Safeco, which stands for Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America, is part of the Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation and the Liberty Mutual Group. The Liberty Mutual Group was founded in Seattle in 1923 as the General Insurance Company of America Corporation, which came to be known as The General. Although the corporate headquarters remain in Seattle, the name morphed into General America Corporation and then changed once again.

Safeco began as an offshoot of The General and soon eclipsed its success enough to rename the entire entity the Safeco Corporation. It expanded to offer more than auto and fire insurance, now offering insurance such as renters and home insurance, landlord protection, renters protection, business and umbrella protection. It also offers insurance for a number of vehicles, from motorcycles and classic cars to boats and recreational vehicles. Safeco joined the Liberty Mutual Group in 2008.

Safeco Car Insurance Options

Typical car insurance offered at most companies is also the norm at Safeco. The company’s basic car insurance policy offers liability coverage, user coverage for those who borrow your vehicle with your permission, and 24/7 claims support.

Go above the basic coverage and you can include coverage for your vehicle’s damage, your or your passengers’ personal injuries and medical costs, comprehensive coverage that covers damage or loss in situations other than a collision. Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection can also be part of your policy.

Safeco offers even more additional options. These include new vehicle replacement, roadside help and reimbursement of rental vehicles when your insured vehicle is out of service.

The standard discounts found with most companies are also part of the offerings with Safeco. The company is especially boastful of its bundling, with the ability to save you up to 15% if you combine your Safeco car insurance with a Safeco home insurance policy into a Safeco Package. Insuring multiple cars and having a good driver record can also earn you discounts.

A few unique features make Safeco stand out from the rest of the companies. One is the promise posted on its website that it will get the ball rolling quickly by contacting all parties involved in your claim within a single business day.

The company’s Teensurance package is another unique feature. While not much information is available about the package, the site notes it is a conglomeration of technology and tools geared toward parents who have teen drivers. The Teensurance option was developed by Safeco’s Open Seas, which is a development and research unit of the company that aims to introduce new and innovative features to the car insurance marketplace, the company website says.

National Market Share

The Insurance Information Institute ranked Liberty Mutual Holding Co. at number six on the top 10 list of car insurance writers based on direct premiums written in 2010. Liberty Mutual had $7.5 million in direct premiums and cornered 4.5% of the market share, according to the Insurance Information Institute website.

By comparison, the top company on the list was State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. It wrote $31.1 million in premiums and dominated 18.7% of the car insurance market in 2010.

In the overall casualty and property insurance market, the Safeco website says Liberty Mutual Group was the fifth-largest insurer in the country based on revenues earned in 2009. The group also made the Fortune 100 list and was rated A, for excellent, by A.M. Best for its financial fortitude.

Safeco Marketing

Humor is a tool Safeco Car Insurance Company has used in its advertising for years. A full-page magazine ad from the 1970s show a humorous close-up of a man’s surprised face with the headline noting the tree in the yard is now in the house. But you’re safe, of course, because you have Safeco insurance.

More recent vehicle insurance ads for Safeco feature a stereotypical older couple with a chatty wife and a silent, deadpan husband. She talks about their son, the daredevil motorcycle rider in an ad for motorcycle insurance and how ridiculous boating is for another ad for boat insurance.

J.D. Power Ratings

Safeco Car Insurance Company ranked three out of five for overall customer satisfaction on the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Auto Insurance Provider ratings. That puts them at “about average” for overall performance. Safeco’s lowest rating was in the policy offerings category, where it received the lowest rank of two out of five, a rating known as “the rest.” It fared better in the other three categories, ranking a solid “average” of three out of five for billing and payment; contacting the insurer; and pricing.

Safeco was in dire straits throughout the 1990s, the company website says, but was able to refocus and pull itself out of the dire financial mire. It went on to post a record $880 million in net income in 2005, followed by a second-best annual net income in 2007.