UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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Safeway Insurance was founded in 1959 and advertises itself as the largest privately-owned family-run insurance company in the United States. Its founder, William J, Parillo, still acts as President and Chairman for the company, while his brother is a major shareholder.
Safeway’s headquarters is located in Westmont, Illinois, but they have offices located in all of the states where they sell insurance. They operate as a group of companies under the Safeway name to provide coverage in a total of 12 states; those states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas.
The company previously offered home insurance but sold off their property branch, Safeway Property Insurance, in 2015 to Florida Specialty Holdings. The company withdrew from Florida at the same time and now offers no coverage in that state.
Policies are sold through independent agents in all of the states where they are available.
Safeway Auto Insurance
Safeway does not provide much information on their auto program on the website. They outline the basics of what auto insurance is for and do so in such a way as to give the impression that they write very basic policies without a lot of extras and options.
The site also states that they can often help drivers with a less than the perfect driving record, which indicates that although they are not considered a non-standard insurance company, they do write coverage for drivers that may be considered higher risk.
Auto insurance from this company is advertised as being straightforward and affordable, so we would expect that they have all of the common options – comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and rental car coverage – in addition to basic liability, but probably do not offer some of the trendier add-ons in the insurance industry.
A list of available discounts for their auto insurance products is no available.
Safeway operates through independent agents and does not offer any online quoting. They are advertised as a budget insurance company, so we would anticipate that they offer reasonable rates, particularly since their policies are very basic.
That expectation, however, was not borne out by our look at the California Department of Insurance’s premium comparison tool. For our sample driver, Safeway came in among the most expensive – in the top ten most expensive, actually – with a rate that was several thousand dollars higher than the least expensive option. Considering that Safeway specializes in basic policies, we ran another search for a base lability-only policy. Again, Safeway came in among the highest priced and was more than a thousand dollars above the cheapest option listed.
It is possible that this company is a cheaper option in other parts of the country, but it does not perform well in California.
The Safeway website, which is dated and not particularly informative to begin with, needs an update to the claims page. The page instructs policyholders as to what information they will need to gather in order to file a claim and then instructs them to choose the local office from the list below that information. Unfortunately, there is no such list on the page.
The claims contact phone numbers for each state can be found on the website, but it requires going through the locations section of the website; the information is not directly offered in the claims section. Each state has a toll-free number to report a new claim, but none of the claims lines is 24/7. Each has its own specified business hours of operation.
On the Accident Tips page of the website, there is a toll-free claim phone number listed as well, with no indication that it is specific to any one state. It is not stated whether or not this is a 24/7 number.
Overall, the website’s listing and organization of claims contact information is disjointed and confusing. A clear, concise claims page that outlines where to direct claims and lists all options would be a good upgrade for this company’s site.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Safeway Insurance has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with a total of 37 complaints on file in the past three years – not a high number for a company of this size. They have been accredited since 1997. 10 customer reviews have been left on the BBB page, all of which are negative. They cite claims denial and problems with customer service.
There are 248 reviews on Pissed Consumer, with an overall rating of 1.3 stars. There are a lot of complaints about claims services, as well as some less than helpful reviews from people who seem to be attempting to contact the company through the review website.
We were unable to find much else on this company, which adds up to a general lack of information overall.
The Bottom Line
Safeway Insurance does not appear to bring in a lot of business through online searches; we found very limited information on a dated and poorly organized website. Without details on the policies, it is hard to determine what kind of value they offer, but even if the policy is stellar, the sample rate comparison ranks them among the pricier options. Added to a lot of claims complaints, that leaves us recommending that drivers look elsewhere for their auto insurance.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.