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9 reasons Progressive made our attorneys’ list of the worst auto insurance companies for 2015

Flo from Progressive

Is Flo really as helpful as she seems?

Progressive falls far short of providing the great insurance coverage Flo cheerily (annoyingly?) touts with her signature red lips amid numerous stark white commercials.

Our attorneys know firsthand.

We litigate countless first-party No Fault insurance cases with Progressive, and so or attorneys see how Progessive treats people when they need their insurance coverage the most – after a car accident.

We recently posted our own 2015 picks of who we think are the best and worst auto insurance companies, and Progressive is near the top of our own “worst” list for 2015.

Our pick is based on our own legal experiences with Progressive, and the real clients we’ve helped when Progressive has broken its contractual promises. Our list also includes published consumer complaints, auto insurance pricing, value for premium dollar, and auto insurer ratings from J.D. Powers and Associates and consumerreports.org.

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Our full guide includes more information on each insurer and tips on how to choose the insurance company that’s right for you and your family. You can order a hard copy of the guide or download it for your Smartphone.

Here are the many reasons Progressive landed near the top of our attorneys’ list of the Worst Auto Insurance Companies for 2015 (second only to State Farm):

1. Progressive charges 48% more to consumers with ‘no credit’ than those with ‘excellent credit.’

In its “2014 Car Insurance by Credit Score Report,” consumer website WalletHub reported that Progressive had approximately 48% premium fluctuation” between the auto insurance prices charged to consumers with “excellent credit” and those with “no credit.” For more information, please read Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “How do credit scores punish Detroit residents when paying for auto insurance?”

2. Progressive charges higher auto insurance prices to drivers with less education and lower-status jobs.

In its study, “Major Auto Insurers Charge Higher Rates To High School Graduates And Blue Collar Workers,” the Consumer Federation of America reported that Progressive and other auto insurance companies “charge higher rates to drivers with less education and lower-status jobs,” than they do to drivers with more education and higher-status jobs.

Specifically, the CFA found Progressive “charges a factory worker with a high school degree higher annual premiums than a plant supervisor with a college degree” by anywhere from 8% to 33%. To learn more, please read Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “Are blue collar workers paying more for car insurance in Michigan?”

3. Progressive charges more for auto insurance to low-income, but ‘safe,’ drivers than to higher-income, accident-prone drivers.

In its study, “Largest Auto Insurers Frequently Charge Higher Premiums To Safe Drivers Than To Those Responsible For Accidents,” the Consumer Federation of America reported that Progressive charged higher auto insurance rates to “safe drivers,” who had little education and lower-paying jobs, than it did to accident-prone drivers, who had more education and higher-paying jobs.

The CFA study was based on price quotes obtained from auto insurers for both a “good driver” (a receptionist with a high school education and a clean driving record) and a “bad driver” (an executive with a Master’s Degree and an at-fault accident with $800 in damage within the past three years) in cities across the country. For more information, take a look at our blog post, “The poor pay more for car insurance than bad drivers.”

4. Progressive ignores Michigan’s No Fault laws, fabricating its own wage loss rules

When a Michigan Auto Law client who was injured in an auto accident applied for No Fault wage loss benefits with Progressive, the company decided to create its own law.
In fact, Progressive informed our client that it would only honor its contractual promise to pay No Fault wage loss if certain conditions were met.

However, these conditions were not based upon Michigan’s No Fault insurance laws, which sets forth the requirements that an auto accident victim must satisfy in order to collect wage loss benefits.

Instead, these were Progressive’s own “conditions”  – they nothing to do with Michigan’s No Fault law. In fact, the statute that Progressive cited as authority for its “conditions” did not even exist.

For more info, please check out Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “Progressive demands ‘7 verifiable proofs’ to avoid paying legitimate claim.”

5. To avoid paying “Underinsurance” benefits to the estate of a loyal Progressive customer who was killed in a crash, Progressive ‘defended’ the at-fault driver who killed Progressive’s insured customer.

After years of accepting, cashing and depositing Kaitlynn Fisher’s dutifully paid premiums for “underinsurance motorist benefits,” Progressive Insurance turned its back on Ms. Fisher (the form of her estate). After Ms. Fisher was killed by an inadequately-insured at-fault driver, her estate made a claim for “underinsured” motorist benefits under her policy with Progressive.

Progressive denied the claim.

But that wasn’t all. The auto insurer contested Ms. Fisher’s estate’s “underinsurance” claim by using Ms. Fisher’s premium dollars to hire a lawyer to “defend” the truly at-fault driver and thus, Ms. Fisher for the car crash that took her life. This was despite overwhelming evidence that the other driver had caused the crash that took Ms. Fisher’s life.

You’ve likely heard of this shameful case. Ms. Fisher’s brother, Matt, made very public statements expressing his outrage at the way Progressive had betrayed his sister, who was also a Progressive premium-paying customer.

For more information, please check out Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “Progressive’s betrayal of woman after fatal car crash could happen to you.”

6. Progressive auto insurance prices are among the most expensive in Michigan.

When compared with Michigan’s other largest auto insurers, Progressive’s auto insurance prices were among the most expensive in all 16 of the major Michigan markets examined.

Progressive Michigan’s auto insurance prices were the third-most expensive in two of the 16 major Michigan markets examined, fourth-most expensive in 11, and fifth-most expensive in the remaining three. Progressive Marathon’s auto insurance prices were the second-most expensive in nine of the 16 major Michigan markets examined and third-most expensive in the remaining seven.

7. Progressive pays the smallest percentage of premiums on auto accident claims.

Among Michigan’s largest auto insurers, Progressive Michigan Insurance Company topped the list for paying out the smallest percentage of its premium dollars in claims for its auto-insurance customers, according to loss ratio data gathered by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS).

For instance, for every premium dollar Progressive receives from Michigan drivers, it pays out approximately $.48 in auto accident claims submitted by its auto insurance customers (*Data was not available for Progressive Marathon Insurance Company).

As an auto accident attorney, this is always bad news.  If an insurance company isn’t using the money it collects to pay claims, that means it is denying and fighting claims (and putting the money to other uses – such as more annoying Flo commercials).

8. Progressive received a below-average rating in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

Progressive received a below-average rating in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping (Auto Insurance Purchase Experience) Study, which ranks auto insurers based on “overall customer [or “new-buyer”] satisfaction with the auto insurance purchase experience …”

Progressive’s below-average performance was marked by its “The rest” rating, which is J.D. Power’s lowest rating. “Among the best” is the highest J.D. Power rating. “Better than most” is the second-highest. “About average” is third. And the lowest is the below-average rating of “The rest.”

Notably, in 2013, Progressive also received a below-average rating.

9. Progressive received a below-average rating in the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.

Progressive received a below-average rating in the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, which ranks auto insurers based on “overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies …”

Progressive’s below-average performance was marked by its “The rest” rating, which is J.D. Power’s lowest rating. “Among the best” is the highest rating. “Better than most” is the second-highest. “About average” is third. And the lowest is the below-average rating of “The rest.”

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Blog Author Steven M. Gursten
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