Safeco Auto Insurance

by Nikola Djurkovic
Safeco Car Insurance Review Cover Image

Safeco insurance company was founded in 1923 in Seattle, Washington. The company’s name is an acronym for Selective Auto and Fire Ensurance Company of America. In 2008, Safeco was acquired by Liberty Mutual; however, the company still sells personal insurance, such as life, homeowners, and auto, through its independent agents.

Safeco takes pride in its network of agents and their professionalism, while also offering an online quote option. As many Safeco insurance reviews note, their mission is to donate to charities and improve local communities. Safeco established an Insurance Fund that supports nonprofit organizations within the state of Washington, which offers education to the unprivileged, helps the homeless, and empowers those with disabilities. Here, we will analyze Safeco’s reviews, rate comparisons, and customer complaints to determine where Safeco ranks among the best US auto insurance companies.  

Product Overview

Features

Safeco insurance is available in all 50 US states, and it can be purchased through a network of independent agents. The company insists on working with independent agents because they are not obliged to sell you any particular type of insurance or choose any specific carrier. This is a practice that benefits its company and also its customers.

The company has a decent mobile app, which lets you report accidents, view your insurance documents, pay bills, or contact Safeco roadside assistance. Safeco also has an easy-to-use website, which can provide you with an online quote, put you in touch with the nearest agent or let you file or track a claim online, which are all great features that should be more available in the industry.

According to many Safeco insurance reviews we read, and per our analysis, the company does not offer the finest customer service available. While the rates seem to be average for middle-aged drivers, higher for younger drivers, and lower for older drivers, it seems that Safeco has the word “safe” in its name for a reason. There are many safety discounts offered, and the company provides some coverages that are very unique and useful.

Signature Feature

One of the great features offered by Safeco is the Safeco Insurance Claims Valet Service, which takes rental car reimbursement coverage to a whole new level. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident but is still in drivable condition, Safeco will send a valet driver to deliver a rental car for you to use while you are waiting for your vehicle to be repaired. The same driver will also take your damaged vehicle to be fixed and deliver it back to you when it’s done. This is an awesome feature since it makes getting around when you’re waiting for your car to be fixed hassle-free!

Financial Strength

The financial strength of a company should be among the first things to consider when choosing insurance. No matter how reliable the customer service is or how pleased you are with the coverage, it’s worth nothing unless the company is capable of paying their claims.

The Safeco insurance company rating from A. M. Best is an “A” or “Excellent,” meaning the company certainly has stable finances. The company is also a part of the Liberty Mutual Group, another big insurance player, indicating that there should be no worries that Safeco is capable of paying claims.

Types of Insurance Offered

Safeco offers all the coverages that are commonly found in the insurance industry, such as collision, comprehensive, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, medical expenses, personal injury protection, and underinsured/uninsured motorist protection. The company also offers some noteworthy additional coverages, although Safeco auto insurance reviews highlight that there are companies that provide more options in this department. The optional coverages include:

Ride-Sharing Auto Insurance –If you are using your vehicle to drive for Uber or Lyft, you are fully covered by the company’s insurance only when you have a passenger in your car or when you are driving to pick up a match. Safeco offers an option that covers you also when you are waiting for a match. This coverage is not available in all US states.

Reimbursement for First Aid Every Safeco insurance policy includes up to $10,000 in coverage for the reimbursement of first aid given to victims after an accident. This is not commonly found in the insurance industry, and we can only praise Safeco for this fine offer.

Roadside Assistance This is an inexpensive add-on that offers towing, roadside repairs, oil delivery, locksmith assistance, and other similar services if your car breaks down.

Rental Car Reimbursement This option covers the expenses of a rented car while you are waiting for your damaged vehicle to be repaired. Customers with Rental Car Reimbursement coverage may also qualify for Safeco Claims Valet Service. To find out more about this excellent option, check the “Signature Feature” section of this review.

Emergency Assistance Package This option includes all benefits offered by Roadside Assistance, and it adds up to $100 in expenses and up to $500 in meals, lodging, and transportation if an accident happens to you more than 25 miles away from your home. It also covers personal items that are stolen or damaged.

Gap Coverage If your car is totaled in an accident, this coverage pays the difference between the actual cash value and the amount left on your loan or lease. Many insurance companies in the US offer this coverage.

Electronic Key and Lock Replacement If your electronic car keys are stolen, Safeco will replace them without applying any deductible. This also applies to any control pads or locks.

CD and DVD Replacement While CDs and DVDs are slowly on the outs, Safeco still offers some additional coverage for these items, and even for more archaic devices, such as cassette and videotape players, if they get stolen or damaged.

New Car Replacement If your car is less than a year old, and it is totaled, Safeco will pay you the equivalent value for the same new vehicle. Travelers covers up to five years with this option, and you’ll see other Safeco auto insurance reviews suggesting you check them out if you’re a new car owner.

Audio-Visual and Custom Equipment Coverage This option covers professionally installed aftermarket parts, such as custom engines, special rims, bumpers, or custom paint jobs, and it also covers audio-visual equipment like high-end speakers, video screens, etc.

Pet Coverage This option covers veterinary expenses if your furry friend is injured in an accident. It also covers death benefits if you suffer the loss of a pet in an accident.

Personal Property Coverage If personal belongings are stolen from your vehicle or damaged in an accident, this option will cover the expenses.

Collectible Car Coverage Safeco in one of the couple insurers that offer classic car insurance. Their biggest upside is that they offer the outstanding protection for a vintage vehicle that’s used regularly.

Safeco Customer Service

In the J.D. Power rankings, Safeco holds 3 stars out of 5 in both the claims satisfaction as well as the insurance shopping studies. However, in the claims servicing subcategory, the company scores 2 out of 5 stars, which is a little concerning. Their customer service scores are average or below average according to our analysis and the results of additional Safeco insurance reviews.

Additionally, the company is dead last in J.D. Power’s regional ranking for the Central and Southwest regions. They are second from the bottom in the New England and North Central regions, while only being near the top in the Florida region. The overall impression from the J.D. Power ratings is that the company delivers subpar customer service. Nerdwallet and ValuePenguin also highlight in their reviews that the company doesn’t have great customer service.

On the other hand, Safeco insurance customer service is at 0.54 with the NAIC complaint ratio, which is far below the industry average (the lower is better) and an excellent score for a company of its size.

Just like most US insurance companies, Safeco has many negative reviews on websites such as Yelp and ConsumerAffairs, with customers complaining about low settlements, unresponsive customer service while filing a claim, and slow roadside assistance. However, this can be attributed to the fact that a customer is always more likely to take the time to leave a comment if the experience was overwhelmingly negative.

Safeco is not accredited on the Better Business Bureau website—so we couldn’t work with the Safeco Insurance BBB reviews and rankings provided by that company—while the parent company, Liberty Mutual holds a B+ rating. Nonetheless, our overall impression, especially given the low scores in the J.D. Power study, is that if you want top-notch customer service, you should look elsewhere, unless you are living in the Florida region.

Discounts

Safeco offers a significant number of discounts that can reduce your premium, some of which are highlighted very positively in other Safeco insurance reviews. These discounts can be quite useful, given the high rates the company offers for some driver categories. What we didn’t like is that, on the company’s website, only a few discounts have a percentage listed to show you exactly how much they decrease a premium.

This information is essential for reviewers because many companies offer similar discounts and our goal is to direct readers to a company where they can get the lowest prices possible. While we prefer having all the data listed online, there’s always the option to call the Safeco customer service number and verify specific details.

Below are the discounts offered by Safeco:

Bundle Discount – If you buy both home and auto insurance with Safeco, you can save up to 15%.

Low Usage Discount – You can save up to 20% if you don’t use your car often (drive less than 8,000 miles a year). To qualify for this discount you have to provide proof of your low mileage to Safeco.

Homeowners Discount – If you own a home, townhouse, condo, or even a mobile home, you can get a discount.

Multiple Vehicle Discount – If you are insuring more than one vehicle with Safeco, you can get a discount.

 Pay in Full – When you are starting your journey with Safeco car insurance or renewing a policy, you will get a discount if you pay the entire amount at once.

Accident Prevention Discount – Drivers who are 55 years or older and pass an accredited accident prevention course can get a discount that lasts for three years.

Good Student Discount – A student who has a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better, makes the honor roll, or is in the top 20% of their class, can get a discount.

New Teen Reward – If you have had insurance with Safeco for more than one year, you can get up to a 27% discount when you add a new teen driver to your policy—an appreciated feature, according to a few Safeco car insurance reviews.

Teen Driving Training Discount – If a teen driver completes an accredited driving education program, a discount is available.

Student Away from Home Discount – This discount is available if a teen driver on a policy is attending school more than 100 miles away from home without a car.

Newly Independent Discount – When a driver who was already listed on a Safeco policy gets their own policy, this discount applies. This is an excellent option for students who are starting their own life away from their parents. Reviews on Safeco insurance will remind you that there are not many companies that offer this discount.

Safety Features Discount – If your car is equipped with an anti-theft device such as an alarm or engine blocker, a discount is available.

Anti-Lock Brakes Discount – In some states, if you own a vehicle with a factory installed ABS (anti-lock brake system), you can get a discount.

Safeco RightTrack® Discount – If you enroll in this program, Safeco will track your driving habits using either a mobile app or a device installed in your car. They will trace how much you drive, whether or not you drive at night and whether or not you accelerate fast and/or brake suddenly. If your results are good, you can get up to 30% off your premium. Safeco insurance company reviews mention that this is among the higher discounts with this type of system.

Tenure Reward – This discount is available in states where the New Teen Reward is not available. If you had a policy with Safeco for more than two years, you can get a discount when you add a new teen driver to your policy.

Diminishing Deductible Discount – With every renewal, your deductible decreases by $100 if there were no claims filed. The maximum decrease is $500.

Accident Forgiveness – If you’ve been insured by Safeco for a certain amount of years without being in an at-fault accident or violation, your first accident will be forgiven—meaning your premium will not increase.

About Insurance Rates

Safeco reviews note that the company offers rates that are among the more expensive, unless you are an older driver. A report that compared quotes from four major insurance companies found that Safeco is by far the most expensive option for an 18-year-old male driver, costing more than $3,000 per year than the cheapest option, which was Allstate. However, for an 81-year-old driver, Safeco was the second cheapest, costing only $8 more per year than Farmers.


Safeco Insurance Prices Compared With Top CompetitorsAfter requesting a Safeco insurance quote for a 40-year-old driver, we compared the quote to multiple competing insurance companies. Our research found that Safeco scored in the middle, with a monthly premium of $210. Progressive was by far the cheapest option, with a premium of $130, while State Farm was the most expensive with a premium of $307. Then we took our Safeco insurance rate comparison a step further and tested out different age demographics.

For a younger driver, Safeco is the most expensive option and should be chosen only if you can get some of the many discounts available for teen drivers. For middle-aged folks, Safeco insurance offers competitive rates while not being the best, meaning that it can be a very good choice even if not all of the discounts apply. For older drivers, Safeco offers excellent rates, indicating it should be near the top of their shortlist if they are looking for the best prices. As you can see, the combined narrative of the Safeco auto insurance reviews and data we gathered tells three very different stories.

Safeco Auto Insurance Compared with Top Competitors

Safeco vs. Allstate

The general trend with Safeco pricing is visible when compared with Allstate as well, meaning that they have similar prices for middle-aged drivers, Safeco offers better rates for older drivers, while Allstate has better prices for younger drivers. When it comes to customer service, neither of these companies excel. Allstate scores 3 out of 5 stars in the J.D. Power ranking in claims satisfaction study and 2 out of 5 in the shopping study.

However, Allstate has significantly better regional scores than Safeco. The company also has guaranteed claims satisfaction, something that the best auto insurance reviews praise highly. It warrants that you will get a refund if you are not pleased with the way your claim was processed. If you are not an older driver or interested in some unique discounts or coverages offered by Safeco, we suggest Allstate insurance.

Safeco vs. State Farm

State Farm comes in as the most expensive option in our study, with the monthly premium for a 40-year-old driver being almost $100 higher than Safeco. State Farm does have a reputation for excellent customer service per some reviews; however, this is not confirmed by the J.D. Power rating, where the company has a score of 3 out of 5 stars in the claims satisfaction and shopping study.

However, State Farm does score significantly better than Safeco in customer service in many regional studies. Additionally, State Farm is more willing to take risky drivers compared to Safeco, who likes to play it safe with low-risk drivers. Based on this information, we would advise younger and riskier drivers to check out State Farm, while we would suggest that all other drivers give Safeco a chance—and the Safeco reviews we checked confirm this.

Safeco vs. Travelers Insurance

Travelers is a cheaper option than Safeco per our data. In the customer service department, both Safeco and Travelers have the same score of 3 out of 5 stars in J.D. Power’s ranking in the claims satisfaction and shopping study.

Also, in regional rankings, the companies usually score in the lower half. Both companies offer a similar number of discounts, but their discounts are aimed at different customers. This means that the specific coverages and discounts offered by the two companies will be the deciding factor when trying to choose between the two.

Best Alternatives

If you are looking for the finest customer service, Erie and Amica Mutual are two companies that score highly in the best auto insurance reviews, and Erie was the chosen winner in the 2018 J.D. Power’s study. And, if you live in Washington or Oregon and you want excellent customer service, PEMCO demands your attention. Progressive insurance is a good option for high-risk drivers and those who are working on a tight budget since the company offers the most competitive rates overall.

For those with a newer car, Travelers is one of the best options, since they offer up to five years for newer car replacement. Geico is also an option with excellent prices, decent customer service, and it is available nationwide. Geico was even mentioned in the song “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. Not many insurance companies can boast about that. However, Safeco auto insurance remains one of the finest options for older drivers with good driving records.

Expert Thoughts

Insurance experts award Safeco with average ratings. J.D. Power gives the company 3 stars out of 5 for customer service satisfaction in its 2018 study. On the other hand, the company’s NAIC ratio is 0.54, which is an excellent result that is far below the industry average. The lower the number, the fewer complaints the company receives.

Other Safeco car insurance reviews rank the company in the lower tier of the US insurance market. Nerdwallet puts Safeco as 17th out of 23 US car insurance companies, citing customer service as the biggest issue. ValuePenguin gives the company 3 out of 5 stars, praising the coverage options the company offers, but noting the lousy customer service as a disadvantage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Safeco’s customer service rating?

When it comes to customer service, Safeco gets average or below average ratings, depending on whether or not the research was national or regional. The company has an A. M. best rating of A, or “Excellent,” which is a solid score. When it comes to the best insurance reviews, the company scores average or below average.

2. What is Safeco’s A. M. Best rating?

Safeco has an A. M. Best rating equal to A or “Excellent.” While this is not the best rating possible, it still good enough that a customer has nothing to worry about when it comes to the company’s ability to pay claims.

3. How do I contact Safeco insurance?

You can find a local agent on Safeco’s website, by entering the zip code or agency number. Additionally, you can call the Safeco insurance phone number, which is 1-877-762-3101 for roadside assistance, 1-888-458-2246 for online account help, or 1-800-332-3226 to file a claim. A claim can also be submitted online, on Safeco’s website.

4. Are Liberty Mutual and Safeco the same?

Liberty Mutual acquired Safeco insurance in 2008. However, Safeco continues to operate as a separate branch, offering its insurance through independent agents.

5. Is Safeco good car insurance?

Safeco is an excellent option for older drivers, an average option for those who are middle aged, and not a great option for younger, high-risk drivers or those looking for top-notch customer service (for more options for that category click here). Safeco insurance reviews will remind you that the company also offers some unique coverage options, like valet services, meaning that it can be an excellent choice for those interested in these particular extra features.

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