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Auto-Owners Insurance Review

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Overall Rating
Financial Health
Pricing
Customer Satisfaction
Discounts
Coverage Options
Average

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Verdict

Auto-Owners Insurance Company is a mid-sized, stable insurance carrier offering the same products and discounts as the national carriers. Unfortunately, the states they operate in are limited.

Overview

Auto-Owners Insurance Company began its rock solid reputation in Michigan circa 1916. Over the next 100 years, Auto-Owners periodically moved operations, added new divisions, introduced different products, and expanded their coverage states. Auto-Owners has a century of experience providing customers with “Safe, Sound, Secure” insurance coverage—same as their tagline states.

Today Auto-Owners relies on 44,000 licensed agents throughout 26 U.S. states to sell their policies. The agents are able to introduce consumers to a full portfolio of auto, home, life, and business insurance. Overall this seems to be a great strategy since the carrier reports 3 Million active policyholders.

We found that Auto-Owners may be one of the most reliable and stable carriers on the market. So why is this carrier not a household name like GEICO, Progressive, State Farm, or Allstate? Is it the lack of national TV, radio, and print advertising? Is there something about Auto-Owner’s financial health, claims, or customer service that keeps it out of the limelight?

After finishing a thorough investigation, we found Auto-Owners to be one of the most reliable and stable carriers on the market. Our review factored various criteria and all types of feedback, both negative and positive. In the end, we can confidently report Auto-Owners earned 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Let’s check out all the facts about Auto-Owners and how those facts influenced our final rating. By the end of this review, you may be asking why you have never heard of Auto-Owners before.

Availability

Auto-Owners is not available in every state. To use them you would beed to live in one of the following 26 states:

Financial Health

Auto-Owners has consistently reported strong earnings and top A.M. Best ratings. In fact, this medium-sized carrier has been able to perform well financially for decades. That is an impressive record for an insurance company that services only about fifty percent of the nation.

The carrier’s financial growth remained consistent and strong through last year as well. Their Chairman & CEO, Jeff Tasgold, reported the carrier wrote $1.15 Billion in new business premium. In addition, Auto-Owners’ policyholder surplus increased to $10.9 Billion. This large amount of surplus puts Auto-Owners right up there with the big players such as Farmers, Nationwide, and Travelers.

Premier independent rating organization, A.M. Best, affirmed the company’s fiscal rating of A++ (Superior). This marks the 46th time A.M. Best bestowed Auto-Owners with a Superior ranking. Standard & Poor’s concurred by assigning Auto-Owners with an “AA” rating.

Not all insurance carriers can brag about such significant accomplishments. Based on our experience, these are each great indicators of responsible claims payment and long-term stability.

Pricing

Auto-Owners does not have an online quoting feature available via their company website. In order to obtain pricing, customers are directed to local agents. Auto-Owners does try to make that easy by providing an agent look-up feature online.

It’s unfortunate that we were not able to confirm their rates and share this information with you. However, we can tell you that Auto-Owners makes a variety of standard discounts available. We can’t be sure the actual discounted amount you should expect. This is again something an Auto-Owners insurance agent would have to tell you.

Remember, insurance companies that rely on agents to sell their product usually hike their rates a bit to accommodate the agent’s commission. So it’s good news that Auto-Owners is putting various discounts out there for their clients to enjoy.

Discounts

Let’s take a look at the Auto-Owners reductions and see what might work for you:

Green Discount: Select paperless billing and pay premiums online

Safety Discounts: Customers that join the “TrueRide” system will use their smartphone app to track driving habits. Depending on the TrueRide results, you may earn some cash off your premium. Also, any drivers with cars including car alarms and airbags will receive this discount.

Multi-Policy Discounts: Bundle additional Auto-Owners policies (such as home and life) along with your auto and receive this discount. You can also get a Multi-Vehicle Discount when you have more than one vehicle on your auto plan.

Discounts for Teen Drivers: Insuring a teen driver can get pretty costly with any insurance carrier. Auto-Owners understands this dilemma so they offer a few options.

For example, your teen can get a good student discount for maintaining excellent grades. Opt to put a GPS monitor in you’re the car your teen drives most often and get a discount.

Finally, discounts area also available if your teenager is away at a college more than 100 miles from home and does not have a car on campus.

Early Payments Discounts: First, there is an option to save by asking for your insurance quote prior to the policy’s effective date. Or you can pay your annual premium all at once and receive a markdown of the total amount due. Finally, if you pay your monthly bill on time for 36 months straight you’ll be rewarded with a discount.

We did find that Auto-Owner discounts vary by state. So you will definitely want to double-check with your insurance agent as to what discounts you can access.

Customer Satisfaction

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes an annual report revealing the number of complaints an insurance carrier received. The report looks at complaints for an insurance company within one year versus the total premium the carrier collected.

The NAIC’s “2017 Insurance Complaint Ratio” was very positive for Auto-Owners. In fact, the carrier’s complaint ratio was .53 which is well below the median ratio of 1.00 for all auto insurance carriers nationwide.

Auto-Owners is also accredited with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Currently the BBB website states they are reviewing the insurance company’s rating. This a typical formality to determine if the carrier deserves to keep the A+ designation or receive a different grade.

Finally, J.D. Power and Associates completed a ranking of auto insurance brands by region. They examined customer satisfaction in five areas of importance: interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, and claims. In 2017 J.D. Power took a look at all those categories and awarded Auto-Owners with the top honor for the Central, Florida, and North Central regions.

Claims Processing

Online searches can reveal just about anything you would like to know about an insurance carrier, including customer feedback. The majority of insurance complaints for any carrier are typically in relation to claims processing. Most people are disgruntled because they feel claims processing took too long or the insurance carrier did not pay enough to cover a claim.

Auto-Owners certainly has some of their own dissatisfied insureds venting online about the claims process. However, we have not been able to find anything unusual or concrete about these complaints. As we mentioned earlier, all independent organizations give Auto-Owners positive marks for their claims service as there is plenty of money in reserves.

Insurance companies are only as good as their claims process. After all, that’s why you purchase an insurance policy for your car, home, or life. When the time comes to file a claim, you want to be sure the process is swift and fair. Auto-Owners agrees with this philosophy and makes it clear to the public that they operate a “No Problem” claim service. Their website states the Auto-Owners claim mission is to pay all they owe on every claim, pay it as soon as they can, and be the best provider of claims service in the industry.

Furthermore, Auto-Owners provides the usual feature of emergency 24-hour claims service on weeknights, weekends and holidays. Their website also includes a “Report a Claim” and “Track a Claim” tools for their customers. Not to mention, Auto-Owners encourages their clients to rely on their neighborhood insurance agent for guidance throughout the claims process.

We found it interesting that Auto-Owners is actually moving away from centralizing claims operations. Instead they are opening over 100 claims breaches in 26 states so policyholders and agents are close to their local claims team.

Finally, it is worth noting J.D. Power ranked Auto-Owners highest in auto claims satisfaction nationwide as recently as 2015. So we contend there is no need for concern about Auto-Owners claims payment or handling. They certainly have enough money on hand and the service capabilities in place for a quick and easy claims experience.

Coverage Options

Auto-Owners has a menu of the usual vehicle insurance benefits like Liability, Collision and Comprehensive, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection, Roadside Assistance, Rental Car, Towing, Lease/Loan Gap Coverage, and Diminished Value Coverage. You can purchase any of these for your auto policy.

They also present a collection of several additional auto coverages, called the “Personal Automobile Plus Package”. The collection includes a variety of bonus coverages you may not find anywhere else. This package takes your average, everyday vehicle plan and cranks it up another level.

The Personal Automobile Plus Package includes all of these extra safeguards:

  • Re-keying of locks
  • Trip interruption when your vehicle becomes disabled
  • Waived or reduced deductibles in certain situations
  • Personal property stolen from vehicle
  • Damaged or lost cell phones
  • Stolen or damaged audio and video equipment
  • Damage to non-owned trailer
  • Legal expenses and bail bonds
  • Transportation expenses after your vehicle is stolen
  • Additional transportation (towing) costs
  • Expenses resulting from identity theft
  • Pet Medical Expenses
  • Full glass

Based on the name alone, you may assume Auto-Owners is only interested in covering your vehicle. That could not be farther from the truth! Auto-Owners has all the necessary insurance you’ll need to cover what’s most precious in your life.

For example, Auto-Owners can provide a long list of additional insurance such as:

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Umbrella
  • Farm
  • Pet
  • Motorcycle
  • RV
  • ATV
  • Trailer
  • Boat
  • Term Life
  • Whole Life
  • Annuity
  • Long-Term Care
  • Disability
  • Business Insurance
  • Antique/Classic Vehicles

Let’s not forget, bundling different Auto-Owners policies will earn you a Multi-Policy Discount. It’s something to keep in mind when shopping for insurance.

Social Responsibility

Auto-Owners Insurance Company is focused on supporting local communities where their agents, policyholders, and employees live. They look to wisely invest their philanthropic efforts into a variety of different programs and charities. Auto-Owners proudly partners with the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen, American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, and the March of Dimes.

Not to mention, Auto-Owners employees participate annually in a campaign to benefit the United Way. As you may know, the United Way is dedicated to finding challenges within a community and creating changes by developing a coalition of non-profit organizations, schools, government agencies, and other groups.

Auto-Owners takes giving back serious enough to jump start their own charitable program called A-O Gives Back. Earlier this year Auto-Owners introduced A-O Gives Back to their nation of associates. Each region receives the change to create a team of associates ready to tackle local, pre-approved charity events.

Conclusion

Our research made it easy to give Auto-Owners Insurance Company a high rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. For more than a century, Auto-Owners has continued to flourish while maintaining their financial stability. Throughout the company’s history they have developed new products and discounts, as well as expanded their coverage area.

For decades, Auto-Owners has maintained a very strong financial rating by A.M. Best. They also continue to be awarded positive feedback from J.D. Power & Associates, Better Business Bureau (BBB), National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and Standard & Poor’s. More than any other carrier we’ve reviewed, up until this point, Auto-Owners has remained consistent in their positive reviews. We have very little feedback indicating Auto-Owners does not deliver on its promise of “Safe. Sound. Secure.