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ByMichelle Clardie Contributing Writer

Michelle Clardie has an MBA in management and strategy, and has worked in real estate. Her work has been featured on sites like Yahoo! News and Inman.

SafeAuto Auto Insurance Review

SafeAuto Insurance strives to keep auto insurance premiums affordable, even for drivers who are considered high-risk because of traffic violations and/or previous accidents. In fact, high-risk drivers are SafeAuto’s specialty; it regularly insures drivers who've been denied coverage by other insurance companies. You can get a quote online in under three minutes with SafeAuto’s quick and easy quote system, and you can purchase a policy instantly for immediate coverage.

Unfortunately, SafeAuto currently only offers coverage to residents of 17 states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. And because SafeAuto is a comparatively small insurance company, it is not rated on many of the industry’s most popular rating services (like A.M. Best, Moody’s, and J.D.Power). It does have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but it doesn't have the same guarantee of financial strength and good customer service of providers who are rated by independent agencies — if that guarantee is important to you, you may want to start with quotes from national providers.

The Claim

SafeAuto claims to provide easily accessible coverage with low rates to all drivers in its 17-state coverage area. As its website states: “We keep you legal for less!”

Is it true?

The short answer? It depends on your individual situation. With insurance, it's impossible to guarantee that you'll get a low rate with any given company — companies base your price on factors outside of your control, like age and location. The company that's cheapest for your neighbor likely won't be the cheapest for you, even if you opt for the same level of coverage.

That said, customer reviews on SafeAuto's website do claim that the company provides “good value" (although it's always wise to take reviews on a company's own site with a grain of salt: Many reviews on SafeAuto's website were submitted as part of a sweepstakes entry, for instance). And even if SafeAuto doesn't totally meet your expectations of a "low rate," its coverage may still be worth looking into. If you’ve had multiple traffic violations or have had your license suspended or revoked in the past, your insurance will naturally be more expensive than a standard insurance policy. But SafeAuto may still be willing to insure you, even when other insurance providers may not be.

Where SafeAuto runs into a minor hiccup is with the claim of easy accessibility. Now, it’s true that SafeAuto makes it easy to get a quote and buy a policy. You can get your quote in about three minutes online and purchase your policy right away, and your coverage information is sent to you via email and a copy is mailed. But SafeAuto doesn't have quite as many avenues for accessing that coverage information later on if you misplace your documents. While you can log in and manage your policy online, accessing information when you're on the go is less convenient. Customers who use the SafeAuto app report trouble with ongoing glitches that prevent them from accessing their information, which is the last thing you need if you're trying to access your ID card or policy details in an emergency.

Product Overview

  • In business since: 1993
  • A.M. Best financial strength rating: Not rated
  • Moody’s financial strength rating: Not rated
  • S&P Global financial strength rating: Not rated
  • J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score: Not rated
  • Better Business Bureau Rating: A+
  • States served: 17
  • Pros: Coverage for high-risk drivers, Same Day Pay program
  • Cons: No online claims service, glitchy SafeAuto app

Features

Coverage types
Liability
Collision
Comprehensive
Personal Injury
Roadside Assistance
Rental Car Coverage
Accidental Death
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
High Risk
Advertised discounts
Safe Driver
Multi-Vehicle
Driver Improvement Course
Homeowner
New Business Transfer (for new customers)

Coverage and discounts may vary by state.

Potentially more affordable than competitors

While there is no guarantee that SafeAuto will offer you a competitive premium, many customers report paying less with SafeAuto than they paid with other insurance companies for identical coverage. Some reviewers reported on SafeAuto's website that SafeAuto was expensive, but more than twice as many customers said that SafeAuto was a good value. Many, if not most, of the negative reviews relating to the coverage being too expensive appear to be from drivers who have a few marks on their driving record and are paying higher-than-normal premiums as a result. If you have serious infractions on your driving record, expect to pay more than you would otherwise for insurance, but know that you may pay less with SafeAuto than you would with another insurance company.

High-risk coverage

SafeAuto has specialized in coverage for high-risk drivers for more than 25 years. You are generally considered a high-risk driver if you were responsible for a car accident, have speeding tickets, have been charged with reckless driving, have been charged for driving under the influence, and/or have poor credit. Not only is SafeAuto willing to insure you, but it still does its best to make your coverage affordable. And SafeAuto understands state requirements for high-risk drivers, too. For example, you might need an SR-22 filed with your state to prove that you meet the minimum insurance requirements; SafeAuto can process that certificate for you.

Same Day Pay

Before you get too excited, SafeAuto’s Same Day Pay does not mean that you can be paid the same day you file a claim. But with Same Day Pay, you can get paid the same day your claim is approved. Once SafeAuto reaches a settlement on your claim, it will verify that you are the claimant by asking you to provide a valid ID, email address, and phone number. Then you can decide how you’d like to be paid: direct deposit to a checking or savings account, prepaid card, or back to your debit card. After providing that information, your payment will arrive that same day. This is super convenient in comparison to traditional claim reimbursement, where you have to wait a week or two to receive a check in the mail.

Possible drawbacks

Glitchy app

Customers love the idea of using an app to manage their insurance policy and pay their bills, which is why SafeAuto developed the SafeAuto app. Unfortunately, the app is plagued by glitches. Many users report login issues and problems with their information being unavailable. According to one app reviewer, “It's sad that I had to uninstall the app, but it continues to cause problems and crashes.” While having an app is great in theory, don’t count on being able to reliably use your SafeAuto app. It’s best to print a physical copy of your insurance card to keep on hand in case the app malfunctions when you need it.

No online claims service

Unlike big insurance companies, which often provide an online claims service, SafeAuto requires you to call a toll-free number during its hours of operation to file a claim — between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Depending on the time of day and the volume of other calls, you may have to wait on hold. Once your claim has been filed, a claims adjuster should contact you within two business days to get the process started. The lack of online claims service may not be a deal breaker, but it's an inconvenience that's hard to overlook in a time when so many other companies offer 24-hour service online.

No financial strength or customer service guarantee

When we look for the best car insurance companies, we often look for two important ratings: financial strength, as measured by the independent agency A.M. Best, and customer satisfaction, as measured by J.D. Power. Unfortunately, SafeAuto is not rated by either agency. While this doesn't necessarily mean that SafeAuto is not financially solvent or that its customers are not happy with service, there's also no way to accurately measure the quality of the company before signing up yourself. If you'd rather sign on with a company with more reliable financial strength or customer service, we recommend starting with a national company like Progressive or State Farm.

The Competition

  SafeAuto Progressive National General State Farm
Our review Our review Our review
A.M. Best financial strength rating
N/A A+ A- A++
J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score
N/A 3/5 2/5 3/5
Customer complaints*
More complaints than average Fewer complaints than average More complaints than average Fewer complaints than average
24/7 claims support
Number of states served
17 50 50 50
Pros
Coverage for high-risk drivers
Same Day Pay for claims
Coverage for high-risk drivers
Discounts for young drivers
Discounts for GM affiliation Widespread ride-share coverage
Strong customer satisfaction scores
Great online resources
Cons
Basic coverage options
Few advertised discounts
No online claims service
Below-average customer satisfaction scores Poor history of customer satisfaction Fewer advertised discounts
Buggy mobile app
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

*Customer complaints are registered by the NAIC and measured relative to the company's market share.

SafeAuto Auto Insurance FAQ

What do I need to get a quote from SafeAuto Insurance?

To get your quote online from SafeAuto, you just need your basic information like your name, contact information, and vehicle make, model, and year. You’ll be asked to answer a few questions about your employment status, credit score, and previous car insurance, but you won’t have to provide documentation prior to purchasing your policy. If documentation of home ownership or maintained insurance policies needs to be reviewed, SafeAuto will request the documents once your purchase is complete.

How can I lower my high-risk auto insurance cost?

Generally speaking, there are three things you can do to lower your high-risk insurance cost. First, take a defensive driving course. Showing that you’re working to be a safer driver might get you a discount on your insurance. Then work on your credit score. A higher credit score indicates that you are financially responsible, and it may even earn you a discount. Lastly, you might simply need to wait for the violations on your record to expire.

What does the SafeAuto app do?

The SafeAuto app was created to allow SafeAuto customers to access their insurance cards digitally and to pay their bills on the go. Customers can log in with a username and password to check the status of their policy, view their coverage details, check their amount due, and make a payment. Currently, there is no function for filing a claim through the app. The biggest complaint from SafeAuto app users is that the product is glitchy and often doesn’t allow you to access your information as it should.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a 24/7 online claims service and the guarantee of financial solvency and good customer service, SafeAuto is not the right fit for you. But if you are looking for no-frills insurance coverage and you live within the 17-state coverage area, SafeAuto may be worth looking into — especially if you have a rocky driving record. As always, it's important to compare quotes from multiple providers to see which can truly offer you the best price on the coverage you need, but SafeAuto could be a strong contender.

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