JD Power 2012 West Region Auto Insurance Study: Companies Rated About Average

My last blog post showed you the two top rated companies in the JD Power West region auto insurance survey. But one of them limits eligibility to members of the military and their immediate family (USAA), and the other company, State Farm, did not score high enough above the region average, to make it worth paying a lot more, if State Farm does not have a competitive auto insurance rate for you. If USAA and State Farm won’t work for you, there are a few companies rated about average in the West region study you should consider. Also, if you live in the Western portion of the United States, and you are not insured with USAA or State Farm, it’s important to know how your auto insurance company ranked in this study.

Here are the next five highest scoring of the eleven companies included in the survey, all of them earning the rating of 3 power circles, or “about average,” for overall customer satisfaction. I’ll review each company’s score, and the ratings each company earned for the factors considered to make up the overall customer satisfaction rating, to help you decide if any of these companies are a good choice for you.

3. Geico Auto Insurance

Geico scored 808 points on a 1,000 point scale in this study, which is only 2 points less than the regional average score of 810 points.

Geico rated 3 power circles, about average, in the categories of Policy Offerings, Billing & Payment, and Contacting the Insurance Company.

However, Geico rated among the best, at 5 power circles, in the category of Pricing. This is a good signal, showing Geico has competitive car insurance rates, in the opinion of its customers living in the Western USA. It’s easy enough to find out for yourself how good Geico rates are for you, by contacting them for a quote. If you also get quotes from all the other insurance companies in this study, you will really know if Geico deserves to be considered among the best for Pricing.

4. American Family Auto Insurance

American Family scored 804 points out of 1,000 points in the Western regional study, only 4 points on a 1,000 point scale lest than Geico, and 6 points below the study average.

The ratings for the factors making up the overall customer satisfaction score for American Family are not impressive.

American Family rated 3 power circles (about average) for Policy Offerings & Contacting the Insurance Company.

For Pricing and Billing & Payment, American Family rated 2 power circles (the rest), which is the lowest rating.

If American Family has a good price for you, you don’t have to worry about the 2 power circle rating for Pricing. Consider American Family if they have a coverage option you need, not provided by better rated companies, or if they have a competitive price for you.

If you pay your auto insurance in one or two payments, you may not be too concerned with the 2 power circle rating for Billing & Payment. If you pay monthly, or by automatic payment from a bank account, you want to make sure you have a good agent to resolve billing problems, or to nip problems in the bud. Before you choose American Family, ask the agent about potential billing problems, how often they come up and why, and what the agent has done for customers in the past to solve or prevent them.

Although American Family rated 2 power circles in two categories, overall customer satisfaction is close to Geico, with Geico scoring only 4 points higher in the study. In fact, American Family scored one point better than The Hartford, which rated about average in all four categories.

American Family rated at about average for two categories, and below average for two categories, but still earned an overall satisfaction rating of “about average,” Considering its 804 point score, the two categories rated 2 power circles cannot be much below average.

5. The Hartford Auto Insurance

As mentioned above, The Hartford scored one point less than American Family in the West region study, with 803 points on the 1,000 point scale.

Hartford rated about average, or 3 power circles, in the four categories of Pricing, Billing & Payment, Policy Offerings, and Contacting the Insurance Company. However, rating average does not mean The Hartford won’t have an above average coverage option, or a better than average price for you. Get a quote and find out what the Hartford can do for you, particularly if you qualify for the Hartford auto insurance program for AARP members. You may also find its motorcycle or motor home insurance meets your needs the best.

6. Progressive Auto Insurance

Progressive scored 799 points out of 1,000 points, and 11 points below the regional average.

Progressive is strong in the area of Pricing, where it received a 4 power circle rating (better than most).

For Billing & Payment, and Policy Offerings, Progressive rated about average, at 3 power circles.

For Contacting the Insurance Company, Progressive rated 2 power circles (the rest).

This is not surprising to me. Progressive has significantly grown its auto insurance market share in the USA by competing on price. However, most customers buy direct from Progressive to get the best price, without a local agent, which can sometimes be a hassle contacting the insurance company. If you need personal service, or want a person responsible and accountable for your service, consider buying Progressive through an agent. It may or may not cost more than the auto insurance Progressive sells directly, but even when purchased through agents, Progressive can have very competitive rates.

Good rates are important, but having difficulty contacting and getting a response from your insurance company, when you need them, can be a major headache, and not worth the price savings. Make sure you can do business with Progressive in a way which will not frustrate you, before you choose them. If you are tech savvy, check out their website, to see how well it works for you. You don’t have to be on hold, waiting to talk to your insurance company, if you can get what you need done online.

7. Allstate Auto Insurance

Allstate scored 797 out of 1,000 points in the West region study, two points below Progressive, and 13 points below the regional average.

Allstate scored in the individual categories the same as American Family, only 7 points lower for overall customer satisfaction.

Allstate scored 3 power circles — about average — for Policy Offerings and Contacting the Insurance Company — and 2 power circles for Pricing and Billing & Payment.

I’m a strong believer in the idea your insurance company is only as good as your agent. A good agent can make insuring with an average insurance company an above-average experience. If Allstate has the right coverage options for you at a reasonable price, an Allstate agent truly focused on providing superior service can make selecting Allstate your best choice.

My next blog post will review the remaining 4 companies in the 2012 JD Power West region auto insurance study.

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 your cars insured with Geico, American Family, The Hartford, Progressive, or Allstate? What do you think about these JD Power ratings? Tell me about it. Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.