Safety Insurance Review: Auto & Home, Condo, Renters Coverage

Safety Insurance is the third largest insurer of private passenger vehicles and the fourth largest insurer of homes in Massachusetts, but also sells auto & home insurance in New Hampshire. This review will discuss the important facts about Safety Insurance, and how it sells its insurance. This review also analyzes the JD Power customer service ratings, AM Best financial strength ratings, as well as the most recent three-year home & auto insurance customer complaint record for Safety Insurance, in comparison with major competitors like Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, & Progressive. My review will give you information to help you decide if Safety Insurance is a good choice to insure your car or home.


Safety Insurance Review

Safety Insurance began in 1979 and is based in Boston, MA. Safety Insurance Group, Inc. is the parent company of the Safety Insurance subsidiaries, Safety Insurance Company, Safety Indemnity Insurance Company, and Safety Property and Casualty Insurance Company.

What types of insurance does Safety Insurance sell? How do you get price quotes for Safety auto & home insurance?

Safety Insurance Group sells personal auto insurance, home insurance (homeowners, condo, & renters), dwelling insurance for non-owner occupied one-family or two-family homes, personal excess liability policies (also known as umbrella liability policies), and commercial auto insurance for businesses, in the states of Massachusetts & New Hampshire only. Safety Insurance sells its policies only through independent insurance agencies appointed to represent the Safety Insurance Group companies, located in communities throughout Massachusetts & New Hampshire. You cannot request a home or auto insurance price quote direct from Safety Insurance, or its website. You can find the agencies representing Safety Insurance nearest you, at the Safety insurance website. The best way to get an auto or home insurance price quote is to contact several local agents representing Safety Insurance, and request a quote from the agent or agency you think has the most expertise and best customer service.

Independent insurance agents representing Safety Insurance, most likely represent other auto & home insurance companies, too, and can recommend another company with better rates, coverage, or service. Don’t make the mistake of trusting only one agent or agency to shop your auto or home insurance for you, because they don’t represent many important companies selling direct to the public or through their own agents, such as GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Amica, USAA, or the Progressive companies selling direct to the public.

Safety Insurance seems to have many additional coverage options and money-saving discounts popular among the leading national auto & home insurance companies. When evaluating discounts, don’t be impressed by getting many discounts or large discounts. Make sure the agent quoting you gives you all the discounts you should get, but focus on the bottom line price, not the number or amount of discounts. If another company can offer you a lower price for the same coverage, but with less discounts, it’s still the better deal. As for coverage options, make sure paying more for an optional coverage is worth the money. For example, paying 25% more for having accident forgiveness, so you don’t pay higher rates if you have an at-fault accident, may cost you more if you usually have an at-fault accident every five years or longer. Likewise, paying more for a disappearing collision deductible may cost you more over time, than the savings you see if you have a collision claim.

Safety auto insurance policies offer auto loan / lease gap coverage, and not all auto insurance companies have a gap coverage option for auto loans or leases. This can be a very important coverage option if you owe a lot more on your car than it’s total loss value, so discuss if you or your car qualifies with your agent, if you are or will be upside down on your car financing.

The rest of this Safety Insurance review is divided into six sections, consisting of: 1. The AM Best Financial Strength ratings for the Safety Insurance Group companies, 2. Any recent JD Power ratings for Safety Insurance, 3. the auto insurance customer complaint ratings for the Safety Insurance companies, 4. the home insurance customer complaint ratings for the Safety Insurance companies, 5. the level of Safety Insurance customer complaints compared to the top four leading competitors — State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, & GEICO 6. a Safety Insurance review summary either recommending Safety Insurance or other companies, as better choices for your auto or home insurance.

1. AM Best Financial Strength Rating for the Safety Insurance Group Companies

The Safety Insurance Group companies, Safety Insurance Company, Safety Indemnity Insurance Company, and Safety Property and Casualty Insurance Company, had their “A” (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) reaffirmed on 04/14/2015, a rating these companies have maintained since 2011 or longer. The AM Best rating of “A” is the third highest rating for AM Best.

The AM Best financial strength ratings for the Safety Insurance Group subsidiaries are not a measure of customer service or the quality of claims adjusting, but an opinion of these companies’ ability to pay claims, remain financially solvent, and stay in business. I always recommend avoiding, if possible or practical, any auto or property (home, condo, mobile home, renters) insurance company with lower than an “A-” rating for financial strength from AM Best.

Source: Safety Insurance Company AM Best ratings

2. JD Power US Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study Ratings for Safety Insurance

The annual JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Studies are now devised of many regional or single state studies. Safety Insurance is included in the New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine) study (called the Northeast study in 2012, including New York state) only, which makes sense, since Safety sells car insurance only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I’ll compare this JD Power regional study scores and ratings for Safety Insurance with the largest national auto insurance companies.

2015 New England Study

Safety scored 10 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 1% below the 2015 New England region average, at 791 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Safety rated in the New England Region for the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2015:

Policy Offerings: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)

Price: Three Power Circles (about average)

Billing & Payment: Three Power Circles (about average)

Interaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)

Overall Customer Satisfaction: Three Power Circles (about average)

Hartford, Metlife, and Travelers scored about the same as Safety in the 2015 New England Region study.

These companies scored .5% or more higher than Safety in the 2015 New England Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA, Amica, State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, GEICO, and Progressive.

These companies scored .5% or more lower than Safety in the 2015 New England Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): Safeco, Nationwide, Plymouth Rock Assurance, Arbella, and MAPFRE-Commerce.

2014 New England Study

Almost all the auto insurance companies rated in the 2014 New England regional scored much higher than Safety Insurance.

Safety Insurance received the lowest rating of two power circles for auto insurance customer satisfaction, scoring 772 points out of 1,000 points. Safety Insurance scored 23 points (2.3%) lower than the NE regional average score of 795 points on the 1,000 point scale. State Farm scored 833 out of 1,000 points, 61 points (6.1%) more than Safety Insurance, making it the major competitor with the greatest measure (per the study’s results) of higher auto insurance customer satisfaction than Safety Insurance. Nationwide scored 42 points (4.2%) above Safety Insurance, and The Hartford scored 30 points (3%) above Safety Insurance. Allstate & Progressive both scored slightly below the New England regional study’s average score, but Allstate scored 20 points (2%) above Safety Insurance, and Progressive scored 19 points (1.9%) above Safety Insurance. GEICO scored only 9 points above Safety Insurance, but GEICO still scored 14 points below the NE study average. In 2014, only two companies scored lower than Safety Insurance: Metlife auto insurance & The Hanover, with Travelers scoring about the same.

Safety’s auto insurance rated about average in the categories of customer / company interaction & claims, but received the lowest rating of two power circles for all other categories, including Pricing. Safety Insurance’s auto insurance customer satisfaction score improved a lot from 2012 & 2013, but auto insurance customer satisfaction was up a lot for almost all auto insurance companies in the 2014 study. Safety Insurance was 2.3% below the 2014 NE study average, where it was 2.9% below the NE study average in 2013, and 3.1% below the NE study average in 2012.

2013 New England Study

All the auto insurance companies included in the 2013 NE regional study scored higher than Safety Insurance, making Safety the lowest scoring auto insurance company in the region for 2013.

Safety Insurance received the lowest rating of two power circles for auto insurance customer satisfaction, scoring 740 points out of 1,000 points. Safety Insurance scored 23 points (2.9%) lower than the New England regional average score of 769 points on the 1,000 point scale. As with the 2014 NE region study, State Farm & The Hartford were among the major national companies scoring the highest above Safety Insurance, and scoring slightly more than 2% above the 2013 New England regional average. However, in the 2013 NE study, GEICO scored the same as State Farm.

2012 Northeast Study

Almost all the auto insurance companies rated in the 2014 New England regional scored higher than Safety Insurance, except Arbella Insurance and The Hanover.

As in 2013 & 2014, Safety’s auto insurance received the lowest rating of two power circles, scoring 753 points out of 1,000 points, which is 31 points (3.1%) lower than the 2012 Northeast study’s average score of 784 points on the 1,000 point scale. GEICO, State Farm & Progressive scored higher than the 2012 NE regional study average, and much better than Safety Insurance.

Bottom line: Safety auto insurance scores consistently below (1% to 3.1%) the NE average for the annual JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study each year from 2012 to 2015, so its customers should expect below average auto insurance satisfaction.

Source: JD Power Insurance Ratings

Safety Insurance Group Complaint Statistics & Ratings

I analyze the most recent three-year complaint records for the Safety Insurance Companies in the next two sections for auto insurance complaints and for home (homeowners, condo, renters) insurance complaints. I also look at the growth or reduction in annual premium each year, as an indication of low or high pricing.

The most common reasons, for people to file auto & home insurance complaints with a state insurance department against insurance companies are for claims, such as delays in a claim payment, unsatisfactory payment of a claim, or denial of a claim. The complaint statistics used in this Safety Insurance review are the number of upheld complaints filed against each of the Safety Insurance subsidiary companies with a state’s insurance regulatory authority (MA or NH), adjusted for each company’s market share, as determined by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This Safety Insurance review provides valuable information to help you decide if Safety Insurance is the right insurance company for you. By choosing a company with a better-than-average complaint history, or at least avoiding companies with consistent, worse-than-average complaint records, you decrease the likelihood you will have a negative experience, when you need your auto or home insurance company the most.

Source: Home & auto insurance complaint ratios & annual written premiums obtained from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website

3. Safety Insurance Group Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Here’s how I establish my auto insurance complaint ratings:

B = Better than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios less than 75% of the average insurance company.

C = Average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios from 75% to 125% of the average insurance company.

W = Worse than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios more than 125% of the average insurance company.

Safety Insurance Group has only one of its three subsidiary companies selling personal auto insurance, Safety Insurance Company.

Safety Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.27)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $467,430,037

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.31)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $459,064,871

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.18)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $436,175,402

Safety Insurance Company, operating in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, has had a much lower than average auto insurance complaint record over the last three years, with its number of auto insurance complaints, in its worst year during this period, at 31% of the industry average. The auto insurance market share for Safety Insurance Company has increased each year since 2011, which may indicate competitive pricing for its auto insurance in Massachusetts or New Hampshire.

4. Safety Insurance Group Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Here’s how I establish my home insurance complaint ratings:

B = Better than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios less than 75% of the average insurance company.

C = Average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios from 75% to 125% of the average insurance company.

W = Worse than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios more than 125% of the average insurance company.

All three subsidiary companies comprising the Safety Insurance Group offer home insurance (homeowners, condominium, or renters insurance).

Safety Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.57)

2013 US home insurance premium = $42,416,253

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.55)

2012 US home insurance premium = $38,656,655

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2011 US home insurance premium = $35,004,653

Safety Insurance Company, operating in Massachusetts & New Hampshire, had an inconsistent home insurance complaint record over the last three years, with its number of home insurance complaints lower than average in 2011 & 2013, but at 55% more than the industry average in 2012. I prefer to choose insurance companies with consistent lower than average number of complaints year after year. Sometimes with subsidiary companies having smaller market shares, only a few complaints will result in much higher than average complaint ratios. This is not the case for Safety Insurance Company in 2012. Although the amount of home insurance customers for Safety Insurance Company is about 1/10th the size of its auto insurance business, the home insurance market share for Safety Insurance Company has increased by each year since 2011, which may indicate competitive pricing for its homeowners insurance in Massachusetts or New Hampshire.

Safety Indemnity Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No Complaints)

2013 US home insurance premium = $85,104,092

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2012 US home insurance premium = $76,894,566

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.12)

2011 US home insurance premium = $69,389,211

Safety Indemnity Insurance Company sells home insurance (Homeowners, Condominium, Renters) in Massachusetts & New Hampshire, but does not sell auto insurance. Safety Indemnity Insurance company has a great, much lower than average home insurance complaint record over the last three years, with no home insurance complaints in 2012 & 2013, and a home insurance complaint record only 12% of the industry average in 2011. Safety Indemnity Insurance Company is the largest insurer of homes among the Safety Insurance Group subsidiary companies. The home insurance market share for Safety Indemnity Insurance Company has increased by each year since 2011, which may indicate competitive pricing for its homeowners insurance in Massachusetts or New Hampshire.

Safety Property & Casualty Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No Complaints)

2013 US home insurance premium = $11,096,695

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2012 US home insurance premium = $9,958,117

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2011 US home insurance premium = $8,032,304

Safety Property & Casualty Insurance Company sells home insurance (Homeowners, Condominium, Renters) in Massachusetts & New Hampshire, but does not sell auto insurance. Safety Property & Casualty Insurance company has a perfect home insurance complaint record over the last three years, with no home insurance complaints in 2011, 2012, & 2013. However, Safety Property & Casualty Insurance Company has very few home insurance customers, and it’s home insurance business is about 8 times smaller than the Safety Indemnity Insurance Company subsidiary. The home insurance market share for Safety Property & Casualty Insurance Company has increased by each year since 2011, which may indicate competitive pricing for its homeowners insurance in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, but it’s small home insurance market share may mean many people won’t qualify for a home insurance policy with this subsidiary.

5. Safety Insurance Group Company Complaints compared to Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, & Progressive Insurance

For personal auto insurance, Safety Insurance has a better three year auto insurance complaint record than most of the Allstate, GEICO, & Progressive subsidiaries, and comparable to the largest State Farm auto insurance subsidiary.

For home insurance, if you are eligible for the Safety Indemnity Insurance Company subsidiary, it has a better three year home insurance complaint record than State Farm or Allstate (GEICO & Progressive sell the home insurance of other companies, acting as an agent). However, State Farm or Allstate may be preferable if you qualify only for home insurance with the Safety Insurance Company subsidiary, due to its 2012 home insurance complaint record.

6. Safety Insurance Review Summary

Although Safety Insurance has a history of very good auto insurance complaint statistics, its poor scores in the 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015 JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction studies are a point of concern. For homeowners insurance, Safety Insurance Company’s home insurance complaint record in 2012 is a concern. Safety Insurance is sold through independent insurance agents usually representing other auto & home insurance companies, so any independent insurance agency quoting you Safety Insurance may recommend another company. Consider Safety Insurance if it has competitive auto or home insurance rates for you or better coverage, and you feel confident the agent selling you the policy will give you the excellent customer service you deserve. As I mentioned earlier in this review, you can rely on choosing one agent to shop the auto & home insurance market for you. I always recommend speaking with several companies and agents, to make sure you get the best advice, and don’t overpay for coverage or fail to have the level of coverage you need.

Many auto & home owners make the mistake of never shopping with other auto & home insurance companies. If you shop with enough companies, you’ll find many insurance companies charge a lot more than other companies for the same coverage, or some companies offer much better coverage for the same price. However, no 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!

What do you know about Safety auto & home insurance? Did you find this Safety Insurance review helpful to you? Comment or ask me questions on my facebook page. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news & new blog entries at CarInsWatch.