BySamantha Kostaras Insurance Writer

Samantha Kostaras is an Insurance Writer for Reviews.com where she covers everything about making sure you’re covered.

American Family Auto Insurance Review

American Family Insurance is a safe choice for car insurance if it is available in your area. It didn’t deliver a standout performance in any of the key ratings we reviewed, but it didn’t end up at the bottom for any of them, either. In fact, we chose American Family as one of the best car insurance companies after it passed all of our initial quality checks (a test that ruled out over 40 other insurers).

American Family, or AmFam, offers online quotes, online resources, and even an app, ranking slightly above average in J.D. Power’s 2019 Digital Experience study. It does hover at or below average in other J.D. Power studies measuring overall satisfaction and claims satisfaction, meaning other forms of customer service may fall somewhat short. However, AmFam makes up for this with a strong commitment to community involvement.

As of 2018, AmFam was the 10th-largest auto insurer in the United States, and it’s only growing. It's currently available in 19 states, but it recently acquired Ameriprise’s Auto and Home Insurance business in an effort to expand — so if it's not available where you live right now, it may be soon.

The Claim

American Family claims that it's “not like just any insurance company” and that what makes it unique is its dedication “to inspiring, protecting and restoring your dreams.”

Is it true?

Sort of.

American Family Insurance certainly likes to center its marketing efforts around dreams, a message that connects to the human element of insurance. It believes a key to delivering on this message is AmFam agents’ ability to anticipate customer needs, stating on the website: “Protection like that can give you the freedom to go forth confidently in the direction of your dreams.” AmFam even sponsors a Dreams Foundation to help others though “financial support, volunteering, creativity and expertise.” It is obvious through its website and advertising that community involvement is a top priority for the auto insurer.

As for AmFam being “not like just any insurance company”? This is harder to buy into. By every measure we’ve seen, American Family Insurance actually appears to be a very average insurance company. Multiple ratings from J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have shown that AmFam lands pretty reliably in the middle of the pack for customer satisfaction. Even its A.M. Best financial strength rating of “A” is neither impressive nor concerning for a major insurer.

Even if these measures don’t show that AmFam is quite as special as it thinks it is, you may find that it’s an insurer that’s able to meet your needs without the higher price tag that could come from insurers with more of a standout performance. If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable insurer with decent customer service ratings (and if you live within an eligible area), we recommend requesting a quote from AmFam.

Product Overview

  • In business since: 1927
  • A.M. Best financial strength rating: A
  • Policy types: Car, Motorcycle, RV
  • Pros: Average customer satisfaction ratings, good range of discounts
  • Cons: Limited availability

Features

Standard coverage options
Bodily Injury Liability
Property Damage Liability
Collision
Comprehensive
Medical Payments
Underinsured Motorist Protection
Optional add-on coverage
Ride-Share Coverage*
Umbrella Liability Protection
Emergency Road Service
Gap Coverage
Rental Reimbursement
Advertised discounts
Multi-Vehicle
Loyalty
Early-Bird
Multi-Product
Switch Providers
Auto Safety Equipment
Defensive Driver
Good Driving
Low Mileage
KnowYourDrive*
Good Student
Teen Safe Driver
Away at School
Young Volunteer
Generational
Autopay
Pay-in-Full
Paperless

*Availability depends on state.

Average customer satisfaction ratings

While some insurers may excel in one category but suffer in others, American Family delivers a consistently middle-of-the-road performance. AmFam tends to hover right around the industry average among major studies, although it did earn a “better than most” rating in the Northwest region in J.D. Power’s 2019 customer satisfaction study. Although its overall performance is lackluster, it is worth noting that we also didn’t find any glaring red flags.

Wide range of discounts

On our list of the best car insurance companies, American Family stands out for the unique discounts it offers. AmFam not only has traditional discounts for things like bundling your insurance policies and paying bills online, but it also offers more unique discounts. Among these are young driver discounts, including a discount for young drivers who do volunteer work, and a usage-based insurance program called KnowYourDrive. KnowYourDrive is a mobile app that tracks your driving and gives you feedback on how safe (or unsafe) your driving habits are. You can earn a 5% just for signing up for this program and, according to the AmFam website, up to 20% by driving safely. And unlike other usage-based insurance programs, KnowYourDrive will never raise your premium or offer you a discount lower than 2%.

Commitment to community

If community involvement is important to you, AmFam may be a good fit. Other insurers participate in corporate responsibility — Lemonade, for instance, gives back any extra premiums it receives to charity — but AmFam has really interwoven this value into its identity as a business. It was even recognized in 2018 as a Distinguished Performer in the Community category in the Deloitte Wisconsin 75 honors. Its efforts include the Dreams Foundation, which focuses on social impact and sustainability improvements. While this community involvement won't directly affect your insurance experience, it's nice to know that you're partnered with a company that's committed to giving back.

Possible drawbacks

Limited availability

American Family is currently available in 19 states, which means that it may not be an option for you. However, its newly acquired business, Ameriprise Auto and Home, sells insurance in 43 states and Washington, D.C., meaning that AmFam could be approaching a major expansion.

Where is American Family Insurance available?

American Family Auto Insurance is available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Competition

  American Family Geico Progressive Farmers
Our review Our review Our review
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A A++ A+ A
J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study score
3/5
"About average"
3/5
"About average"
3/5
"About average"
3/5
"About average"
Customer complaints*
Fewer complaints than average Average number of complaints Average number of complaints Fewer complaints than average
States available
19 50 50 50
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

*Customer complaints are registered by the NAIC and measured relative to the company's market share.

American Family vs. Geico

The biggest difference between American Family and Geico is in customer satisfaction. While Geico earned the top spot in J.D. Power's study on digital experience, AmFam sat just above the industry average. Geico’s extensive online resources are helpful for DIY policy management, while AmFam seems to emphasize working with its agents. Additionally, Geico ranked higher in J.D. Power's 2019 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, although it's worth noting that AmFam received fewer NAIC customer complaints, even when adjusted for market share. Each company offers a wide range of discounts, so if both insurers are available in your area, it may be helpful to compare quotes and see which will provide you the best value.

American Family vs. Progressive

Progressive is another insurer with a wide range of advertised discounts. If you’re budget-conscious, it may make sense to compare quotes from each insurer, but it’s important to consider the fact that while American Family has a very middle-of-the-road performance in customer satisfaction ratings, Progressive has fallen short. In J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey, Progressive ranked below average in seven out of the 11 regions, even falling to last place in the New York area.

American Family vs. Farmers

If geographic availability is an issue with AmFam, it shouldn’t be with Farmers, as Farmers offers coverage in all 50 states. Farmers also may be a better fit for those looking to handle most of their insurance needs online, as it outperformed AmFam in digital experience, earning the No. 3 spot in the 2019 J.D. Power study, while AmFam narrowly beat the industry average. However, AmFam has a slight advantage when it comes to customer service. AmFam was named “better than most” for customer satisfaction in the Northwest region by J.D. Power, while Farmers was consistently rated “about average” for every region in which it was included. Before deciding between the two providers, it may be worth considering if you prioritize digital or in-person interactions — Farmers may be a better fit for the former, while AmFam excels in the latter.

American Family Auto Insurance FAQ

Where is American Family Auto Insurance available?

American Family offers auto insurance in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Can I file a claim for American Family Insurance online?

Yes. To file your auto insurance claim online, go to American Family's website. You can also file your claim over the phone by calling 1-800-692-6326.

Does American Family Insurance have a mobile app?

Yes. American Family offers the MyAmFam app, which lets you schedule payments, access proof of insurance instantly, and file claims from your mobile device.

The Bottom Line

American Family has agents available to meet with you in person or over the phone, but it’s not an insurer stuck in the past — AmFam also provides online tools to help you manage your policy and file claims online. Although AmFam auto insurance is currently only available in 19 states, it has a history of growth and may expand to your area in the future. It offers solid, middle-of-the-pack customer satisfaction ratings along with a wide range of unique discounts, so it might be worth including it in your quote comparison to see if it can deliver the best value for your coverage.

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