Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2019

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CSAA, or the California State Auto Association, is an affiliate of the national AAA, or American Automobile Association, operating under two groups in the state: AAA of Northern California, and AAA (operating in Southern California).

CSAA is only affiliated with the Northern California portion of the organization.

The organization also has divisions in Utah and Nevada. The insurance section of this organization is known as the California State Auto Association Inter Insurance Bureau.

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History of the California State Auto Association

This complex organization actually originated during a modest meeting of San Francisco automobile enthusiasts in 1900. The group wanted to petition for better laws and roads for the new “horseless carriage.”

In 1907, this group affiliated with other AAA groups across the country. In 1914, the company began offering automobile insurance to its members.

As with most AAA groups, CSAA offers deep discounts to its members on auto insurance, although a membership fee is also required.

However, members enjoy other benefits such as car towing and repair services. The company currently insures over 1 million drivers and is one of the top five auto insurance companies in Northern California.

While AAA is one of the largest companies offering special protection for car owners, the CSAA is actually a smaller company with a very limited purpose.

Most AAA members are very satisfied with the organization’s services. CSAA members have rated the auto insurance portion as about average in customer service.

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CSAA Auto Insurance Customer Service Review

According to the J.D. Power and Associates rankings for 2010, CSAA scored 769 out of 1000 in customer satisfaction, beating out many larger companies such as Nationwide, Travelers, and Farmers.

CSAA was ranked 21st overall in the J.D. Power ratings scale. Customers gave CSAA three out of five stars in overall satisfaction and in most categories polled, such as pricing and policy offerings.

Part of the reason for this rating may have nothing to do with individual service. By diversifying into so many insurance areas, CSAA actually serves a wide variety of needs, and this may somewhat diminish any particular service they offer.

While CSAA employs agents, most of its sales come through the AAA venue, so insurance is something of a secondary market for this company. However, for the size of the company, it still outperforms many larger firms which sell only insurance.

CSAA also offers a variety of products for all types of vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs, and watercraft, as well as life insurance products.

CSAA offers its members several premium services, such as DMV services, an auto buying service, emergency towing, and locksmith and repair services.

CSAA Auto Insurance Ratings

The California State Auto Association received an A.M. Best rating of A+, as well as an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

While not a large organization in itself, CSAA is linked to the overall AAA structure, a large organization with businesses in every state, providing solid support for its members whether at home or away.

How much does auto insurance cost from CSAA?

CSAA offers many discounts on its already relatively low premiums. If you drive a hybrid car or an alternative fuel vehicle, you receive a discount on your auto insurance premiums.

Drivers can save 10 percent for taking out automobile and homeowner’s policies with the company, and adding a life insurance policy can result in even more savings.

Besides the premium discounts, many other discounts are available through CSAA such as hotel and car rental savings, as well as savings on many other personal expenses.

The other insurance divisions also offer large discounts. In fact, the homeowner’s division, added in 1974, is California’s fourth-largest home insurance company. By “bundling,” or combining various types of coverage, you can save a great deal of money on all your insurance products.

Auto insurance rates will depend on your driving history, age, and location, as well as the type of vehicle you drive. While no one can predict rates, with a reasonably good driving record, you can be assured that CSAA’s rates will be competitive.

However, like many auto insurance companies, the insurer may decide not to cover you if you are classified as a “high-risk” driver. Most AAA members have relatively clean driving records, so you will be compared to this group overall when seeking a rate quote.

You can find out about CSAA’s products by visiting their website and requesting a quote or to speak with an agent.

Even if you do not decide to insure your car through CSAA, membership in the organization is open to anyone, and you can, for a relatively low fee, obtain many of the benefits of AAA coverage, such as the roadside assistance and car-buying assistance.

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