Mercury Auto Insurance ReviewThursday, 25 July 2013 21:48
Mercury Insurance Group is a specialty insurance provider that offers affordable rates for auto insurance for the higher than normal risk group in California and 12 other states. It is the 13th largest auto insurer in the United States. Mercury Insurance is a popular choice in California because it offers affordable premiums and discounts for drivers who may have difficulties finding affordable insurance elsewhere. The company has mixed reviews in regard to their claims processing and customer service. Although Mercury is known to offer affordable rates, rates will vary based on a driver’s record and other factors. Their auto insurance can be a viable option for drivers in California who might have had a recent increase in their premiums and are looking for something more affordable.
Company Background Information
Mercury Insurance Group began in 1962 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Mercury Insurance was created to be a more affordable alternative to other insurance companies in the region. It eventually specialized in offering affordable private passenger auto insurance for drivers with a higher than average risk profile by following strict underwriting guidelines and screening applicants. Mercury offered insurance only in California for its first 28 years, and in 1990 the company finally expanded to other regions. At the moment Mercury provides insurance for 13 states in total and primarily offers auto insurance but also sells home, renters, condo and other insurance products. It is among the top 15 largest auto insurance companies in the U.S. and employs over 5,000 people.
Mercury received some negative press in 2007 when an investigation by the California Department of Insurance found that the insurer may have engaged in discriminatory practices by screening unemployed people and certain professions, but Mercury countered that the investigation was politically motivated. California is still the insurer’s major auto insurance market and it has seen financial success by marketing to the moderately high risk group.
Mercury was rated A+ in 2012 by A.M. Best for its consistent earnings and adequate capitalization and received a credit rating of “a-“ with stable outlooks for all of its ratings. A.M. Best also noted that the insurance company’s business in California exposes the company to certain unique challenges such as market instability and legislative issues. The company was also rated 3 out 5 by J.D. Power in its 2013 claims satisfaction survey.
Pros of Mercury Car Insurance
- Offers affordable rates to the above average driving risk group who may have difficulties getting a good rate elsewhere
- One of the most popular auto insurers in California
- Financially stable company with a stable outlook
Cons of Mercury Car Insurance
- Mixed reviews in regard to customer support satisfaction and claims processing
- Not as many unique programs and discounts as other insurance providers
Mercury offers some of the standard discounts that most other providers offer including:
- Good driving discounts for drivers with minimal traffic violations
- Multiple vehicle discounts for insuring more than one vehicle
- Vehicles equipped with anti-theft features are eligible for discounts
- Good grade discounts are offered to young adults
- Discounts are also available to members of select professional organizations
There are other discounts offered based on the state.
Types of Insurance Offered
Mercury offers auto, home, condo, renters, mechanical breakdown, umbrella, business auto, and business insurance. The following standard auto coverage options are offered:
- Minimum liability
- Collision and comprehensive
- Personal injury
- Uninsured driver coverage
- Roadside assistance
- Rental car coverage
Mercury sells business coverage for commercial vehicles used in wholesale, catering, construction, farming, office, and many other industries. The company also insures a large number of different types of commercial vehicles including: SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, utility trucks, passenger cars and more. The coverage options available for commercial vehicles are similar to what Mercury offers for personal vehicles.
Mercury Customer Authorized Repair Service (CARS)
The Customer Authorized Repair Service is a unique service that is designed to get vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible. For customers involved in an accident there are three steps for filling a claim:
- Call the 24/7 claims hotline to file the claim
- Get information on the nearest approved CARS repair facility
- Have the vehicle repaired at the facility
Mercury selects its CARS shops based on the quality of their work and customer service and other criteria. Policy holders are not required to use the CARS program for their vehicle repairs but using a CARS shop will guarantee the vehicle’s repairs. Vehicle repairs from a CARS certified repair shop are guaranteed for the full life of the vehicle. Mercury also offers the additional benefit of handling all the paperwork that needs to be filed; the customer only has to pick their preferred facility. Mercury’s claims department communicates directly with the CARS repair facility and claims can also be tracked online by the customer.
The recent 3 out of 5 J.D. Power rating suggests that although many of Mercury’s customers may be satisfied with their service there are still some customers who are reporting dissatisfaction with the claims process. J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study takes into account service interaction, rental car experience, reimbursement, appraiser, and several other factors. Mercury was rated 3 out of 5 for most areas with a 2 out of 5 score for their first notice of loss procedures.
There are a variety of both positive and negative reviews of the company online. Customers who had a negative experience reported trouble receiving reimbursements with extended warranties, inaccurate determination of accident liability, problems with customer support communication, and various other claims related problems. Other customers who reported a positive experience said that Mercury helped them with claims filed against them, had good communication and offered affordable rates.
Mercury offers drivers in the moderately high risk category a way to save money on auto insurance, but the extra savings have to be weighed against some of the negative customer experiences that some have had. Even with the company’s average rating for customer support, it is still a good option for California drivers and other drivers who may have high premium rates with another provider due to being labeled a moderately high risk driver. Any insurance shoppers who happen to be looking for auto insurance now can get rates from Mercury and multiple providers just by inputting their zip code on this page.
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