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Safeway was founded in 1959 by William J. Parillo, who remains the head of the company to this day. His brother, Robert is a major shareholder, making the company a family affair. The headquarters is located in Westmont, Illinois, but the company has regional offices across the area they serve.
Safeway is primarily an auto insurance company. The company previously offered property coverage under Safeway Property Insurance Company, however in 2015 it was acquired by Florida Specialty Holdings and subsequently rebranded as Florida Specialty Insurance Company. Coverage states, for Safeway Insurance, in addition to Illinois are Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas. There are office locations in most of these states to provide personalized service.
Safeway Insurance Group has a list of subsidiaries, most bearing the Safeway name, writing insurance policies in their covered states. Products are sold exclusively through independent agents, and the company promises simple, straightforward, affordable insurance options.
Safeway writes personal lines auto and advertises their policies as affordable and straightforward.
While Safeway is not considered a non-standard insurer, they do offer coverage for both drivers with clean records and will consider those who may have a few blemishes, stating on their website that they may be able to help drivers who have had trouble getting coverage elsewhere, or for those who have had no prior auto insurance in the US.
While there is no detailed information on the auto policies offered, the website indicates that their product is a basic policy with the most common options, such as comprehensive and collision available in addition to liability.
The auto insurance page on Safeway’s website puts a lot of emphasis on their policies as being straightforward and cheap, which makes it clear the company is marketing towards those who are budget insurance shoppers or have received very high quotes elsewhere due to driving record. This points towards a product that is designed to cover all of the legal requirements with a few basic add-ons, and little in the way of trendy or advanced coverage features and benefits.
There is no list of discounts available on the Safeway website, and visitors are urged to contact an agent for more information on products.
Safeway does not offer online quoting, instead providing an agent search to obtain a quote locally.
The company advertises itself as a cheap alternative, but since they also offer coverage in the non-standard market, premiums are likely competitive to those drivers who are considered high-risk.
Although Safeway’s claims page promises to be helpful, it actually offers very little information. The page states that policyholders should report claims to the nearest service center, and states that they should choose from a list, but that list is not actually located on the page.
It takes a little more digging to find an actual phone number to call in a claim; the Accident Tips page offers a toll-free number to report accidents. The Claims FAQ page states that claims should be reported to the “in case of an accident” number on the insurance card, which is likely the same one on the Accident Tips page. This page also has the link to the list of locations to contact locally.
This leaves a little confusion as to how exactly claims should be reported, but it does appear there is a direct line to call in addition to the option of contacting the local service center.
Claims are handled in much the same way as many other insurance companies – an adjuster is assigned, investigates, and determines fault and benefits. Repairs can be done at the repair shop chosen by the policyholder, and Safeway will help arrange towing if needed.
Safeway promises to contact the driver within 48 hours after the report of any accident involving injuries or another vehicle.
Safeway Insurance has been Better Business Bureau accredited since 1997 and carries an A+ rating. There are a total of 14 complaints against the company in the past three years, with only five of those in the past 12 months. Those numbers are very low.
Elsewhere, however, there are plenty of complaints. Pissed Consumer lists 185 complaints against the company, nearly all of which appear to focus on poor claims service. Rude agents and refusal to pay claims are the most common complaints.
There are definitely enough complaints registering the same issues repeatedly to raise red flags regarding how Safeway is handling their claims.
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Safeway has a less-than-informative website that offers little detail in terms of what is actually offered the company’s products, and a confusing claims page that makes it difficult to figure out where or how to report a claim. They are unlikely to be competitive in terms of rates for drivers seeking standard insurance, although they may be an option for higher-risk drivers.
Overall, the reviews are some cause for concern in terms of how claims are handled, and with a lack of clear information and red flags in the claims department, we can’t recommend Safeway Insurance.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.