) gave Safeco a complaint rating of 1.33, greater than the national median rating of 1.00. This indicates a greater-than-average volume of complaints. NAIC complaint data shows that Safeco Insurance customers complain most frequently about unsatisfactory payouts or delays in claims handling.

While Safeco may not have high customer satisfaction ratings, it does have solid financial strength and can pay out customer claims. AM Best gave the company an "A" financial strength rating, which means that it has an "excellent" ability to pay out claims.

Mobile app

Safeco also has a mobile app that includes standard functions, including bill pay, insurance ID card storage and the ability to contact your Safeco Insurance agent. The app received better reviews from Apple users, who gave it a 4.8 out of 5, than it did from Android users, who gave it a 3.8 out of 5.

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Other Safeco Insurance products

In addition to auto insurance, Safeco offers a number of other products to protect different aspects of your life. These other Safeco Insurance products include:

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • RV insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Boat insurance
  • Earthquake coverage
  • Umbrella policy
  • Motorcycle insurance

Safeco does not offer life insurance, so shoppers interested in this coverage will need to look elsewhere.

Shoppers interested in Safeco home insurance should note that service line coverage is available as an optional add-on. The maximum limit is $12,000, with a $500 deductible. If, however, you experience a major loss that impacts not just your service line, but other covered aspects of your home, you will only need to pay the home deductible, and the other deductibles will be waived.

Safeco home insurance includes the standard coverages you would see from most major insurers, including dwelling, personal property and loss of use.

Who owns Safeco insurance?

Safeco Insurance is owned by Liberty Mutual, one of the 10 largest insurance companies in America. Safeco Insurance Co. of America operates out of a number of different locations, with different Safeco subsidiaries spread across the country. These include:

  • Safeco Insurance Co. of Illinois
  • Safeco Insurance Co. of Indiana
  • Safeco Insurance Co. of Oregon
  • Safeco Lloyds Insurance Co.
  • Safeco National Insurance Co.
  • Safeco Surplus Lines

Safeco also has other subsidiaries that do not take its name, such as New Hampshire's Excelsior Insurance Co. and Hawkeye-Security Insurance Co. in Wisconsin.

While Safeco Insurance Co. of America is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, your specific subsidiary will depend on your location. Utah residents, for instance, can get insurance from Safeco National, Safeco Insurance Co. of Illinois and Safeco Insurance Co. of Indiana — but not Safeco of Oregon.

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Filing an auto insurance claim with Safeco

To file an insurance claim with Safeco, you can call the claims phone number, which is 800-332-3226, to reach the 24/7 claims center, or you can file your claim online. After filing your claim, you can track it online through your Safeco account. For roadside assistance, call 877-762-3101. Here is the information you’ll need when calling to report a claim:

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

Safeco has a large network of independent agents across the country, thanks in part to the company becoming a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual in 2008. Thus, Safeco’s customers get the benefit of the company’s extensive reach.

Methodology

Our rate data comes from the California Department of Insurance. The married drivers in our study have been licensed for more than 40 years and drive 7,600 miles per year in their Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry. The single driver who has been licensed for 14 to 25 years drives 7,600 to 10,000 miles per year in a Honda Accord, as does the single driver who has been licensed one to four years. All of the sample drivers live in La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego, and none of them have any incidents on their driving record.

Sources:

{"backgroundColor":"white","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EOur rate data comes from the California Department of Insurance. The married drivers in our study have been licensed for more than 40 years and drive 7,600 miles per year in their Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry. The single driver who has been licensed for 14 to 25 years drives 7,600 to 10,000 miles per year in a Honda Accord, as does the single driver who has been licensed one to four years. All of the sample drivers live in La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego, and none of them have any incidents on their driving record.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch4\u003ESources:\u003C\/h4\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--root \"\u003E\n\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--content ShortcodeList--content-margin\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--column\"\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\"ListUnordered--root ListUnordered--bullet\"\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow\" title=\"Compare Insurance Premiums\" href=\"http:\/\/www.insurance.ca.gov\/01-consumers\/105-type\/9-compare-prem\/index.cfm\"\u003ECalifornia Department of Insurance\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\" target=\"_blank\" title=\"Consumer Insurance Search Results\" href=\"https:\/\/eapps.naic.org\/cis\/\"\u003ENational Association of Insurance Commissioners\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\" target=\"_blank\" title=\"U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study\" href=\"http:\/\/www.jdpower.com\/ratings\/study\/U.S.-Auto-Claims-Satisfaction-Study\/3170ENG\"\u003EJ.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListUnordered--list-item\"\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\" target=\"_blank\" title=\"Safeco Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.safeco.com\/\"\u003ESafeco website\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\n\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}


Frequently asked questions

Is Safeco a good insurance company?

In general, yes. Safeco has great prices and some impressive coverage options, but we found that customers weren't always happy with the service they received.

What is Safeco's AM Best rating?

Safeco has an "A" rating from AM Best, meaning it has an "excellent" financial ability to pay out claims. This is the third-best score available, behind A+ and A++.

Is Safeco part of Liberty Mutual?

Yes. Liberty Mutual purchased Safeco in 2008.

Is Safeco cheaper than Geico?

Yes, we found that Safeco tends to be cheaper than Geico for car insurance. However, every driver's price will be different, so the only way to be sure which is cheaper for you is to get quotes.

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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.