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Top 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies – 2011

Michigan insurance attorney identifies the best car insurance companies based on pricing, paying claims and customer satisfaction

As a No-Fault insurance attorney only helping people in auto accidents, I’m asked at least once a week what auto insurance companies I actually like. Here’s my updated list for the auto insurance companies that give people some of the best value for their auto premium dollars.

For the most recent list, check out my post on our attorney picks for the Best Auto Insurance Companies in 2013.)

I knocked off some insurance companies – like Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan – because even though they also have low prices, my own personal experiences with them (along with the other 17 insurance attorneys here), is that they treat their customers poorly when they’re injured and need No-Fault insurance benefits or attendant care. Farm Bureau has also written very restrictive language in its UIM policy language.

The following list is comprised of auto insurance companies that have the best:
o Price,
o Assurance that valid auto accident and injury claims will be paid, and
o Good customer service.

With those factors in mind, I evaluated the top 10 largest auto insurance companies in Michigan, as well as a couple other auto insurers to see what they had to offer.

Based on my analysis, the insurers who made my list of the Best Auto Insurance Companies for 2011 are:

o Auto-Owners Insurance Company

o Home-Owners Insurance Company

o Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company

o Grange Insurance Company of Michigan

Below are my reasons for including each auto insurer on my list.

Auto-Owners Insurance Company

For the past three years, Auto-Owners has won the J.D. Powers and Associates’ Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, ranking “highest in overall satisfaction among auto insurance claimants …” Each year, Auto-Owners earned the highly coveted rating, “Among the best.”

Additionally, in the J.D. Powers and Associates’ 2010 National Auto Insurance Study, which measures customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies, Auto-Owners was rated “Better than most.”

Auto-Owners topped the list for paying out the highest percentage of its premium dollars in claims. For instance, for every premium dollar Auto-Owners receives from Michigan drivers, it pays out approximately $.74 in auto accident claims.

Auto-Owners’ prices were among the lowest in all five of the markets examined in compiling the list of the Best Auto Insurance Companies for 2011.

Finally, Auto-Owners received relatively few consumer complaints.

Home-Owners Insurance Company

Home-Owners had the lowest prices in two of the five markets examined.

Additionally, Home-Owners paid out the second highest percentage of premium dollars in claims. For every premium dollar Home-Owners received from Michigan drivers, it paid out $.69 in auto accident claims.

Grange Insurance Company of Michigan

Grange Insurance Company of Michigan has been my personal favorite for the last couple years. The people at Grange just try to do the right thing. Last month, one of my co-workers had a drunk driver slam into her husband’s pick-up truck that was parked in front of their house in the early morning hours. Even though they had a substantial deductible, the Grange adjuster waived it. If you look at the consumer satisfaction sites below, Grange receives very few consumer complaints.

Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company

Michigan Millers Mutual topped the list for fewest consumer complaints, and the insurers’ prices ranked among the lowest in four of the five markets examined.

I hope you find my list of the Best Auto Insurance Companies for 2011 helpful. Do you think your auto insurance company deserves to be counted as one of the best? Leave a comment here, or post it on the Michigan Auto Law Facebook page.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Michigan and you’re confused about your No-Fault insurance rights, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. You can speak directly with an insurance attorney, and the advice is free.

- Steven M. Gursten is head of Michigan Auto Law. He is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious auto injury cases and No-Fault litigation. Michigan Auto Law has received the highest jury verdict for a car accident or truck accident in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Additional resources to protect yourself:

Top 6 Worst Auto Insurance Companies – 2011

How to choose the best auto insurance company in Michigan

Three potential cases after a Michigan auto accident

Sources for the best insurance companies list

o Insurance Institute of Michigan, 2010 IIM Fact Book (Page 27)

o Insurance Company Complaint Ratios (Automobile Coverage), Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation

o “The Competitiveness and Premium Excessiveness of the … Auto Insurance Industr[y] in the State of Michigan,” Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (Appendix L)

o 2008 Buyers Guide to Auto Insurance, Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (See Example 3 on Page 16 and markets NED (Northeast Detroit), LAN (Lansing), TRA (Traverse City), SAG (Saginaw) and GRA (Grand Rapids)

o J.D. Power and Associates, 2010 Auto Claims Satisfaction and 2010 National Auto Insurance studies.

2010 IIM Fact Book – Auto Insurance

State of Michigan complaint ratios for insurance companies

State of Michigan – competitiveness report

State of Michigan – auto insurance companies’ combined loss ratios

State of Michigan auto buyer guide

J.D. Power and Associates – Satisfaction with auto claims process declines

J.D. Power and Associates – Auto insurance ratings and claims

J.D. Power and Associates – National auto insurance study

J.D. Power and Associates – Auto Insurance Provider Ratings

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident and No-Fault insurance lawsuits throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an auto insurance attorney. We are here to help you.

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11 comments on “Top 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies – 2011

  1. Gregg Low on said:

    Thanks for your “Top 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies” review. I plan to check out all 4 companies. Google doesn’t turn up a company website for “Home-Owners Insurance Company.” Do you have a url for them? Thanks again.

    • Home Owners is a subsidary of Auto Owners. I have Auto Owners on my home and Home Owners on my cars. I had a hail damage claim two years ago on my home and they were fantastic.

  2. Tyciana Cage on said:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such thorough reviews. Understanding my policy can be very confusing & a lot of these major auto insurance companies can make people (esp. 22 y/o olds like myself) believe they are making the best choice when they really aren’t. I’ll be calling tomorrow to get quotes & I feel a little more at ease about it now. Thanks again!

    Ty

  3. I suggest you look a little deeper than claiming an company is great because they waived a deductable. Try looking into how Grange responds to the serious and totally life changing accidents.
    I know of a couple that had Grange insurance and they have treated them horribly. The are still fighting to get coverage from an motor vehicle accident that left her disabled and needing 24/7 care. It is heart breaking to see what an insurance compnay can do to people who need them if a day come when it really matters the most. We all hope to never need to make a claim but pay for insurance to protect us should a life changing accident ever happen. It is just criminal to see what Grange Insurance is doing to this couple who so desperately need help.

  4. Raymond Watson on said:

    I have Auto-owners ins. co. as my policy holder, but I cannot determine whether or not I have uninsured driver coverage. Also, what is your opinion of the Hartford insurance company? Thanks, Raymond watson.

  5. Steven M. Gursten on said:

    Raymond,
    You need to look at your Declaration (Dec) Page from your insurance policy for the coverages. If you cannot find it, have your Auto-Owners’ agent provide another copy for your or order one to be sent to you. Most policies have Uninsured and Underinsured, and if they don’t you need to add both. You should match your Underinsured and Uninsured coverages to your Bodily Injury Liability amount so that you are paying yourself as much as you are paying others. We recommend 100/300 as a minimum.

    Regarding The Hartford, you do not need to be insured by a top advertiser to be properly covered. An independent agent can quote across several companies for the best coverage. However, you should make sure your coverages are correct before you start looking at price. You can always include The Hartford in your comparison.

  6. Thanks for all the information you’ve provided. Do you have any suggestion as far as best/worst companies when it comes to motorcycle insurance? Also,how important is un/under ins. Protection even though we have medical ins. Though work?
    Thanks for your help.

  7. Auto-Owners Insurance is the comprised of five property and casualty companies and one life/health/annuity insurer, including Home-Owners Insurance Company.

    This is a great company! They support the independent agency system 100%, which means every policy comes with a real person . . . not an internet supported customer service center where you are just a number.

  8. Renee on said:

    I think you should look at Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Company, out of Flint Mi.
    My daughter was in an accident when she was 16, it was her fault, but Pioneer took care of everything. All medical bills I submitted were taken care of, the adjuster was so helpful when I was concerned about the other party wanting to sue. She told me that’s what the insurance company was there for, so we wouldn’t have to worry about things like that. It’s been 2 years since that accident. I also had a claim for my own car when I hit a deer, again no problems or hassles with the claim. I hope other people with Pioneer have had such great service.

  9. I had Pioneer INS and they treated me horrible when my oil furnace caught fire and left black suet all over my house. I had to get an attorney to get them to pay for damages. They only paid for part of the damages and I had to take out a loan to cover the rest. I went to the pioneer ins main office in Flint Mi and asked to speak to a top manager and i was escorted out of the building. I dropped the pioneer co and would never recommend it ever! I was told that insurance adjusters refuse to pay claims to show the INS co they can save them money. The more money they save the co the bigger claims the adjuster is given and they make more money. It’s a racket!

  10. Awesome information. I will definitely be keeping this post in mind during my search for a company that does car insurance in Halifax. Thanks.

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