Mercury Insurance Summary
Mercury Insurance Group is a property and casualty insurance company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Started in 1961, the company only served the state of California until 1990, when they began selling policies in additional areas. California has remained their largest customer base. They currently employ over 5,000 people and provide services in 13 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Their primary business is auto insurance, but they also offer coverage for homes and businesses.
Mercury has historically been a company that provides coverage for above-average risk drivers, which means their underwriting guidelines are fairly tight. Those with good driving records can often find decent rates and coverage, while people with less-than-optimal histories may see a higher-than-average rate.
Mercury writes a lot of auto policies (especially in California) because they target a very specific niche and offer them below-average rates. Their car insurance policies offer a basic set of coverage as required by most states. This includes liability coverage and property damage. In addition to the basics, customers can purchase comprehensive to protect their car from theft and damage from the elements; collision coverage to pay for damage if they are found at-fault; personal injury protection or medical payments to help with health care costs; uninsured and underinsured protection in case they are hit by someone without adequate coverage themselves. Customers can also purchase additional features like rental car coverage and roadside assistance, if they do not have that through another means (like AAA).
In addition to car insurance, Mercury offers a variety of home protection products. These include homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance and renters insurance. Each of these products comes with a variety of different options to protect just about any size or type of home. In addition to dwelling protection, most home insurance products come with some sort of personal property protection. This means items you own, like computers, clothes, furniture, etc. can be covered by your home insurance policy. The coverage amount for this can vary, and in most of Mercury’s policies it can be adjusted to reflect the actual value of your personal property.
For those that carry their auto and home insurance policies with Mercury, you have the option of adding an umbrella policy to increase your overall liability protection. To qualify for an umbrella policy, you typically have to carry certain liability limits on both home insurance and car insurance, and these limits are usually in the 100’s of thousands and can vary by state. Umbrella insurance acts as an extension to these policies, and kicks in once the underlying insurance coverage has been exhausted. Sold in multiples of $1 million, Mercury’s umbrella insurance policies are quite affordable and recommended for anyone that has sizable assets to protect or may be a target for lawsuits given their lifestyle or occupation.
Business owners looking for basic insurance coverage may want to check out Mercury and get a quote from a business insurance agent. They offer business owners policies (BOPs), commercial property, commercial liability, and commercial auto insurance.
Mercury Insurance Price (Rates)
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Our standard auto insurance quote test revealed that Mercury’s rate was 26.3% below the average for all tests we have done so far. This is consistent with our test performed on Mercury over a year ago, which showed them as one of the most affordable insurance companies back then as well. Our tests are performed using a good driver with no accidents or tickets, and that seems to be where Mercury excels. If you have accidents or tickets on your record, it is highly advisable to test a few companies with personalized quotes, as the premium may vary quite a bit.
The methods available to file a claim with Mercury are limited compared to some of the larger insurance companies. After an accident or loss, to file a claim a customer must call their claims hotline at 800-503-3724. Once a claim has been filed, a representative will be assigned and they will be the point of contact for the duration of the process.
As part of Mercury’s coverage, they offer what is called the CARS program for auto repair. CARS is a network of pre-approved repair facilities that they claim meet a specific set of standards in order to qualify for the program. If a customer chooses to have their car repaired at one of their CARS approved facilities, Mercury will guarantee the repairs for as long as they own the vehicle.
Many insurance companies offer similar “in-network” repair shops and they will usually be reputable outfits. Insurance companies send a lot of business to these repair facilities so they cannot afford to do bad work. But that should not deter someone from taking their car to a mechanic or repair shop that they trust. Insurance companies like to push customers towards these preapproved shops because they often have worked out deals with them for lower repair costs, since they get a bulk discount with all the business they send.
Consumer Research and Complaints
Major research outlets Consumer Reports and JD Power have included Mercury in numerous auto insurance satisfaction studies, and besides one, they did not fare very well. The best score we found came in a 2010 study by Consumer Reports which gave an overall auto insurer rating based on claims, payments and non-claims-related problems. In this study, Mercury was given an 86 out of 100 by the readers polled, meaning on average they were very satisfied with the company.
The three JD Power surveys we reviewed were not as kind to Mercury. In 2011, a Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking was performed, and Mercury scored an 806 out 1000, putting them at the very bottom of the list of 22 insurance companies. In 2012, JD Power’s Auto Claim Satisfaction Survey awarded Mercury 2 out of 5, putting them below average. Similar results were achieved in a 2013 study focusing on the purchase experience of a policy. They received 2 out of 5 again, another below average score.
The Better Business Bureau is updating their California records at the time of this review, so we are unable to retrieve current statistics. According to the last time we reviewed Mercury, they had a C- rating, and had 77 complaints filed against them in the previous three years.
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Mercury provides low-cost auto insurance policies for good drivers, especially in California. They have a strong financial rating and offer discounts for individuals who purchase both auto and home insurance through them. Their weakness comes from their customer satisfaction results, as seen in surveys performed by both JD Power and Consumer Reports. We were unable to get an updated Better Business Bureau rating, but their previous grade of C- is very low, even by insurance industry standards.
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