While price is an important consideration when purchasing car insurance, it is not the only factor which should be considered. Good service and financial stability are also important for customer satisfaction. When considering car insurance company quotes, consumers should also review the carrier’s reputation for service and financial stability to insure they receive value for their money.
A.M. Best rates companies based on the financial standing and stability while J.D. Powers & Associates uses a variety of parameters including customer satisfaction to determine their top car insurance companies. Top insurance companies should be financially stable while offering the coverages consumers need, the service they expect and pricing they can afford. One thing to remember is that national insurance companies are ranked by consumer websites based on price, customer service and policy offerings, but small regional companies often don’t make consumer review rankings, and may still offer the lowest car insurance rates in their respective area.
Amica Mutual Insurance
With a five star customer rating in all categories, Amica Mutual Insurance Co. was the J.D. Powers award winner for 2010. Only two other companies had 5 star ratings and they were N.J. Manufacturers insurance Co. which is available only to N.J. State employees and N.J. Business Association members, and USAA Insurance Co. which caters to military personnel and their families. Since the insurance isn’t available to everyone, these car insurance companies were not ranked.
Government Employees Insurance Co.(GEICO)
Geico offers vehicle insurance, property insurance and other insurance options like overseas and identity theft, which can save consumers money if they choose to bundle their coverage. Because Geico is a nationwide company, some consumers must deal with a call center rather than a face-to-face agent, which can be frustrating. On the other hand, Geico’s direct marketing practices, which include email advertisements, snail mail advertisements and television ads, result in better prices than other auto insurance companies.
Of major nationwide car insurance companies, GEICO rated second to Amica with a four star customer rating across the board. The rating categories included customer service, policy offerings, billing and payment, pricing and overall satisfaction. Erie Insurance Co. also averaged 4 stars, but consumers gave Erie 5 stars for pricing. Erie Insurance is a regional car insurance company and is only available in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
Progressive Car Insurance rated three stars in all but policy offerings, where they rated four stars. Like Geico, Progressive offers vehicle insurance, property insurance, and other insurance options like life and health, which can save money on bundling. Progressive is also nationwide, but customers can make claims online, through service centers and through claims centers. At a service center, customers can drop their vehicle off and receive a rental vehicle, and the service center will send the car out to be repaired with a limited lifetime guarantee. Progressive also uses direct marketing, so they are able to keep their costs lower than other auto insurance companies.
Shelter Insurance Co. and State Farm Insurance Co.
Shelter Insurance Co. rated 4 stars in every category except billing, while State Farm Insurance fell to 3 stars in both pricing and policy offerings but rated four stars in other categories. Both car insurance companies are financially stable and well established. In addition to car insurance they underwrite other coverages including homeowners and life insurance and offer a customer loyalty discount to customers who buy multiple policies.
State Farm also offers investment and banking options. Unlike other auto insurance companies, policies are sold directly through local agents. Customers get more personal attention using this business model, but customers can also make claims online. The State Farm website contains an online service center where customers can pay their bills or change their policies, as well as a learning center with informative articles on useful topics like vehicle safety, financial planning and home ownership.
Allstate ranked 3 stars in every category except pricing (2 stars). Allstate offers even more insurance options which include auto, property, power sports, life/retirement, business, and others. Like most auto insurance companies, bundling policies saves cash. Allstate is nationwide, but it utilizes local agents. Claims can be made over the phone, directly through an agent or online. Allstate also provides over 30 discounts including a 45% discount for safe drivers, safe driving bonus checks twice per year, and a 10% early signing discount.
Esurance was rated average. Established in 1999, Esurance is an online insurance provider available to consumers in 30 states. Esurance offers vehicle, home, health, life, pet and even cell phone insurance. All transactions, including the purchase of the policy and the reporting of claims, takes place online, but they offer 24/7 customer support over the phone. Esurance lacks some of the overhead of brick-and-mortar auto insurance companies, which allows them to pass their savings along to customers in the form of less expensive premiums and more discounts.
Average Ranked Insurance Companies
American Family, Ameriprise, Automobile Club Group, COUNTRY, Kemper Group, Liberty Mutual, State Auto, The Hartford and Travelers were all rated as average. Consumers are satisfied with these car insurance companies and received the service they expected.
So which is the Number One Insurance Company of 2011
Consumer website, JD Powers ranked Amica as the number one company in the U.S. based on price, customer satisfaction and policy offerings. Another consumer website, TopTenReview.com, ranked GEICO and Progressive insurance companies as the number one and number two companies for the year. JD Powers also gave an honorable mention to Erie Insurance, a small, regional company that services 11 states.
Best of the Non Ranked Car Insurance Companies
Every year, USAA and New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. receive mentions from both the JD Powers and the AM Best websites for their excellent service and pricing. Both companies have limited enrollment. USAA is only available to military personnel, veterans and their families, and NJM is only available to NJ state employees. Those that qualify for enrollment may want to check USAA or NJM for the cheapest car insurance rates.
About J.D. Powers Rankings
J.D. Powers is a well respected source of consumer information. They profiled additional companies which were not ranked because their services were only available in a limited area or because a large enough sampling of customers was not available. If consumers have any questions about the performance of a particular company that was not ranked, they may contact their local Better Business Bureau or their state department of insurance for information on customer satisfaction.
When shopping for the best deal at different auto insurance companies, consumers must remember that cheaper isn’t always better, and they need take into account the reputation of their future insurance provider and the services they offer in order to ensure a protected, hassle-free future. We hope the above information is helpful in giving you a view of the reputation of different car insurance providers.