North Carolina Farm Bureau Review: Auto & Home Insurance Complaints, AM Best & JD Power Ratings

NC residents may know North Carolina Farm Bureau is a major insurer of homes, trucks, and automobiles in their state, but how does North Carolina Farm Bureau compare to other major car & home insurance companies competing in the Tar Heel State, such as Progressive, GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Travelers, Safeco, Auto-owners & Liberty Mutual? This review analyzes the JD Power customer satisfaction ratings, AM Best financial strength ratings, and the most recent three-year home & auto insurance customer complaint records for the North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance companies, and compares them with major competitors. There is a lot of useful information in this review, but if you don’t want to read the entire review, you can skip to my review summary in the last section (section #7), to find out if my analysis concludes the auto & home insurance customer service, claims handling, and rates for NC Farm Bureau is below average, average, or above average. Reading this review can help you decide if North Carolina Farm Bureau is a good company to insure your cars, trucks, or home.


North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Review

This North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance review is divided into seven parts, consisting of: 1. an overview of the company, the North Carolina Farm Bureau website, and the best way to get auto or home insurance price quotes, 2. The AM Best Financial Strength ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, 3. The JD Power auto & home insurance customer satisfaction ratings for the North Carolina Farm Bureau, 4. the auto insurance customer complaint ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company over the last three years, 5. the home insurance customer complaint ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company over the last three years, 6. North Carolina Farm Bureau auto & home insurance compared to major competitors, and 7. a North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance review summary, rating the company average, better than average, or below average, based on its annual auto & home insurance complaint records & ratings over the last few years.

1. North Carolina Farm Bureau, its website, and requesting auto & home insurance price quotes

Here’s some basic information potential customers should know about North Carolina Farm Bureau:

About North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance

North Carolina Farm Bureau has been insuring autos & homes in NC since 1953, through North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders. North Carolina Farm Bureau sells auto, home, mobile home, farm, personal liability umbrella, and business insurance through North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and life insurance through Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. North Carolina Farm Bureau agent offices are located in all 100 counties of North Carolina, and it’s the largest domestic property & casualty insurance company in the state. North Carolina Farm Bureau is available to NC residents, whether they are farmers or non-farmers, but membership in the North Carolina Farm Bureau is required. Membership in North Carolina Farm Bureau currently costs $25 a year.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Website & Getting Auto or Home Insurance Price Quotes

North Carolina Farm Bureau customers can create an account on the company website to pay a bill or file a claim. However, North Carolina Farm Bureau does not provide auto or home insurance price quotes online, nor can you request a quote online direct from the company, but the website will provide the contact information for a NC Farm Bureau agent near you, whom you can contact to quote your auto, home, or other insurance needs.

Source: North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance website

2. AM Best Financial Strength Rating for the North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance companies

North Carolina Farm Bureau has two insurance company subsidiaries: North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc. had their “A” (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating with a stable outlook (no possible ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) reaffirmed on 04/27/2015, which it has maintained since at least 2011. The AM Best rating of “A” is the third highest rating for AM Best.

AM Best financial strength ratings are not a measure of customer service or the quality of the claims adjusting for the North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance companies, but an opinion about their ability to pay claims, remain financially solvent, and stay in business. I recommend avoiding, if possible or practical, any auto or homeowners insurance company with lower than an “A-” rating for financial strength from AM Best. Some major auto & home insurance companies have higher financial strength ratings than the North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance companies, but the difference in financial strength among A++, A+, A, & A- rated companies is not significant to me unless higher rated companies are the same or better in terms of price, coverage, claims handling, and customer service.

Source: AM Best Rating for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company

3. JD Power Auto & Home Insurance Customer Satisfaction Ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau

North Carolina Farm Bureau is included in only one of the annual JD Power insurance studies: The JD Power US Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study for the Southeast region.

2015: North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 1 point (on a 1,000 point scale) or .1% above the 2015 Southeast region average, at 826 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how North Carolina Farm Bureau rated in the Southeast 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: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Billing & Payment: Three Power Circles (about average)

Interaction: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)

Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)

Overall Customer Satisfaction: Three Power Circles (about average)

Kentucky Farm Bureau, State Farm, and Auto-Owners scored about the same (within 4 points below) as North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2015 Southeast Region study

These companies scored .3% or more higher than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2015 Southeast Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA, Tennessee Farm Bureau, Alfa, Allstate, and Progressive.

These companies scored 1% or more lower than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2015 Southeast Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): GEICO, Nationwide, Travelers, Liberty Mutual, and Safeco.

2014: North Carolina Farm Bureau scored the highest of the auto insurance companies in the SE study available in the state of North Carolina, other than USAA (USAA is available only to the families of the US military and honorably discharged veterans), which scored much higher than all auto insurance companies surveyed in the Southeast region. North Carolina Farm Bureau received the highest JD Power rating of five power circles for overall auto insurance customer satisfaction in the SE region, scoring 843 out of 1,000 points. North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 27 points or 2.7% above the 2014 Southeast regional study average.

Here is how North Carolina Farm Bureau rated in the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2014:

Policy Offerings: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Price: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Billing & Payment: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Interaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)

In spite of it higher than average score and highest JD Power rating for overall auto insurance satisfaction in 2014, I would not consider any auto insurance company receiving only a three power circle rating (about average) for claims as being among the best.

2013: North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 17 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 1.7% above the 2013 Southeast regional study average, at 821 out of 1,000 points.

2012: North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 9 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or .9% above the 2012 Southeast regional study average, at 823 out of 1,000 points.

Summary: North Carolina Farm Bureau has scored above the SE regional auto insurance customer satisfaction study average each year from 2012 to 2014, but its satisfaction score has dropped close to average for 2015. In the categories of Interaction & Policy Offerings, North Carolina Farm Bureau received the lowest JD Power rating in 2015. For the claims category, North Carolina Farm Bureau rated average in 2014 & 2015.

2015 may not be the start of a trend of lower auto insurance customer satisfaction, but I’d consider North Carolina Farm Bureau to provide average auto insurance customer satisfaction at this time, although the company retains a better than average rating for Pricing.

4. Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau

The complaint ratios for the North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance companies listed below display the ratio of the company’s U.S. Market Share of closed complaints compared to the company’s U.S. Market Share of premiums for a specific policy type. Complaint ratios lower than “1” have less complaints than average, and complaint ratios over “1” have more complaints than average. The lower the complaint ratio, the less complaints against the company. Ideally, you want to choose an auto or home insurance company with complaint ratios less than 1.00 each year, at least over the most recent three years.

So you don’t have to worry about comparing complaint ratio numbers, I devised a rating system to help you identify a good or poor complaint record.

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. I use a minus sign (-) to indicate auto insurance complaint ratios slightly worse than average (1.01 to 1.25) and a plus sign (+) for auto insurance complaint ratios slightly better than average (.99 to .75).

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

North Carolina Farm Bureau has two subsidiaries insuring personal use vehicles in North Carolina: North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.55)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $457,922,471

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.52)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $451,524,360

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.35)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $445,652,175

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company insures vehicles garaged in the state of North Carolina only.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has a consistent, better-than-average auto insurance complaint history from 2011 to 2013, with the number of auto insurance complaints in its worst year (2013) during this period, still at only 55% of the industry average. I prefer to choose auto insurance companies with a consistent history of lower than average number of auto insurance complaints each year, like North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.

The auto insurance market share for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company increased each year since 2011, which may be a sign North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has competitive auto insurance rates.

Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc. Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

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

2013 US auto insurance premium = $1,470,783

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No Complaints)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $1,809,011

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No Complaints)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $2,348,752

Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc. has a better-than-average auto insurance complaint history, with no auto insurance complaints each year from 2011 to 2013. The auto insurance market share for Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc. decreased each year since 2011, and it had an extremely small share of the NC auto insurance market at its largest in 2011, which may be a indication Farm Bureau Insurance of N.C. Inc. is no longer selling new policies or does not have competitive rates.

5. Home Insurance (Homeowners & Renters) Complaint Statistics & Ratings for North Carolina Farm Bureau

My home insurance complaint rating definitions are the same as my auto insurance complaint rating definitions, and the home insurance complaint ratios work the same as the auto insurance complaint ratios, where you want to see complaint ratios less than 1.00 each year, over the last three years.

Here’s how I determine 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. I use a minus sign (-) to indicate home insurance complaint ratios slightly worse than average (1.01 to 1.25) and a plus sign (+) for home insurance complaint ratios slightly better than average (.99 to .75).

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

North Carolina Farm Bureau has one subsidiary providing residential (homeowners, condo, renters) insurance in North Carolina, called North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.47)

2013 US home insurance premium = $279,252,149

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.72)

2012 US home insurance premium = $270,229,763

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.61)

2011 US home insurance premium = $277,936,534

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company insures homes & mobile homes located in the state of North Carolina only.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has a consistent, better-than-average home insurance complaint history from 2011 to 2013, with the number of home insurance complaints in its worst year (2011) during this period, at 72% of the industry average. I prefer to choose home insurance companies with a consistent history of lower than average number of home insurance complaints each year, like North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.

The home insurance market share for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company increased from 2012 to 2013, after dropping from 2011 to 2012, which may be a sign it now has more competitive home insurance rates.

6. North Carolina Farm Bureau compared to Progressive, GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Safeco, Travelers, & Auto-owners Auto & Home Insurance

Although there are sometimes less than a 1% difference in auto insurance customer satisfaction scores among companies, the insurance industry does not have a reputation for good customer service, so it’s wise to choose an insurance company with consistently higher than average customer satisfaction scores, or switch to an insurance company consistently performing better than the insurance company you have now.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Auto Insurance compared to:

Progressive: Progressive auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 2.6% or more higher than Progressive each year.

GEICO: GEICO auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring .8% or more higher than GEICO each year.

State Farm: State Farm auto insurance has about the same JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores as North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012 and 2013 Southeast region studies. In 2014, North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 24 points (2.4%) higher than State Farm.

Allstate: Allstate auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 1.7% higher than Allstate in 2012, and much more higher than 1.7% above Allstate in 2013 & 2014.

Nationwide: Nationwide auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 2.2% or more higher than Nationwide each year.

Liberty Mutual: Liberty Mutual auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 1.1% or more higher than Liberty Mutual each year.

Safeco: Safeco auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 2.6% or more higher than Safeco each year.

Travelers: Travelers auto insurance has lower JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Southeast region studies, with North Carolina Farm Bureau scoring 3% or more higher than Travelers each year.

Auto-owners: Auto-owners auto insurance had about the same (2 & 4 points lower respectively) JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction scores as North Carolina Farm Bureau in the 2013 and 2014 Southeast region studies. In 2012, North Carolina Farm Bureau scored 21 points (2.1%) higher than Auto-owners, with Auto-owners scoring 1.2% below the 2012 SE region average.

Summary: State Farm & Auto-Owners Insurance are the only companies coming close to providing the same level of auto insurance customer satisfaction in North Carolina as North Carolina Farm Bureau, with the exception of USAA, which provides a much higher level of auto insurance customer satisfaction than all other auto insurance companies in the Southeast region, as measured by JD power. However, Auto-Owners Insurance rated higher than North Carolina Farm Bureau in the very important category of claims, in the most recent 2014 JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction study.

North Carolina Farm Bureau home insurance compared to competing companies in North Carolina:

JD Power does not include North Carolina Farm Bureau in any of its home insurance studies.

Based on the recent home insurance complaint ratios for North Carolina Farm Bureau, North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has home insurance complaint records about the same or better than almost any other home insurance companies insuring homes in North Carolina.

7. North Carolina Farm Bureau Auto & Home Insurance Review Summary

Here’s my summary to give you the bottom line on the customer satisfaction & rates for the auto & home insurance of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, to see if it performs better than average, average, or worse than average.

North Carolina Farm Bureau has very good auto insurance complaint statistics from 2011 to 2013, and consistently above average scores in JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction studies.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction & Claims Handling:

Better Than Average

Because North Carolina Farm Bureau is not rated for home insurance satisfaction in any recent JD Power studies, my evaluation for its home insurance is limited to its three year home insurance complaint statistics for North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. North Carolina Farm Bureau has a good homeowners insurance complaint record from 2011 to 2013, but there is more to providing better-than-average customer service than not having customers file complaints with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Insurance companies with great reputations for customer service, like Amica, USAA, & others, consistently scoring above average in JD Power customer satisfaction studies, usually do so for both auto & home insurance. Using the performance of North Carolina Farm Bureau in recent JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction studies as a proxy for its level of home insurance customer satisfaction, I think North Carolina Farm Bureau home insurance customers should expect better than average customer service. Please be aware the agent or agency you choose also can have a big impact on the quality of the customer service you receive.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Home Insurance Customer Satisfaction & Claims Handling:

Better Than Average

I summarize the auto & home insurance customer & claims satisfaction in this same way for over 40 other major companies on my homepage. Compare North Carolina Farm Bureau with other insurance companies at: smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Auto & Home Insurance Rates

For pricing, the most reliable way to know if any auto or home insurance company is over-priced is to conduct your own pricing survey, by requesting price quotes from all the leading auto & homeowners insurance companies in your state to find the best company for you. However, JD Power studies, and a company’s recent rapid increase or decrease in market share, may indicate whether a certain insurance company has higher or lower auto or home insurance rates. Large growth in the last year is a strong sign of low insurance rates, but a company’s size or market share growth can sometimes have more to do with advertising than competitive rates.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has seen only a slight increase in its North Carolina auto insurance market share (a little over 1% each year) since 2011, but received an “among the best” rating of five power circles, in the category of pricing for the 2014 JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction study. After losing home insurance market share from 2011 to 2012, the NC home insurance market share for North Carolina bounced back in 2013, to be slightly more than 2011. North Carolina Farm Bureau sells a lot more auto than home insurance, when comparing the annual direct premiums collected for each line of business, so it may be the case its auto insurance rates are more competitive than its home insurance rates. However, North Carolina Farm Bureau offers a home and auto discount. Considering the usually large price savings for insuring your auto & home insurance with the same company, shoppers would be wise to get quotes for both North Carolina Farm Bureau auto & homeowners insurance, if they own homes.

However, please remember no single insurance company has low rates for every person’s situation, and you can’t depend on reviews, pricing studies, or the opinions of other people, to find the auto or home insurance companies with the best rates for you. It can be an expensive mistake to make assumptions about an auto or home insurance company’s rates without getting a price quote, and it’s best to shop with all the major insurance companies operating in your state, but here’s some pricing information about other insurance companies to help you comparison shop:

The following companies offering auto insurance in North Carolina also received the highest JD Power rating for pricing in the 2014 JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction study for the Southeast region: GEICO and USAA.. Auto-Owners also received an above average rating for pricing, so Auto-Owners also has competitive auto insurance rates for some drivers.

The following companies insuring homes in North Carolina rated better than average for pricing in the 2014 JD Power homeowners insurance customer satisfaction study: AMICA, GEICO, HARTFORD, and AUTO-OWNERS..

It really pays to shop. Auto & homeowners insurance companies charge twice as much or more than other companies for the same coverage depending on each customers specific circumstances. Like with any auto or home insurance company, if you are insured with North Carolina Farm Bureau, you may have good rates or you may be able to save a lot of money, while keeping the same or getting better coverage, by insuring with another company.

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. With auto & home insurance, you don’t get better service or coverage because you pay more. Some of the best companies have competitive rates. 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!

Information & sources used in this review are explained here.

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