Safeco Auto Insurance Overview
Safeco’s original company name was General Insurance Company of America. They were founded in 1923 in Seattle to provide property and casualty insurance. The current name, Safeco, is an acronym for Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America. This became the company’s name in the 1960s, when they began to offer a wider array of insurance products and financial services. In 1997, they acquired American States Financial Corporation, effectively doubling the number of agents working for the company. Though the company went through some hard times in the late 1990s, they have since recovered and recommitted themselves to their core products and services. In 2008, Safeco was acquired by Liberty Mutual, which provides them with financial resources and stability.
Since becoming part of Liberty Mutual, Safeco has narrowed its focus to personal insurance, offering an array of coverage options for homes, vehicles and more. The company employs over 7,200 people across the nation. Other benefits include:
- Property damage: Yes
- Bodily injury liability: Yes
- Uninsured motorist: Yes
- Personal injury: Yes
- Collision: Yes
- Comprehensive: Yes
- Medical payments: Yes
- Rental: Yes
- Emergency road service: Yes
Safeco offers an impressive array of vehicle coverage options. Besides the standard types of coverage like comprehensive, bodily injury, collision and roadside assistance, they have unique options, including:
- CD and DVD replacement
- Electronic key and lock replacement
- Pet coverage
- Custom equipment coverage
Personal property coverage:
Consumers should be able to put together the exact insurance policy to meet their specific needs. In fact, Safeco has more options than most of their competitors, and they allow customers to build their own policy by combining these varied coverage options, which offers a high degree of customization.
Safeco provides hundreds of customer reviews on their own website. This includes many one star reviews, which shows the company’s commitment to transparency and honesty. However, what makes this even better is that Safeco has replied to many of the one star reviews in an attempt to resolve complaints, providing contact information and answering questions. Potential customers should take this as a good sign. Safeco is not only willing to address negative reviews, but they actively attempt to reconcile them.
The company has been selling auto insurance since 1923, for over 90 years.
Diminishing Deductible is one interesting feature that the company offers. Basically, if a policyholder remains claim-free, the collision deductible goes down by $100 each year for a possible maximum of $500. They have a great roadside assistance program that is available around the clock through an 877 phone number, and the website offers several payment options for premiums, including a paperless option.
Safeco also offers a Single Loss Deductible, which means if your vehicle and your home are both damaged in the same incident, you only have to pay one deductible. The example given on the website is that if a tree fell in the yard and hit both your car and house, Safeco would waive the auto deductible once the home deductible was paid. This can save the policyholder a significant amount of money, and it’s a great feature that every company should have.
Safeco offers coverage in 44/50 states. Currently, they are not operating in the following states:
• New Jersey
• Rhode Island
• Washington DC
This might change in the future, as the company continues to grow and expand, but the timeline is unclear.
While Safeco provides a relatively comprehensive product, in terms of their service area, there are some serious limitations to the platform as well. Prior to making a final decision, prospective clients should analyze the following drawbacks:
Safeco’s auto insurance rates are not particularly impressive, averaging $186-$192/month. In fact, a side-by-side comparison of insurance quotes put Safeco higher than average in terms of cost. Combined with the fact that they don’t offer as many discounts as many their competitors, this does not bode well for people trying to save money. There are more affordable options out there.
Discount options are not as extensive or numerous as some of their competitors, though they do offer standard discounts like safe driving and low mileage. By combining an auto insurance policy with a homeowners policy it is possible to save up to 15 percent, and while this is not bad, there are other insurance companies with more discounts and deeper savings.
Safeco has accumulated thousands of complaints across numerous websites, including their own, about the frustration of their claims process. First of all, claims cannot be reported online, which puts Safeco out of step with the innovative practices of many other insurance companies. Instead, an 800 number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Though claims cannot be filed online, they can be tracked online, which is good. However, many of the complaints are directed at the company’s ongoing lack of follow-up about the claims process. Hundreds of people have complained about unprofessional behavior, lack of response, unreturned phone calls, incorrect information and unanswered messages. These types of complaints are prevalent enough and widespread enough that it is worth pointing out.
The mobile app that Safeco offers its customers seems to be available only for the iPhone, leaving many of their Android phone users irate. Based on reviews, the app leaves much to be desired and lacks many basic features. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a positive review of the app. The app has only been sporadically available, being removed from the iTunes stores in the past year, hopefully for improvements.
It should be noted that the website lacks resources that would be helpful. The one that stands out is a coverage calculator. This is a feature that many other insurance companies offer on their website, and one that can be helpful for potential customers trying to figure out what their actual cost will be. It’s not clear why Safeco doesn’t have this resource.