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 3, 2019

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Mercury Car Insurance is a company based in California which also serves customers in New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is the third largest automobile insurer in the state of California.

About Mercury Auto Insurance

The company was founded in 1961 by George Joseph, an insurance executive who wanted to provide a low-cost alternative to the larger car insurance companies.

The strategy he used was called “preferred risk,” which meant that premiums were lower for drivers with good driving records and for those perceived as being at low risk for claims.

In order to keep costs low, underwriting and claims costs had to be kept to a minimum.

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In many ways, Mercury still follows these practices. In fact, today, Mercury targets marketing to good drivers by using the “it’s not you, it’s them” strategy of focusing on how good drivers need coverage to protect themselves from poor drivers and the damage they can cause.

Mercury will probably turn down an application for insurance if the driver seems too high-risk, thereby theoretically cutting their exposure and allowing them to keep their premiums low.

In 2007, the California Department of Insurance conducted an investigation into Mercury’s marketing practices. However, the company was quick to charge that the investigation was politically motivated.

The Department charged that some customers were overcharged and others denied coverage based on arbitrary criteria, rather than rates being uniformly applied.

Mercury was one of the largest supporters of Proposition 103, which was designed to benefit auto insurance companies by allowing them to keep rate structures private.

However, the citizens of the state voted against this measure, and now auto insurance companies are required to reveal how they calculate their rates and which criteria weight more heavily in the figuring of premiums.

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Mercury Auto Insurance Ratings

The Mercury Group, the parent company of Mercury Auto Insurance, received an A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best, one of the nation’s premier financial rating agencies. This rating indicates that the group is financially solid and able to pay its claims.

People who choose Mercury can be assured that they have solid insurance coverage for their vehicles.

In customer satisfaction, Mercury did not receive quite so high a rating. J.D. Power and Associates, a firm which rates auto insurance companies, included Mercury in its 2011 report.

Mercury received only two out of five stars overall, indicating “less than average” customer satisfaction. Mercury received two stars in “Policy Offerings,” “Talking to the Insurer,” and “Billing and Payment.”

The only category in which Mercury received three stars (“average”) was “Pricing.” Mercury has long been known for its affordable premiums for drivers who qualify for low rates, particularly those with good driving records.

In Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index, a 1000-point scale to place companies in relationship to each other, Mercury received a total score of 754, placing it 31st out of the 33 companies included.

Mercury Auto Insurance Coverage Options

In creating their auto insurance policies, Mercury offers a variety of options to custom-build your coverage. By doing so, Mercury claims to be able to keep costs low, as they do not sell “blanket” policies with coverage you do not want or need.

Mercury offers standard liability protection, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical expenses insurance, personal injury protection or PIP, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

You can also purchase extra rental car and roadside assistance coverage, if desired. Many companies build these extras in as part of the total policy package.

However, as many people already have this coverage from another source (such as AAA), Mercury customers can save money by choosing not to purchase the extra coverage, keeping premiums lower overall.

Mercury Auto Insurance Discounts

Mercury also offers a variety of discounts to its customers. You can receive a discount for maintaining a good driving record, for insuring multiple cars on the same policy, keeping your grades in school up, and installing anti-theft devices on your vehicle.

You can also receive a discount if you are a member of certain professional organizations. Talking to an agent may reveal other discount sources if you are considering a policy with Mercury.

Mercury operates through a series of independent agents, allowing customers to have a local, personal agent to help them communicate with the company.

Mercury also offers online quotes through its website with a search feature to help locate agents in certain areas.

Mercury does not employ “dedicated agents,” or agents who work only for the company, although some representatives are available by phone from the home offices.

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