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

The insurance companies of Harleysville Insurance Group, owned by Nationwide Insurance, sell auto & home insurance in 26 states, mostly in the East & Midwest of the USA. You may have heard about Harleysville Insurance, but do you really know how good a company it is for auto & home insurance?

I’ll review the AM Best financial strength ratings, JD Power customer satisfaction ratings, and Better Business Bureau ratings for the Harleysville Insurance companies, including their annual auto & home insurance complaint records over the last three years.

My review summary will give you my opinion if Harleysville personal auto & homeowners insurance is performing better than average, average, or worse than average, compared to its competitors, like State Farm, Nationwide, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and other leading companies, for low rates, claims handling, and customer service.

The smart insurance buyer shops for the best combination of coverage, price, and service, so be sure to use the ad below this paragraph (or the ad at the end of this review) to get price quotes from multiple insurance companies and find the best insurance company for you.


Harleysville Auto & Home Insurance Review

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

1. About Harleysville Insurance

Harleysville Insurance began in 1915, and through the 1970s, was primarily an insurer of personal autos & homes. Now, Harleysville specializes in the insurance needs of small & mid-sized businesses, which makes up more than 70% of its premium volume. However, Harleysville still offers personal insurance to preferred risk customers (no recent history of claims, clean driving records for all drivers in the household, & possessing other factors making the customer at lower than average risk of claims), such as its StarPak personal insurance policy covering a customer’s autos, home, boats, and most other personal insurance policies into one package policy.

Harleysville Life Insurance Company was founded in 1960 to offer individual & group life insurance, disability insurance and retirement plans.

In 2012, Harleysville Insurance Group was acquired by Nationwide Insurance.

Harleysville Insurance can be purchased only through insurance agencies appointed to represent one or more of the Harleysville companies.

Harleysville Insurance Website & Price Quotes

You can’t get auto or home insurance price quotes online from the Harleysville Insurance website, but you can use the site to locate the office of an insurance agency representing Harleysville near you, and contact an agent for information and price quotes. Like with most insurance companies, Harleysville policyholders can pay bills or file claims through the company website.

Source: Harleysville Insurance website

2. Harleysville Insurance AM Best Financial Strength Ratings

These Harleysville insurance companies ( Harleysville Insurance Company, Harleysville Lake States Insurance Company, Harleysville Worcester Insurance Company, Harleysville Insurance Company of New Jersey, Harleysville Insurance Company of New York, and Harleysville Preferred Insurance Company) had their AM Best Financial Strength Rating affirmed at A+ (Superior), with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) on 03/19/2015. The AM Best rating of “A+” is the second highest rating from AM Best.

Harleysville Life Insurance Company has an A- (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) also reaffirmed on 3/19/2015. A- is the fourth highest rating for AM Best.

I become concerned with any automobile, homeowners, or life insurance company or subsidiary with less than an A- rating for financial strength from AM Best.

AM Best financial strength ratings are not a measure of customer service or the quality of the claims adjusting for any of the Harleysville 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, or not rated by AM Best. Some major auto & home insurance companies have slightly lower financial strength ratings than some of the Harleysville 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 Ratings for Harleysville Preferred Insurance Company and Harleysville Life Insurance Company

3. Harleysville Insurance JD Power Ratings & BBB Rating

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Harleysville Insurance Group, like many other smaller regional insurance companies in the USA, does not have enough auto or homeowners insurance 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.

Although the parent company owning the Harleysville companies, Nationwide Insurance, is rated in many of the annual JD Power insurance studies, Nationwide is a separate organization, so the JD Power ratings for Nationwide are not representative of claims or customer satisfaction for Harleysville auto or homeowners insurance policyholders.

Not being included in a JD Power insurance study does not make Harleysville Insurance better or worse than large or JD Power rated companies, 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 Harleysville 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.

As of the date of this review, Harleysville has two company profiles on the BBB website receiving BBB ratings. One has no complaints filed in the last three years with an A+ rating, and another has one complaint filed in the last three years with a C+ rating. The lower rating was due to no response from Harleysville about the complaint.

The A+ rating can be dismissed as not relevant since no complaints were filed against the company. However, I’m not too concerned about the C+ rating, because it was based on only one complaint received in the last three years. The complaint was made by a vehicle owner claiming to have been hit by a vehicle insured by Harleysville, but it’s possible the vehicle was not actually insured by Harleysville and/or had erroneous contact information for the company, which may explain why there was no response by Harleysville.

Source: BBB ratings for Harleysville Insurance Group and Harleysville Insurance Company.

4. Harleysville Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints

The auto & home insurance (including homeowners, condominium-owners, and tenant’s insurance) complaint statistics for the Harleysville 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 the Harleysville companies have 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 small market share.

Harleysville Auto Insurance Customer Complaints

Harleysville has six subsidiary companies insuring private passenger vehicles in the USA:

Harleysville Preferred Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.27)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $39,898,505

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.05)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $41,203,018

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.78)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $46,023,400

Harleysville Worcester 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 = $11,788,084

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.84)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $12,848,337

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.68)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $13,183,823

Harleysville Lake States Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.96)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $11,113,215

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.73)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $14,808,420

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.10)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $16,482,615

Harleysville Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.95)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $8,087,851

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.91)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $7,450,428

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.88)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $9,306,030

Harleysville Insurance Company of NJ 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 = $2,670,555

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

2013 US auto insurance premium = $3,595,889

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

2012 US auto insurance premium = $3,813,829

Harleysville Insurance Company of NY 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 = $1,361,801

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

2013 US auto insurance premium = $1,734,131

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

2012 US auto insurance premium = $2,153,238

South Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company consistently has a lower than average number of annual auto insurance complaints each year from 2012 to 2014.

Harleysville Homeowners (including Homeowners, Condo, Renters) Insurance Customer Complaints

Harleysville has six subsidiary companies insuring homes in the USA.

Harleysville Preferred 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 = $24,124,302

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.41)

2013 US home insurance premium = $23,504,448

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.34)

2012 US home insurance premium = $23,581,249

Harleysville Worcester Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.25)

2014 US home insurance premium = $36,831,777

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.91)

2013 US home insurance premium = $36,176,339

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.26)

2012 US home insurance premium = $38,575,120

Harleysville Lake States 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 = $9,635,070

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.94)

2013 US home insurance premium = $11,698,140

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

2012 US home insurance premium = $12,135,026

Harleysville Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.79)

2014 US home insurance premium = $7,278,097

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.53)

2013 US home insurance premium = $9,735,830

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.49)

2012 US home insurance premium = $10,896,506

Harleysville Insurance Company of NJ 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 = $14,540,397

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.79)

2013 US home insurance premium = $14,024,073

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.18)

2012 US home insurance premium = $13,688,558

Harleysville Insurance Company of NY 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 = $2,882,318

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $3,268,871

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

2012 US home insurance premium = $3,467,398

5. Harleysville Auto & Homeowners Insurance Review Summary

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

Harleysville auto insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2012-2014 complaint record:

Average

Harleysville Homeowners insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2012-2014 complaint record:

Average

The Harleysville subsidiaries have very few auto and/or homeowners insurance customers, so a few extra complaints can lead to very high complaint ratios in some years. With the exception of Harleysville Insurance Company, the Harleysville subsidiaries do not have consistently worse than average complaint ratios each year.

How does Harleysville Insurance compare to major auto & home insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, GEICO, Progressive, and others? Compare Harleysville with over forty other companies at my home page: smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

Harleysville 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.

If you look at the annual auto insurance premiums for the Harleysville companies in section #4 of this review, their auto insurance market share has remained about the same or decreased since 2012.

If you look at the annual home insurance premiums for the Harleysville companies in section #4 of this review, its home insurance market share has also stayed about the same or decreased since 2012.

The focus of Harleysville is on insuring small & mid-sized businesses, so it may not be interested in growing its auto & homeowners insurance market share. It’s not trying to sell auto or homeowners insurance to the average family like GEICO, State Farm, Progressive or Allstate, so it’s probably not interested in offering the lowest auto or homeowners insurance rates. However, for its niche market of preferred risk auto & home customers, it may have more competitive rates.

Harleysville is sold through independent insurance agents, representing many companies, so your local independent agent may be able to find a better company or tell you why Harleysville might be best for you. Don’t let any one agent shop the market for you. Comparison shop among several agents, because no single agent represents all the major companies.

It really pays to shop with all the leading auto and/or home insurance companies available to you in your state. 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 Harleysville Insurance review explain what you need to know about Harleysville auto & home 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.