Safeway Insurance Review: Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints, AM Best, BBB, & JD Power Ratings

Safeway insurance group, not to be confused with the grocery chain store, sells mainly nonstandard auto insurance through local independent insurance agencies located throughout 13 U.S. states. Nonstandard auto insurance is auto insurance for higher risk drivers some standard or preferred auto insurance companies won’t insure, such as newly licensed or inexperienced drivers, drivers with too many tickets or accidents, or a major driving violation (DUI, DUII, DWI, Reckless driving) or recent license suspension. Does Safeway Insurance have too many customer complaints? How does Safeway compare to competing auto insurance companies like Progressive & GEICO? This blog post will review Safeway Insurance, evaluating its JD Power, AM Best, BBB (Better Business Bureau) ratings, and customer complaints over the last three years, to let you know if Safeway Insurance has a better than average, average, or worse than average complaint record or competitive auto insurance rates.

The information in this review can help you decide if Safeway is a good company to insure your cars or trucks. The smart insurance shopper checks their eligibility with all the major companies for the right combination of coverage, acceptable claims & customer service, and best price for them. Be sure to use the ad below this paragraph (or the ad at the end of this review) to request price quotes from multiple insurance companies, and find the best insurance company for you.


Safeway Insurance Review

This Safeway Insurance review is divided into five parts, consisting of: 1. A company overview including the Safeway Insurance website and the best way to get auto insurance price quotes, 2. The AM Best financial strength ratings for the Safeway Insurance companies, 3. The JD Power customer satisfaction ratings and BBB rating for Safeway Insurance, 4. the auto & homeowners insurance customer complaint records for the Safeway insurance companies over the last three years, 5. a review summary of Safeway Insurance, rating its customer complaint record as average, better than average, or below average, and the competitiveness of its auto insurance rates.

1. About Safeway Insurance

Safeway Insurance Group is a privately owned company headquartered in Illinois and established in 1959, which is not as old as many of the major US auto insurance companies, but it has a long enough history in the insurance business to not make a difference to customers or potential customers. Safeway sells its insurance through a network of over 3,000 independent insurance agencies located throughout the 13 states where Safeway is licensed to provide coverage.

The main type of insurance sold by Safeway Insurance is nonstandard auto insurance for drivers considered higher risk by insurance companies, such as drivers with tickets or accidents, a recent lapse or no prior insurance coverage, drivers licensed less than three years, or other reasons. If you qualify for standard or preferred auto insurance with any company, it’s probably a better & less expensive choice for you than Safeway auto insurance.

Safeway insures autos in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas.

If you are a driver not qualifying for standard or preferred auto insurance coverage, and live in a state where Safeway auto insurance is available, you should check to see what coverage and rates Safeway can offer you. Safeway sells both minimum liability auto insurance policies and policies with comprehensive and/or collision coverage, to insure your cars from theft or certain causes of physical damage.

Safeway Property (Homeowners, Condo, Renters, and Mobile Home) Insurance

Although Safeway has been selling auto insurance for over 50 years, its website says its been selling homeowners insurance for only over 10 years. The largest Safeway subsidiary company selling Homeowners, Condo, Renters, and Mobile Home insurance is Safeway Property Insurance Company, which offers coverage in Florida only. Almost all of Safeway’s property insurance customers are located in Florida.

However, there has been a recent announcement Safeway Insurance Group is selling this subsidiary to another company (as well as a downgrade of its AM Best Financial Strength Rating because of the sale), with Florida Specialty Holdings entering into an agreement to acquire 100% of the stock in Safeway Property Insurance Company, Safeway Property Insurance Company is to be re-branded as Florida Specialty Insurance Company. The announced sale is what caused AM Best to review its financial strength rating for the subsidiary, as explained in Section #2 of this review.

If you are having a hard time finding a company to insure your Florida property, particularly if it’s a mobile home, you may want to use the Safeway website to find a local insurance agent representing Safeway, to see if coverage is available.

The Safeway subsidiary, Safeway Insurance Company, also sells homeowners, condo, and renters insurance (mobile home coverage may not be available) and is licensed in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico. However, Safeway Insurance Company has very, very few property insurance customers, although its market share is growing. I estimate it may have somewhere between 500 to 3,000 property policies in force in 2014.

If you decide to go with Safeway for your auto insurance, then you may want to consider renters insurance with Safeway, particularly if it qualifies you for a multi-policy discount for your auto insurance. But if you have a home, condo, or mobile home, you are probably better off choosing another company, unless you are having a problem finding a company to insure your property.

Safeway Insurance Website & Getting Auto Insurance Price Quotes

You can’t get auto insurance price quotes online from the Safeway Insurance website, but you can use the site to find the contact information and locations of independent insurance agencies authorized by Safeway to sell either Safeway auto or property insurance near you. Safeway Insurance customers can pay bills or print insurance ID cards at the company website, but may need to call the company or their agent for other assistance, including filing a claim.

Safeway Insurance Claims Reporting Phone Number: (888) 203-5129 for all states but Florida, and (888) 723-3055 for Florida.

Source: Safeway Insurance website

2. AM Best Financial Strength Ratings for the Safeway Insurance Companies

These Safeway insurance companies (Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company, Safeway Insurance Company, Safeway Insurance Company of Alabama Inc., Safeway Insurance Company of Georgia, and Safeway Insurance Company of Louisiana) had their AM Best Financial Strength Rating affirmed at A (Excellent), with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) on 10/28/2014. The AM Best rating of “A” is the third highest AM Best financial strength rating, below the two higher ratings of A++ & A+.

The Safeway subsidiary, Safeway Property Insurance Company, is rated B (Fair) for financial strength by AM Best, and its rating has been under review with a negative implication since 2/19/2015, when the subsidiary’s rating was downgraded. A negative implication means there is the likelihood of another rating downgrade as the result of AM Best’s analysis of a recent event. The rating of “B” places Safeway Property Insurance Company in AM Best’s “vulnerable” category.

According to AM Best, the rating actions against Safeway Property Insurance Company is because of the recent announcement that Florida Specialty Holdings has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the stock in Safeway Property Insurance Company, and it will be re-branded as Florida Specialty Insurance Company. The ratings are expected to remain under review pending the completion of the transaction, which is subject to approval by the Illinois Department of Insurance & expected to close in the first half of 2015.

AM Best financial strength ratings are not a measure of customer service or the quality of the claims adjusting for the Safeway 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.

However, when considering Safeway Property Insurance Company, few companies insuring property in Florida have AM Best ratings, and those companies rated by AM Best may not be selling new policies. Unfortunately, many Florida property owners do not have the option to insure their property with a company with higher AM Best rating than Safeway Property Insurance Company. Like many Florida home insurers, Safeway Property Insurance company has an “A” financial stability rating with a company called Demotech, Inc.

Some major auto & home insurance companies have higher financial strength ratings than the Safeway 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: Safeway Insurance Company AM Best Rating

3. Safeway Insurance JD Power Ratings, BBB Ratings, & Online Complaints

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

The Safeway insurance companies, like many other smaller insurance companies operating in a few states or focusing on a specialty line, like nonstandard auto insurance, does not have enough customers at this time in any one state, region, or nationally to be included in any of the recent annual JD Power insurance customer satisfaction studies, which evaluate the largest national and regional auto or homeowners insurance companies in the USA. Not being included in a JD Power insurance study does not make any of the Safeway Insurance Group companies better or worse than larger JD Power rated companies or better-known brands, but it does make it harder to objectively evaluate the quality of customer service provided by a company not rated by JD Power, like the Safeway insurance companies.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

Although customer complaints are best directed toward a customer’s state department of insurance, the Better Business Bureau is a well-known and popular choice for consumers filing complaints against companies. If many customers are having difficulty resolving an issue with their insurance company and take the time to contact the Better Business Bureau about it, it’s a pretty good sign customers in general may be unhappy with the service provided by their insurance company. If a lot of complaints are made to the BBB about a company, in greater numbers than similar-sized insurance companies, it’s reflected in the BBB rating, and is one indicator the company may have more dissatisfied customers than some of its competitors. I don’t consider an A+ BBB rating to be a reliable indication of a good insurance company, but a lower than “A” rating should be considered as a sign of below average customer service.

Here are the BBB ratings for the Safeway subsidiaries where complaints were made:

Safeway Insurance Company (CA office: 222 E Huntington Drive, Suite #200, Monrovia, CA 91016-3500 ) has the lowest rating of “F” from the Better Business Bureau, and it is not BBB accredited. The California office of Safeway Insurance Company had 9 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 1 occurring in the last 12 months. All 9 complaints were for the category of a problem with service. One of the reasons for the lowest rating was Safeway did not respond to 2 complaints.

Source: BBB ratings for Safeway Insurance Company(California)

Safeway Insurance Company (Headquarters: Westmont, IL) has the highest rating of “A+” from the Better Business Bureau, and it has been BBB accredited since 11/17/1997. Safeway Insurance Company had 18 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 1 occurring in the last 12 months. 11 complaints were for the category of a problem with service, 4 complaints were for billing / collections issues, 2 complaints were for advertising / sales issues, and 1 complaint for guarantee/warranty issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved according to the BBB. Safeway has two negative reviews on the BBB website regarding claims handling, and all information available about recent BBB complaints are also claims related.

Source: BBB ratings for Safeway Insurance Company

Safeway Insurance Company of Alabama also has the highest rating of “A+” from the Better Business Bureau, and Safeway Insurance Company of AL has been BBB accredited since 04/01/1991. Safeway Insurance Company of AL had 10 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 4 occurring in the last 12 months. 8 complaints were for the category of a problem with service, 1 complaint was for billing / collections issues, and 1 complaint for guarantee/warranty issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved according to the BBB. Safeway Insurance of Alabama has one negative review on the BBB website regarding claims handling, and as with Safeway Insurance Company shown above, all information available about recent BBB complaints are also claims related.

Source: BBB ratings for Safeway Insurance Company of Alabama

Safeway Property Insurance Company has the highest rating of “A+” from the Better Business Bureau, too, but Safeway Property Insurance Company is not accredited by the BBB. Safeway Property Insurance Company had 4 BBB complaints in the last three years, with none occurring in the last 12 months. 2 complaints were for the category of a problem with service and 2 complaints were for advertising / sales issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved according to the BBB.

Source: BBB ratings for Safeway Property Insurance Company

Safeway Insurance Company of Louisiana received the rating of “B” from the Better Business Bureau, and it is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Safeway Insurance Company of LA had 4 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 3 occurring in the last 12 months. 3 complaints were for the category of a problem with service and 1 complaint was for billing / collections issues. Three of the four complaints were resolved, and although, according to the BBB website, the company made a good faith effort to resolve the fourth complaint, the customer was not satisfied with the business response.

Source: BBB ratings for Safeway Insurance Company of Louisiana

I don’t consider an A+ BBB rating to be a reliable indication of a good insurance company, but a lower than “A” rating should be considered as a sign of below average customer service. To date, I’m concerned with the two lower BBB ratings for California & Louisiana Safeway insurance customers as reported above.

Other Complaints against Safeway Insurance

Customer complaint websites, such as pissedconsumer.com and ripoffreport.com, show a number of complaints regarding claims handling against Safeway insurance. However, complaints like these can be found for most insurance companies on various websites, and are not useful in comparing companies to find better service. Nonstandard auto insurance companies are known to have a lot of complaints about claims service. For example, as of today, Safeway has 73 complaints on pissedconsumer.com. Another nonstandard auto insurance company called Titan Insurance, with many fewer customers than Safeway, has 67 complaints on pissedconsumer.com. Titan is owned by Nationwide Insurance, which also owns its sister company, Victoria Insurance, which is also a nonstandard auto insurance company. Victoria has more customers than Safeway, but Victoria has only one complaint on pissedconsumer.com. Counting the company complaints on pissedconsumer.com would make you believe Victoria has a great complaint record, particularly compared to both Titan and Safeway, but if you look here at my Titan / Victoria auto insurance review, you see that is not true at all.

4. Safeway Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints

The most common reasons for people to file auto & home insurance complaints with a state insurance department against insurance companies, are for delays in a claim payment, unsatisfactory payment of a claim, and denial of a claim.

The auto & homeowners insurance complaint statistics for the Safeway insurance companies listed below were calculated by the NAIC, and display the ratio of the company’s U.S. market share of closed complaints compared to its 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 insurance company with complaint ratios much less than 1.00 each year, over the last three years.

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

Here’s how I establish my auto & homeowners 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.

I prefer companies with the longest recent history of “B” ratings each year (or at least in the most recent three years). Companies with “B” or “C+” ratings are okay, too, particularly if they have less market share, with less than $100,000,000 in premiums for that line of insurance (auto or home) each year. I prefer to avoid companies with a consistently higher than average number of complaints, or with inconsistent complaint records, unless there are mitigating factors, such as very small market share.

Safeway is composed of six insurance company subsidiaries The use of more than one auto or home insurance subsidiary company is usually to offer different pricing to specific risk profiles (for example, drivers with a clean driving record vs. drivers with tickets and accidents) or affinity groups (for example, Costco members, government employees, etc.), operate in a certain US state or group of states, or offer specific lines of insurance, such as business insurance or motorcycle insurance. For example Safeway Property Insurance Company is used for selling property (homeowners, condos, renters, mobile home) insurance in the state of Florida.

I. Safeway Auto Insurance Customer Complaints

Safeway has five subsidiary companies insuring personal use private passenger cars & trucks in the USA:

Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $30,189,290

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

2013 US auto insurance premium = $27,330,300

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.68)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $26,526,480

Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company is available in the state of Texas only. Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company has a consistent better-than-average auto insurance complaint record from 2012 to 2014, and has increased its market share each year since 2012, which may indicate Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company has competitive auto insurance rates.

As of 7/6/2015, Safeway County Mutual Insurance Company was acquired by Redpoint Insurance Group, and will be re-named Redpoint County Mutual Insurance Company.

Safeway Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.14)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $156,419,980

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.64)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $127,590,977

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.52)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $100,686,444

Safeway Insurance Company is available in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Safeway Insurance Company has a consistent worse-than-average auto insurance complaint record from 2012 to 2014, but has increased its market share substantially each year since 2012, which may indicate Safeway Insurance Company has competitive auto insurance rates.

Safeway Insurance Company of Alabama Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.56)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $45,862,961

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.53)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $42,730,499

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.95)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $32,499,924

Safeway Insurance Company of Alabama sells auto insurance in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee only. Safeway Insurance Company of AL has a consistent worse-than-average auto insurance complaint record from 2012 to 2014, but has increased its market share each year since 2012, which may indicate Safeway Insurance Company of AL has competitive auto insurance rates.

Safeway Insurance Company of Georgia Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.71)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $45,964,001

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.51)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $50,493,578

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.59)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $51,212,935

Safeway Insurance Company of Georgia sells auto insurance in the state of Georgia only. Safeway Insurance Company of GA has a consistent worse-than-average auto insurance complaint record from 2012 to 2014, and its auto insurance market share has decreased each year since 2012, which may indicate Safeway Insurance Company of GA no longer has competitive auto insurance rates.

Safeway Insurance Company of Louisiana Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.57)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $56,189,804

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.42)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $53,518,798

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.76)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $45,956,588

Safeway Insurance Company of Louisiana sells auto insurance in the state of Louisiana only. Safeway Insurance Company of LA has an improving auto insurance complaint record from 2012 to 2014, but it was still much worse than average in 2012 & 2013. Safeway Insurance Company of LA has increased its auto insurance market share each year since 2012, which may indicate Safeway Insurance Company of LA has competitive auto insurance rates.

II. Safeway Homeowners (including Condo, Renters, & Mobile Home) Insurance Customer Complaints

Safeway has two subsidiaries insuring homes in the USA:

Safeway Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2014 US home insurance premium = $564,421

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $479,667

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

2012 US home insurance premium = $209,843

Safeway Insurance Company operates in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, and New Mexico, and is licensed in Florida & Louisiana, too, but it may not offer property insurance in all these states. Safeway Insurance Company has had no homeowners insurance complaints from 2012 to 2014, but also very few, through increasing, number of customers.

Safeway Property Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.25)

2014 US home insurance premium = $30,250,696

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $31,288,545

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.25)

2012 US home insurance premium = $32,714,222

Safeway Property Insurance Company is available in the state of Florida only, and is being sold by Safeway Insurance Group to a new parent company, called Florida Specialty Holdings, and will be re-named Florida Specialty Insurance Company, some time in 2015. Safeway Property Insurance Company has an inconsistent homeowners complaint record from 2012 to 2014, with 25% more complaints than the industry average in 2014.

5. Safeway Insurance Review Summary

Here’s my summary to give you the bottom line on the customer service & rates for the Safeway insurance companies, to see if they perform better than average, average, or worse than average.

Safeway auto insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2012-2014 complaint record for states other than Texas:

Worse than Average

Safeway auto insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2012-2014 complaint record for the state of Texas:

Better than Average

Although an insurance company’s complaint record can be particularly useful for identifying poor claims service & claims satisfaction, it should not be the only tool you use for choosing an auto insurance company. If you qualify only for nonstandard auto insurance, it can be very hard to find a company or subsidiary with a close to average complaint record, much less an auto insurance company with a better than average complaint record. Remember to consider GEICO if you qualify, and buying direct from Progressive as better possible options for you, but if you are limited to the nonstandard auto insurance market, you should consider all the auto insurance companies available to you.

How does Safeway Insurance compare to major auto or nonstandard auto insurance companies, like 21st Century, GEICO, Progressive, National General (formerly GMAC), Infinity, The General and others? Compare Safeway auto insurance with over forty other companies at my home page: smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

Safeway Auto Insurance Rates

For pricing, the most reliable way to know if your insurance company charges too much is to conduct your own pricing survey, by obtaining price quotes from all the leading insurance companies in your state, to find the best company for you. However, a recent rapid increase or decrease in market share may indicate whether a company has higher or lower insurance rates for at least some people.

Based on increasing auto insurance market share, as measured by total auto insurance premiums collected by Safeway each year as shown in Section #4 of this review, Safeway may have lower auto insurance rates in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas.

Based on decreasing auto insurance market share, as measured by total auto insurance premiums collected by Safeway each year as shown in Section #4 of this review, Safeway may not have competitive auto insurance rates in the state of Georgia.

It pays to shop. You may not have your choice of companies with the best complaint records, but you can still see, among the companies willing to insure you, big variations in the prices they charge for the same coverage. In addition to Safeway Auto Insurance Company, be sure to check with GEICO, Progressive, Infinity, Mercury, 21st Century, National General, Direct General, and others.

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. 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!

Did this Safeway Insurance review explain what you need to know about Safeway auto & property insurance? 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.