Liberty Mutual Insurance Company began on July 1, 1912 as the Massachusetts Employees Insurance Association (MEIA). In 1917, MEIA changed its name to Liberty Mutual. The company actually wrote its first automobile policy in 1914. As a mutual insurance company, its policyholders own it.

This company has been a pioneer in researching and promoting auto safety. It was among the first to advocate seatbelts and head restraints. In 2011, Liberty Mutual was ranked 84th on Fortune’s list of the 500 largest companies in the United States and does business in 17 countries with 400 offices in the United States.

Liberty Mutual Car Insurance Coverage Options

The company offers typical coverage offered by most car insurance companies, including liability, medical payments, collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage. They also offer one year policy terms which is quite rare to find in the industry, as most car insurance providers only sell six-month policy terms.

Liberty Mutual offers accident forgiveness, and will not increase your rates because of your first accident while covered with them if you haven’t had an accident in five years or a traffic ticket in three years. They also advertise a new car replacement policy; if your car is totaled, you will get enough money to buy a brand new replacement car. This coverage is limited to new cars owned no more than one year with less than 15,000 miles on the odometer. It does not apply to motorcycles or leased cars.

Features Unique to Liberty Mutual Car Insurance

To date, Liberty Mutual is the only company to offer better car replacement. If your car is more than one year old, and you have an accident where the car is totaled, you will receive enough money to buy a one year newer car that has 15,000 less miles on it than your old car. This has been promoted heavily in television advertising.

Liberty Mutual also offers discounts if you are a member of one of the 14,000 groups participating in the Affinity program. The company does not, however, offer some of the discounts other companies do, such as discounts for military personnel. They actively promote safety, offering an online course to help teen drivers navigate the driving tests and learn about driving laws and safety.

They have a game called Driver Seat for senior drivers which is sort of a computerized board game. The object of the game is to navigate a car to various destinations without getting into trouble. It is designed to test and alert senior drivers about their reaction time and vision.

Repair Policies With Liberty Mutual

If you have your car repaired at a Liberty Mutual approved facility, the repairs will be guaranteed for as long as you own your car. They will even arrange to have the repair done for you. If you have your car repaired in an approved facility, the parts will be replaced at their value when new, without any depreciation.

If you need a rental car while the car is being repaired, and you have signed up for this feature in advance, you will be reimbursed for the cost of the rental for as long as it takes for your car to be placed back in service. The only proviso is that you must rent the car through Liberty Mutual, which will make the arrangements for you.

Where Liberty Mutual Stands Among Other Major Insurers

As of 2010, Liberty Mutual had about 5% percent of the United States auto insurance market. There were at least four companies with larger market shares, ranging from eight to eighteen percent.

Financial Strength

A. M. Best, which rates the strength of insurance companies, gives Liberty Mutual an “A” rating. All the companies that are larger receive somewhat higher ratings, ranging from “A+” to “A++.” An “A” rating is considered excellent by A.M. Best, not quite as good as the superior rating earned by other companies but certainly no cause for concern about the company’s ability to pay its claims.

How does Liberty Mutual’s Customer Service measure up?

Liberty Mutual is clearly in the middle of the pack. It rates slightly below some of the other companies in response and repair time, policy flexibility and benefits and discounts. It is apparently a time consuming affair to get an actual customer service or claims adjuster on the telephone. There are online and automated features that attempt to overcome this, but sometimes you just have to talk to a live person.

It is also more difficult to get repair authorizations and claims adjustments than with some of the other insurance companies according to a J.D. Power survey which rates Liberty Mutual about average in rental cars, the repair process, service interaction, settlement and overall satisfaction. It is rated below average for appraisals.

Liberty Mutual is that it is a financially sound car insurer that will work for many drivers and even with less than stellar survey results the company still has a large market share in the USA which would indicate a lot of happy customers. The best car insurance company for your unique profile can only be found by shopping around but Liberty Mutual is certainly one company you want to keep on the short list when comparison shopping.