Auto-Owners Insurance Summary
Auto-Owners Insurance is Michigan’s largest insurance company, holding over 6,000 agencies and bringing in profits of nearly $5 billion annually.
The company is headquartered in Delta Township, near Lansing. It was founded in 1916 in Mount Pleasant before being moved several times in the ensuing years. Until 1935, it sold policies exclusively in Michigan; today, it offers products in 26 states and has 93 branch offices located around the country.
It expanded from a strict auto insurer to general casualty products in 1940, with life insurance being added in 1966. It currently sells products for private and commercial auto, home and property, life and health insurance, and annuities. These products are sold through each of six subsidiaries, including Owners Insurance and Southern-Owners Insurance Company, and brokered through independent agencies.
As its name implies, Auto-Owners Insurance offers a variety of options for personal and commercial auto policies. Aside from standard automobiles, Auto-Owners provides coverage for a number of specialty vehicles including ATVs, classic cars, mopeds, motorcycles, RVs and utility trailers.
Exact coverage options vary between states, but in general Auto-Owners offers both liability and full-coverage policies. Basic full-coverage auto insurance includes liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage. Additional coverages for pet medical insurance, lease-gap, full glass, roadside assistance and rental reimbursement can be added to the policy as well.
Discounts are available to seniors, students and safe drivers. A green discount applies to customers who utilize paperless billing and electronic bill payment. Standard discounts are also available for vehicle safety features like anti-lock brakes, airbags and anti-theft devices. Additionally, Auto-Owners Insurance provides discounts for certain groups and franchises; inquire with them to see whether you might qualify.
Auto-Owners Insurance provides property coverage for many types of homes, including condominiums, mobile homes and farms. Renter’s insurance for apartments and rental homes is also available.
Different coverages can be added to a policy to suit the needs of the insured. Basic policies cover the home’s structure and contents from a handful of named perils, like fire and vandalism. Supplemental coverages include protection against floods, sewer backup and earthquakes. Additional protection for valuable personal property, including jewelry, personal computers and sporting equipment, can also be added.
Discounts are offered for newly renovated homes, homes including protection devices and seasonal homes. Mature home owners receive discounts over younger customers. Insureds can also save money on their policies by paying their premiums in full at the beginning of the term and by carrying multiple policies with Auto-Owners Insurance.
Auto-Owners sells life, disability and long-term care insurance in addition to annuities for retirement planning. Their life coverage includes both permanent and term insurance products.
Permanent life insurance lasts as long as premiums are paid. It’s usually the more expensive insurance option, but it includes an investment component and has cash value.
- Universal Life – Immediate cash value and flexible premiums.
- Whole Life – Level premiums and a guaranteed cash value.
- Simplified Whole Life – Guaranteed premiums and benefits to insureds between the ages of 50 and 80.
- Children’s Advantage Plan – A form of permanent life insurance for children under the age of 18. After turning 18, the child’s death benefit will double in value without a rise in premiums.
Term Life is more affordable, but it has no cash value. Policies are sold in terms of 10, 20 and 30 years, with level death benefits offered to the insured at any point in that policy.
Regardless of the policy type, certain optional benefits can be added:
- A disability waiver, allowing the insured’s premiums to be waived if he or she becomes disabled for longer than six months.
- Additional benefits to insureds who die as a result of an accident.
- Mortgage payment disability benefits, which help to pay off existing debts if the insured becomes disabled.
Aside from life insurance products, Auto-Owners also sells long term care and disability insurance. The former pays for nursing homes or other long-term care facilities the insured may need as he ages; the latter provides supplemental income to insureds who become disabled by an accident or illness.
Auto-Owners offers insurance policies for businesses of all sizes. Among the coverage plans offered are commercial building and auto, business liability and farm insurance. Specialty policies for garages and dealerships are sold as well.
Additionally, Auto-Owners sells business life insurance policies, professional liability and optional coverage for earthquake and flood protection for structures.
Auto Owners Insurance Price (Rates)
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Auto Owners works through agents and agencies, which tends to raise premium prices a bit compared to direct insurers like GEICO and Progressive. Despite offering coverage in over 20 states, online quotes are only available to residents of Wisconsin.
Auto-Owners offers trademarked “No Problem” claims service, meaning that all claims are handled by the insured’s agent rather than a central claims department. After-hours emergency claims can be filed at 1-888-252-4626.
After an accident or loss occurs, you contact your local agent to begin the filing process. The agent then will transfer the information to a local claims office. Currently Auto-Owners has 80 claims offices spread out over 26 states. An adjuster from this local office will be assigned to the claim and will be in contact to obtain any additional information and establish an inspection, if needed.
Consumer Research and Complaints
In a 2011 Insurance Shopping Study completed by J.D. Power and Associates, Auto-Owners ranked second, coming in just behind American Family as the company customers were most pleased with. It received a five-star rating, earning 860 out of a possible 900 points.
It topped the charts of the J.D. Power 2012 claims satisfaction study, scoring five stars and 887 out of 900 points. It was the only company in the study to earn five stars.
A 2013 JD Power survey ranked them a bit lower. Auto-Owners earned just three out of five stars in every category but “Local Agent,” in which they earned four stars.
Auto-Owners Insurance is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it is listed on the BBB website with an A+ rating. In the past three years, 75 complaints were made against the company. Of these, 32 have been closed within the previous 12 months. The majority of the complaints are issues with the product or service, with billing and collection issues trailing as a distant second.
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Auto-Owners Insurance ranks well with consumer reporting agencies, and they carry a very high mark from AM Best in terms of financial strength. The typical customer can get just about all their insurance needs under one roof with Auto-Owners, and their business insurance offerings are quite numerous.
Information about their premium prices is difficult to come by, but they are worth a look for anyone in their coverage area. The best bet is to get multiple quotes from other insurance companies in order to get a good picture of how their pricing stacks up.
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About the Author
I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.