Safeco Auto Insurance Review: Average Rates but Poor Service

Safeco Auto Insurance Review: Average Rates but Poor Service

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

Editor's Rating

3.0/5.0

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 care about filing claims online or value customer service highly, Safeco might not be the best fit for your needs.

Safeco: Provides Good Value For Some

Safeco has insurance rates that are higher than other national insurers and it offers below average customer claim execution. 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

It’s important to consider both affordable rates and reliable coverage when you’re shopping for car insurance. We found that claims satisfaction was another category in which Safeco lagged significantly behind competitors. The following table displays our ratings for Safeco versus other major insurers:

CompanyAffordabilityClaims SatisfactionCoverageShoppingDiscountsTotal
Safeco3.52.04.03.03.03.0
Progressive5.03.04.05.05.04.0
Farmers3.53.55.04.54.03.0
Allstate2.04.05.04.05.03.0

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.

CoverageIs It Offered By Safeco?
Liability
Personal Injury Protection
Uninsured Motorist
Rental Car Reimbursement

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, or one of the dozens of Safelite Solutions’ locations. Safelite Solutions can even perform a repair or replacement at your home or office. Other insurers provide similar services, but Safeco’s partnership with Safelite Solutions, the largest car glass replacement company in the United States, benefits you by offering repairs on the go.

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. The valet service is extremely convenient as it can be used to deliver the rental vehicle to different locations not limited to your home or office.

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. Enrolling in the program is free and includes a 90-day review period of your driving profile. Once the 90-day period is over, Safeco will evaluate the savings it can offer you based on your driving habits.

The RightTrack program is available to most Safeco customers that have a valid e-mail 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 exception of the following:

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

Roadside Assistance: If you want roadside assistance, make sure to opt-in when you buy your coverage. 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

Safeco offers the 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 insurance policies with Safeco
  • Having a clean driving record (makes you eligible for Safeco Safety Rewards - a discount program)
  • Taking an accident prevention course (if you meet the required age that varies by state)
  • Insuring multiple cars with Safeco
  • Equipping your vehicle with an anti-theft device
  • Making Safeco aware if your car has anti-lock brakes

One of the most valuable discounts to be aware of 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 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. 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?

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 discussed above 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. Below we outline the results of the survey, where rating factors are rated from one to five with five being the best:

CompanyOverall RatingInitial Claim ReportingServiceAppraisalRepairRental CarSettlement
Safeco2222222
Progressive3333343
Farmers3333233
Allstate3334433

Customers should note that their experience with Safeco will vary depending on the part of the country in which they live. For instance, California residents report having an above average overall satisfaction rate with Safeco. However, residents of the Southeast reported having an experience that was below average. Below, we outline customer satisfaction ratings among several regions where Safeco Auto Insurance is offered:

GeographyClaims Rating (Out of Five)
California4
New England3
Florida3
Northwest3
Southwest3
North Central2
Central2
Southeast2

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. Unfortunately, Safeco doesn’t have an online claims feature, but you can reach their claims center 24/7 by phone. 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
  • A recollection 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 finding indicate that Safeco doesn’t have the best customer service, specifically for customers filing a claim, its 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

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