JD Power 2012 California Region Car Insurance Study: Companies Rated About Average

Here’s my next blog post in my series analyzing the company ratings for the 7 regional surveys composing the JD Power 2012 US auto insurance study. A prospective customer needs to know more about the information provided in the study, than an insurance company’s power circle rating for overall customer satisfaction, to choose the best car insurance company for them. In my last blog post, I showed how the companies rated “better than most” did not have scores much above average.

I think people make a mistake if they only consider insuring with companies rated 4 or 5 power circles, without considering the companies rated “about average.” Today, I will review the highest scores for the auto insurance companies rated 3 power circles, and factors considered in the Overall Satisfaction score.


Companies Rated & Ranked About Average for Customer Satisfaction by the JD Power 2012 California Region Auto Insurance Study

California Regional Average = 785 out of 1,000 points

7. Ameriprise Auto Insurance

Ameriprise is the highest scoring car insurance company in the California regional survey rated at 3 power circles (about average), with a score of 792 out of 1,000 points. This is only 6 points less, on a thousand point scale, than The Hartford, which received a 4 power circle rating (better than most) in the California study.

The strongest factor for Ameriprise was in the category of Pricing, rating 4 power circles, so those Ameriprise customers surveyed think the price they pay for auto insurance is better than most companies.

It’s easy to find out how good the price will be for you, by contacting Ameriprise for an auto insurance quote, and comparing it with the price quotes from the other leading car insurance companies in California. You can go to my web site here to find out more information about Ameriprise and other leading companies.

In the categories of Policy Offerings and Billing & Payment, Ameriprise was rated about average (3 power circles).

For the category of Contacting the Insurance Company, Ameriprise was rated below average, at 2 power circles (the rest). Ameriprise sells their insurance direct to the public. It may be some customers are displeased with hold times to reach a representative, or dislike talking to a different person every time they call, or other considerations making contact more difficult when you don’t have a local agent.

Ameriprise may have a great rate for you, but you may want to consider how easy it will be for you to get a response from them when you have a question, a problem, or a claim.

With a score of 792, Ameriprise is still 7 points higher on the 1,000 point scale than the California study average score of 785.

8. Safeco Auto Insurance

Safeco scored 786 points out of 1,0000 possible points, which is only 6 points less than Ameriprise, and 1 more point than the study average of 785.

Safeco did best in the categories of Contacting the Insurance Company, and Billing & Payment, earning 4 power circles (better then most.)

For Pricing, and the category of Policy Offerings, Safeco rated 3 power circles, or “about average.” It’s a good sign Safeco had no categories rated below average, at 2 power circles (the rest). It’s possible Safeco has better than average Pricing for you, so don’t rely on the survey results when it comes to pricing.

9. Mercury Auto Insurance

Mercury scored 780 points out of 1,000 points in this California region survey for overall customer satisfaction, which is 5 points less than the regional average of 785. Is Mercury really a below average company when it comes to customer satisfaction?

Let’s put it in what I think is the proper perspective:

The highest scoring company in the 4 power circle rating category (better than most), Auto Club of Southern California, scored 807 out of 1,000 points. If getting 1,000 out of 1,000 possible points is a perfect score of 100%, Auto Club of SC scored 80.7%, and Mercury scored 78%.

Would you pay more for a company getting 80.7%, over a company scoring 78%? Does 2.7% higher score really equal better service?

Don’t avoid getting quotes from companies scoring less than average in this survey, because most of the companies rated above average in this survey do not have scores significantly higher than most of the companies scoring below average.

Mercury received its highest rating of 4 power circles (better than most) in the Pricing category.

Mercury received 3 power circles, or “about average,” in the categories of Policy Offerings, Contacting the Insurance Company, and Billing & Payment. As with Safeco, its a good sign it was not rated at below average with 2 power circles in any category.

It makes sense to find out if Mercury has a price better than most companies for you.

10, NCNU / AAA (Formerly the California State Auto Association)

Keep in mind this is the AAA company of Northern California, Nevada, & Utah, not the AAA of Southern California, which scored better in this survey.

NCNU / AAA scored 779 out of 1,000 points in the California survey, which is only one point less than Mercury, and only 6 points less than the regional average.

NCNU AAA was rated about average, or 3 power circles, for all four categories of Pricing, Policy Offerings, Billing & Payment, and Contacting the Insurance Company.

11. Progressive Auto Insurance

Progressive scored 773 out of 1,000 points, which is 12 points less than the average for all auto insurance customers surveyed in the California region, at 785.

Like NCNU / AAA, Progressive rated 3 power circles (about average) in all categories, such as Policy Offerings, Pricing, Billing & Payment, and Contacting the Insurance Company.

Continuing with the pop quiz analogy I have been using in this blog series, USAA gets an “A-” with 91.2%. The other companies range from the next highest scoring company, Wawanesa, with a “B-” at 82.3%, to Progressive, with a “C+” at 77.3%.

Other than USAA, none of these companies score significantly high enough to convince me they provide higher customer satisfaction than the other companies.

My next blog post will review the scores of the remaining companies in the California study, and although some of these companies are rated at 2 power circles (the rest), you should consider them, if they have a competitive price for you, or cater to your insurance needs.

Many people pay too much for their insurance because they never shop for better rates, or if they do shop, they don’t check the rates of enough companies. For a lot of people, the best auto & home insurance companies are the ones with the coverage they need at a lower price. With auto & home insurance, you don’t get better service or coverage because you pay more. Some of the best companies have competitive rates. Some companies charge twice as much as others for the same coverage. But no single company has low rates for everyone. You have to shop with all the leading companies, to find the company with the best coverage and best price for you. The ad below will take you to links to get online quotes from leading Home, Auto, Health, & Life insurance companies in your area. Choose the type of insurance, put in your zip, and start shopping now!

Are you insured with AAA/NCNU, Ameriprise, Safeco, Mercury, or Progressive? Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.