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July 6, 2021
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Mercury Insurance started out with only six team members, 90 agents, and a founder (George Joseph) that believed providing excellent service at affordable rates was possible. Today Mr. Joseph still oversees Mercury’s $4 billion operation based in Los Angeles. Throughout 11 different states the carrier relies on more than 8,000 agents to sell a variety of products including auto, homeowners, landlord, condo, umbrella, and commercial business policies. Although Mercury has lived up to the promise of low-cost auto insurance, it seems the insurer hasn’t quite achieved the impressive level of customer service they originally set out to deliver.
Last year Mercury booked a healthy $176 million in total premiums, of which 28% (or $48 million) can be attributed to their private passenger product. Even though Mercury may not be a household name when it comes to insurance, like GEICO or Progressive, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a good amount of cash available. Mercury insureds can feel assured the carrier has the ability to pay claims. The insurance carrier has high financial strength ratings based on industry standards. Mercury continues to maintain an “A+ (Excellent)” A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating.
Mercury has been able to grow their business based mainly on selling auto coverage with low rates. Multiple reports indicate the carrier’s premiums come in about 25% below their competitor’s auto rates. In fact, Mercury is one of the most affordable California auto insurers available for young motorists, as well as drivers with a DUI, an at-fault crash, or speeding tickets.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance in Your Area
Despite already having low cost auto plans, Mercury takes savings a step further by offering their customers a standard list of premium discounts as well.
- E-signature: Buy an auto plan online and bind coverage with a digital signature
- Multi-car: Insuring more than one vehicle through Mercury.
- Multi-policy: Purchase multiple insurance policies through Mercury, like auto and home.
- Good student: Students insured on the policy that maintain grades at a certain level.
- Anti-theft: Vehicles on the policy that have anti-theft devices, like an alarm system.
- Auto pay: Customers that set up their premium payments to automatically draft.
- Good driver: Any insureds on the policy that goes for a designated amount of time without getting into a crash or receiving a ticket.
- Pay in full: Insureds that pay their entire auto insurance premium up front.
One of their nine auto discounts, RealDrive, can give insureds a 5% discount just for joining and staying in the program. Insurance companies use the driver’s estimated annual mileage to influence the final premium amount. By joining RealDrive, insureds get the chance to possibly lower (based on actual driving data) their overall mileage and, therefore, lower their premium.
When it comes to reviewing Mercury, this is the area that gets a little confusing. Overall customer satisfaction seems to be mixed and doesn’t quite reach the high standards Mr. Joseph established from the outset. On the insurer’s website, they market an overall positive insured rating of 4.7/5.0 stars based on more than 5,000 insured reviews. The affirmative client reviews tend to focus on Mercury being affordable, easy to purchase, and giving good service. Yet on the same web page shoppers will find a few negative Mercury reviews talking about poor customer service that covers a range of topics.
The insurer isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but does have an A- rating with them. Based on the BBB, Mercury received a total of 124 customer complaints of which 70% were specific to poor customer service. For this reason, BBB gave the carrier a 1.25 star out of 5.0 stars consumer rating.
We also explored the NAIC National Complaint Index Report which reveals an interesting story. In 2017 and 2018, Mercury had three times the number of complaints than the national average. However, in the most recent report, the insurer has made a vast improvement by earning a drastically lower (0.36) complaint index number than the national average (1.00). It seems that maybe the insurance company recognized an improvement in customer service was long overdue and has begun making those positive changes.
Perhaps the most important aspect of any insurance carrier is their claims handling. That’s because drivers expect that their claims needs will be met without delays or complications. As is the case with most auto insurers, Mercury claims representatives are available 24/7 to accept reports of new property losses. However, some motorists may not like the fact that Mercury doesn’t have any electronic claim filing options. Unfortunately, the insurance company’s website doesn’t provide any insight into details like their overall claims philosophy or average turnaround times.
JD Power & Associates ranked Mercury “below average” in their 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. In fact, Mercury is ranked 23rd out of the 24 auto insurance carriers that were reviewed. JD Power based their study on claims that were settled within the previous six months of the review.
Of course, you must keep in mind that it’s very common for insureds to be dissatisfied with their insurer’s claims processing, whether their concerns are warranted or not. Also, per the NAIC website, we must remember Mercury seems to be on track to improving their operations, including claims processing, as we’ve seen a significant drop in the total number of consumer criticisms.
The carrier sells all the traditional auto protections shoppers expect such as liability coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical payments coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP). In addition to the standard car insurance options, Mercury has a few add-on benefits that can be included for a more robust policy.
Insureds can buy Mercury Mechanical Protection to serve as an extended warranty for their car. Once the manufacturer’s warranty expires, drivers can use this insurance to pay for major car repairs, like engine problems. Motorists may pick from a few different coverage levels for used and new cars, up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
In addition, insureds with the Mercury Mechanical Protection will also get free access to 24-hour roadside assistance, road hazard tire protection, trip interruption coverage, and rental vehicle assistance.
Uber and Lyft drivers will appreciate Mercury’s acceptance of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) freelancers. Some big carriers prefer to stay away from rideshare drivers, but Mercury has embraced this group by offering Ride-Hailing Coverage. Basically, this means Mercury will cover the rideshare motorist while they are in between fares for as little as $.09 per day.
As do most auto insurers, Mercury also sells a Roadside Assistance program for their motorists. This benefit covers towing, tire changes, vehicle lockouts, and battery recharges. This roadside service has a range of coverage, from $75 to $1,000 per roadside occurrence. Mercury provides a dedicated toll-free number for insureds that break down and need emergency assistance.
Mercury insureds can also add Rental Car Coverage onto their policy for a minimal fee. This benefit will reimburse the driver should they need to rent a vehicle. There are a few different coverage limits ranging from $30 per day to $100 per day. Mercury’s pricing for their rental program is comparable to other auto carriers, rates range between $22 per year and $75 per year.
Mercury Insurance can often offer reasonable rates to most drivers, particularly if you are young or have a sketchy driving record (e.g. tickets, accidents, DUIs). However, Mercury’s dodgy customer service record makes their competitive rates a lot less appealing.
However, if you put value on a good customer service record, you might be better off using a carrier like Progressive or GEICO. They both have competitive rates and a better customer service record that Mercury. Feel free to read our reviews of Progressive and GEICO to learn more about them.