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Safeco was founded in 1923, by an insurance executive named Hawthorn K. Dent. Mr. Dent had a vision to provide consumers with an entirely new approach to auto insurance. His vision took the financial stability that comes with a company owned by investors, and combined it with the preferred-risk insurance underwriting and lower premiums of a mutual company.
Safeco started as a fire insurance company, and with the rise in popularity of the automobile, began diversifying into other insurance lines. The original name of the company was the General Insurance Company of America Corporation. The company was based in Seattle, far away from the northeast center of insurance activity. Safeco’s original company was at first dismissed by others in the insurance industry, but over the years began to prove itself and earn praise for competitive prices and top-notch service.
In 1953, the company integrated computer automation into its business model, as a way to become more cost competitive and compete with direct insurance policy writers. This forever changed the business and prompted a new name: Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America, also known as Safeco.
The company has since grown, acquiring American States Financial Corporation in 1997, which doubled the number of agents, increasing the company’s presence in the eastern U.S. and helped Safeco become a leading insurance writer for small and medium-sized businesses.
In September of 2008, Safeco was acquired by Liberty Mutual Group. This made Safeco a part of the fifth largest property and casualty insurance company in the nation, based on revenues for 2009.
After witnessing rocky times financially in the 1990s, Safeco refocused on the philosophy first set forth by H. K. Dent. This consisted of competitive pricing, disciplined insurance rating and effective use of automated technological tools. The company remained strong, selling its life and investment arms in 2004, and putting the company’s focus on property and casualty, as well as surety insurance.
Safeco insurance, now a part of Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation, is part of a business that has been serving customers for over 95 years. The parent company, Liberty Mutual Group, has a rating of “A” (excellent) by A.M. Best Company, for financial strength that can be trusted by policyholders.
In 1988, the company purchased naming rights to a ballpark in which the Seattle Mariners played. The Mariners’ home stadium has a classic brick exterior design, with a state-of-the-art video monitor inside and a retractable roof. Safeco Field sets the standard for other stadiums in the nation, and both players and fans rate it as one of the best ballparks there is.
Safeco makes it a priority to take part in the surrounding communities, with the establishment and maintenance of several service and philanthropy programs. The company provides grants, sponsorships and opportunities for employees of the company to help in the community. Through the Safeco Insurance Foundation, grants are provided to help educate children from low-income families, and strengthen and protect other members of the community who are fragile or left behind. Safeco invests, through its insurance foundation, in programs to provide access to healthcare services for low- income individuals. The foundation also makes grants available to nonprofit organizations for use as operating funds, for special programs, operating capital and financial support lasting over a multiple period of years. Safeco Insurance Foundation has a continuous review process; to make sure funds are put to the best use and to enable nonprofit organizations to apply for funds at any time. The foundation also supports programs to encourage disadvantaged youth and help them excel in academics, creating a pattern of lifelong learning success.
In addition to auto insurance, Safeco began offering life insurance in the mid-1950s, and after about a decade added offerings of commercial lines of credit and mutual funds. Safeco prides itself on offering products that truly benefit its customers; in 2007, the company introduced Teensurance, with the goal of providing parents peace of mind while teens learn to drive. This product puts GPS units in the cars driven by teens when insured by Safeco. This allows parents to monitor their teen driver’s speed, location, driving distance and habits, as well as remotely unlock or locked doors and provide roadside assistance round-the-clock.
Safeco also offers a variety of other personal insurance-type products, including homeowners, umbrella, boat and other watercraft insurance and more. They also offer the Safeco package, to bundle car and homeowners insurance coverage together and combine savings coverage and convenience.
Safeco Customer Service Review
Safeco has claims and other service professionals available 24/7, and states on their website that when a customer has a claim, they take care of it. It’s that simple. The company promises to contact all parties involved in a claim within one business day, and stresses the personalized service and quick resolution of the insurance claim.
The company also has a national network of local insurance agents to provide advice and assistance. On the website, customers and consumers can locate a Safeco agent in their neighborhood which is useful for those who prefer to work with an agent face-to-face.
How much is Safeco Car Insurance?
Insurance rates vary due to a large number of factors, and insurance companies apply specific algorithms to calculate premiums based on a person’s unique profile. An individual’s age, the car they drive, prior driving history, and the state they live in can affect his insurance premiums. Additional factors are annual miles driven and now, in some states, an individual’s credit history.
California’s Department of Insurance has performed a comparison of insurance premiums among several insurers. In a scenario using a hypothetical 40-year old male, with a clean driving record, and 10,000 miles driven per year in a Honda Accord, Safeco Insurance was estimated to cost $1,314 annually. For a few comparison points, the average insurance rate among all insurers in the state of California for 2011 is $1,190. The national average auto insurance for all insurers is $1,442 for 2011. The estimate and the averages are all based on full insurance coverage, which consists of liability, comprehensive and collision insurance.
Safeco auto insurance offers quality coverage at reasonable prices, with the convenience of local agents, and a wide variety of complementary products. Understanding the company’s background and stability can help consumers who choose Safeco feel they have made the best choice for low cost auto insurance.