Home insurance
September 17, 2015 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Is Safeco legit? Also, homeowners insurance unsolicited advice welcome.

I have been shopping for home insurance using a Consumer Reports buyers guide (with ratings comparisons) in one tab and the California Homeowner Premium Survey in the other. I've called about 6 companies, created a spreadsheet, and generally driven myself nuts with this whole thing.

Literally every company I've called but one has had tons of restrictions that have excluded me from getting covered based on having some old knob and tube, needing some roof repairs, having not fully updated plumbing, etc.

But, through my credit union, I have access to an insurance broker who gave me a quote for Safeco home insurance that seems to offer the same replacement cost coverage at a significantly lower (almost half) the annual price as other companies I've talked to. ($450 annually.) They have seemingly no restrictions, didn't even ask about dog breeds or anything.

I'm confused, Safeco seems to be a big, legit company. But they're not reviewed on Consumer Reports (maybe because they're not offered in every state?) and what's the catch with the low rates and no restrictions?

Do you know anything about this company in particular? Have you had them as your provider? Any other homeowners insurance pitfalls I should think about?

Thank you!!
posted by latkes to Work & Money (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We have Safeco for auto and homeowners insurance in Minnesota. We've only had to file one claim with them, for a flooded basement, and it was handled quickly and efficiently. They were the most affordable option I found when I was researching companies, although I never had to deal with any kind of restrictions. I'm very happy with them.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:50 PM on September 17, 2015

Yes, one claim, handled very well.
posted by wnissen at 8:59 PM on September 17, 2015

Yes, I have also had one claim with Safeco and they were much much better and more knowledgeable than I expected.
posted by littlewater at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2015

Totally legit company founded here in Seattle, Washington. My aunt retired from their Seattle branch after 30 years in their support department, my brother did his high school summer internships there for two summers, and my mom has her home insurance from them for 30+years. My mom also had one claim and they handled it very well.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 10:11 PM on September 17, 2015

I'm confused, Safeco seems to be a big, legit company.

It may comfort you to know that Safeco paid a lot of money (all wasted on you apparently) to have their name attached to the municipal baseball field in Seattle - Safeco field. As insurance companies go, it's a big, legit company.
posted by three blind mice at 12:44 AM on September 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Btw, Safeco is now owned by Liberty Mutual, so maybe that's why you couldn't find Safeco in Consumer Reports.
posted by peacheater at 4:19 AM on September 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Credit unions are often quite good at tracking down decent deals for their members. Quite a lot of the time, this will end up involving outfits that rely on doing good work and being found by brokers and credit unions rather than pissing money up against the wall on advertising.
posted by flabdablet at 4:49 AM on September 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had Safeco for auto and home and dropped them like a hot potato after I experienced really poor customer service on an auto claim WHERE I WAS NOT AT FAULT.

I thought to myself, if this is how they are treating me after a collision claim where I'm a victim (it was a four-car pileup; I was at the front), how would they treat me if we suffered a loss on our home?

PM me if you'd like specifics. But I think they're terrible. We moved on.
posted by FergieBelle at 6:41 AM on September 18, 2015

Response by poster: OK folks, this was really helpful. I hear that last concern but I am going to go ahead and sign up for now (overwhelmed by million home-buying tasks) and then reassess in a few months when the dust settles.

Thank you!
posted by latkes at 7:24 AM on September 18, 2015

Nthing FergieBelle. My car was totaled while insured by SafeCo and it was one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had. (Also not at fault, sandwiched by two drivers who both fled the scene, had witnesses)
posted by getawaysticks at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2015

Yes, Safeco is legit.

However...Double-check and make sure that amazingly low price you got was your actual, firm, no gotchas, final price, and not a come-on low-ball price. In such a case, your actual price could go up drastically once your application goes through underwriting.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:55 AM on September 18, 2015

A few years ago my car was totaled in an accident where the other driver was at fault, as attested by plenty of witnesses. I spent a few days researching the value of the car and what a fair market settlement might be, and Safeco met my expectation without dragging their feet. Although my policy did not cover a rental car, the other driver's policy did, and Safeco worked with the other company to get my rental car paid for.

I was still pissed at having to buy another car and take on a car payment again, but that's no reflection on the company. I don't like insurance companies on general principle, but they have not given me any reason to complain. Plus I feel a small consolation from knowing that my premiums don't go toward blanketing the airwaves with advertising. (Don't get me started on insurance company advertising, and if I do start, don't let me finish.)
posted by Flexagon at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2015

Again, Safeco is legit. We had no issues with the one claim we've made against our homeowner's insurance. The adjuster was personable and treated us fairly. We received our payment quickly and without hassle. We've only made one claim against our auto insurance and had no issues with them. It was a single car accident and our rates only went up a tiny amount after. We are happy with them.
posted by whatideserve at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2015

I've had Safeco on my home for twenty years. I've filed about four claims, all of which were handled quickly and fairly. They've also insured my family's cars for ten years or so; they've always been fair to us.
posted by faceonmars at 4:35 PM on September 19, 2015

Hi, I'm a little late to this party (as usual). I used to work for Consumer Reports in the division that does the research that many of the service ratings are based on. Thought it might interest you to know that just because something isn't included in the ratings list doesn't mean it's not legit; one of the main criteria for inclusion in ratings reports is the number of ratings received by subscribers in the annual questionnaire. There's a minimum for each product/service category in order to ensure a sample from which we can draw the most solid conclusions from. Smaller/regional/less popular companies or brands may be really great, but can get shut out of the ratings due to having too small of a sample size to provide reliable data.
posted by Fuego at 2:22 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

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