author-profile
ByDanika Miller Staff Writer

Danika Miller is a writer with Reviews.com. She has spent countless hours researching and writing about insurance and what consumers should know when they are in the market.

Auto-Owners Auto Insurance Review

If you value good customer service and personalized experiences, Auto-Owners is likely a great fit. It operates exclusively through independent agents, who aren’t considered employees of the company but instead receive a commission for selling policies. This means you’ll work closely and develop a relationship with one local agent, even after you’ve purchased a policy. They’ll help you handle all claims and policy adjustments, and they're even able to look around at other insurers to make sure you're getting the best quote. This does mean that you have to do everything through the agent — no online quotes or digital policy management — but customers are clearly satisfied with the service they receive. Ratings from companies like J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners all reflect the fact that Auto-Owners is one of the best companies for customer service. The only catch? Auto-Owners is only available in 26 states.

Features

Price Varies
In business since 1916
Number of states served 26
A.M. Best financial strength rating A++
Moody's financial strength rating N/A
S&P Global financial strength rating N/A
J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score 882/1,000
J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study score 883/1,000
NAIC complaint ratio 0.59
Standout features Road Trouble Service
Additional Expense
Loan Gap/Lease Gap
Diminished Value
Personal Automobile Plus Package
Collision Coverage Advantage
Common Loss Deductible
Rental Cars
Discounts Multi-Policy
Payment History
Green Discount
Multi-Car
Good Student
Teen Driver Monitoring
Student Away at School
Life Multi-Policy
Paid-in-Full
Advance Quote
Safety Features
Favorable Loss History

The Claim

Auto-Owners has positioned itself as a company with “policies to meet your needs.” For the consumer, that would seem to promise a wide catalog of coverage options and add-ons. The claim implies flexibility and customization to fit anyone’s unique financial portfolio and auto history.

Is it true?

Because Auto-Owners policies are exclusively available from independent agents, it’s possible that there are more options to customize your coverage than you can find online. Your exact experience will depend on the local agent you’re paired with, but they generally have more autonomy than a traditional insurance employee and have access to the whole gamut of available coverage options.

What's more, Auto-Owners coverage options are particularly impressive. The company offers hard-to-find extras like rental car coverage, diminished value protection, and common loss deductible. Its discount selection is also robust. Young drivers and students will find several options to lower their premium, and Auto-Owners also offers discounts for installing safety features, paying your premium in full, and requesting a quote prior to the effective date of the policy. There’s something for everyone, and it won’t take much to qualify for some discounts.

The one drawback of Auto-Owners' customization? You’ll need to inquire with that local agent we mentioned above to truly know if the company is right for you. Its online resources and breadth of information are fairly limited, and you won’t be able to get an online quote, nor file a claim digitally.

Auto-Owners Insurance Pros

✓ Customer service ratings.
✓ Discounts and supplements.
✓ Independent agents.

Auto-Owners Insurance Cons

✗ Only 26 states served.
✗ No online services.

Provider Overview

Advantages

Customer service ratings

In nearly every rating metric we analyzed, Auto-Owners scored above national averages. Consumer Reports rates Auto-Owners higher than many other auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, and Farmers Insurance. In J.D. Power's customer satisfaction survey, Auto-Owners also came in third place of over 20 companies with a score of 882 out 1,000. And the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports a pleasantly low complaint ratio at 0.59 (below the national median of 1.00). This ratio reflects the number of complaints a company received in relation to the number of premiums written. Auto-Owners' low complaint ratio and its above-average customer service scores are clear indicators that customers are satisfied with the quality of service. You can expect a satisfying quote process, great coverage, and a painless claims process.

Discounts and supplements

We were far from disappointed by Auto-Owners’ selection of discounts and supplemental coverage options. You’ll find the standard price breaks for things like holding multiple policies with Auto-Owners, having a favorable loss history, and going paperless with billing. Young drivers will find discounts for being a good student, going to school more than 100 miles away from home (without a car), and installing a GPS in the vehicle.

Some unique supplemental coverage options include Common Loss Deductible and Diminished Value. The Common Loss Deductible coverage means that if you insure both your home and car with Auto-Owners and you experience a loss that causes damage to both, the auto deductible will be reduced or waived completely if less than the personal property deductible. Basically, if some incident affected your car and home, there’s a chance you’d only have to pay one deductible.

The Diminished Value coverage option will take into account the lost value of your car after an accident. Even if it's repaired, your car will no longer be worth as much as it was before the accident; this supplemental coverage makes sure your compensation reflects that value loss.

Independent agents

Auto-Owners operates solely through independent agents. This means you can only purchase a policy from those agents, and not necessarily from the company itself. This creates a highly personalized experience that results in better customer service and more insight into customizing your policy. Because they’re local experts, agents can help you build a policy that reflects state laws and neighborhood risks.

In addition, because independent agents don’t work directly for the insurance company and can sell policies for multiple companies in exchange for a commission, they’ll shop around and quote you for several other companies to find you the best premium (even if it’s not with Auto-Owners). In a sense, they work for you, and you can maintain your insurance agent even if you switch to a different company. Essentially, an independent agent structure is likely to mean more attentive service and personalized policies.

Possible drawbacks

Only 26 states served

Auto-Owners has a fairly exclusive service range, with a presence in only 26 states. Most major competitors have branched out to connect with customers in all 50 states, giving you more chances of being eligible for a policy. If you’re one of the lucky folks who reside in one of Auto-Owners' 26 states, it's worth getting a quote. If you live somewhere Auto-Owners isn’t available, try one of our other favorite auto insurance companies.

The 26 states where Auto-Owners insurance is available:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin

No online services

Those adverse to phone calls may find fault in Auto-Owners lack of online tools. You’ll have to call an independent agent to get a quote, file a claim, change anything about your policy, and cancel a policy. The breadth of online resources and information especially pale in comparison to a company like Allstate, which offers video tutorials and guides to nearly every insurance question you might have. Auto-Owners does offer online billing, and you’ll receive a simple discount for going paperless, but that’s too standard these days for us to be impressed.

The Competition

  Auto-Owners Allstate Amica
Read review Read review
Number of states served
26 50 50
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A++ A+ A++
J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score
882/1,000 857/1,000 887/1,000
NAIC complaint ratio
0.59 1.10 0.58
24/7 claims support
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

Auto-Owners vs. Allstate

Allstate excels at offering online resources and educational materials to consumers — all without any obligation. You can find guides on everything from lingo translation to ride-share coverage. Allstate also offers a car payment calculator that will help you discover how much to budget for monthly car payments. Auto-Owners’ few online features pale by comparison. When comparing customer service, however, Auto-Owners outpaces Allstate. It was rated higher by every agency we looked at and most notably had a better NAIC complaint ratio. Allstate’s complaint ratio of 1.10 put it over the national median for complaints against the company — indicating it may not resolve claims and handle communications at the level that Auto-Owners does. If customer service is a priority (and you live in one of its 26 served states), Auto-Owners is a great fit. If you value digital learning and resources, we recommend Allstate. Either way, you should get quotes from multiple insurers to find the best fit.

Auto-Owners vs. Amica

Both Amica and Auto-Owners excel at customer service, but Amica is considered an industry leader. Amica won J.D. Power’s second spot for claim satisfaction with a score of 887 out of 1,000, and Amica’s complaint ratio is also a tad bit below that of Auto-Owners. You’re nearly guaranteed a great experience with Amica representatives. Amica also serves 50 states and offers its customers dividends (based on the company’s performance that quarter). Auto-Owners is mostly unique from Amica in the way that you’ll purchase a policy; Auto-Owners operates exclusively with independent agents, so when you go to a local agent to receive a quote for an Auto-Owners policy, your agent will also pull quotes from other insurers they sell for. You’re likely to get the best deal and be able to maintain a personalized experience with your agent, regardless of the insurer you sign with.

Auto-Owners Insurance FAQ

Is Auto-Owners insurance a mutual company?

A mutual insurance company is owned by its policyholders. Sometimes, that means you’ll get dividends back depending on the performance of the company; however, some mutual companies claim to offer their policyholders lower rates in place of paying dividends. Auto-Owners is the latter type. With Auto-Owners, you won't receive any dividends, though you may be quoted a lower premium than with non-mutual companies.

Does Auto-Owners insurance cover windshield replacement?

Replacing your windshield should be covered by the comprehensive coverage part of your policy. Comprehensive coverage pays for any damage to your car that isn’t caused in an accident or by another person. That could be fire, vandalism, theft, weather, a pebble that hits your windshield, etc. Comprehensive coverage is usually an optional addition to your policy, and we recommend you look closely at everything it will cover.

Does Auto-Owners insurance have roadside assistance?

Yes. One of Auto-Owners’ core coverage options is Road Trouble Service. If you find yourself with any kind of roadside trouble, like a flat tire or dead battery, Auto-Owners will provide the service to help you. If you lock your keys in the car, run out of gas, or need a tow, you can call the 24-hour assistance number Auto-Owners provides when you sign a policy.

The Bottom Line

Auto-Owners insurance offers an impressive suite of discounts and coverage options, scores high for customer satisfaction, and operates with independent agents. If you live in one of the 26 states where it offers service, we recommend getting a quote. That said, it’s always best to shop around and pull quotes from multiple providers to get the best deal. Check out our full review of the best auto insurance companies while doing your research.

You might also like