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: Aug 14, 2019

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Shopping for auto insurance can seem like a real hassle. There are so many auto insurance companies to choose from and almost all the car insurance commercials advertised offer the same things.

It’s no wonder many drivers keep asking “What does this company have that others don’t” or “Why should I choose this insurance company instead of another one”

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This is not an easy question to answer, primarily because it requires you to think about the answers to several difficult questions. What are your priorities with an auto insurance company?

Does the customer service have to be great or can you manage things on your own? Is price your most important factor? What if you have a poor driving record or a poor credit rating?

In order to answer these questions, it helps to gain some understanding of individual companies, their business practices, and what they offer. By comparing two auto insurance companies you can learn a great deal about how they would fit your particular requirements.

Two major companies, such as Progressive and Farmers, for example, have significant differences that may affect your choice of one or the other as your ideal company.

About Progressive Auto Insurance

Progressive Insurance is very popular and one the strongest brands in the auto insurance industry due to its strategic television advertising, featuring pop-culture young people and catchy slogans but how did Progressive come into being and what the company all about?

Progressive Casualty Insurance Company began as a venture between two friends from Mayfield Village, Ohio, in 1937. The company began offering property-casualty insurance and grew to be the number 161 company in the Fortune 500, with yearly revenues of $15 billion.

Progressive writes a variety of types of casualty insurance, but primarily insures automobiles, both private and commercial. Progressive Insurance is available in 25 states across the nation.

Read a full Progressive Auto Insurance Review

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About Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance Group is a collection of insurance and financial companies generating $2.14 billion a year in business. The company began in 1927, when two friends came up with the idea of offering lower auto insurance rates to farmers, who statistically had fewer accidents and claims than other groups in California.

With a loan from Bank of America, the two men began their company, which grew into the present Farmers Group.

Farmers was acquired by Zurich Financial Services in 2000, and in turn Farmers acquired 21st Century Insurance in 2009, making it the third-largest insurer in the nation. Farmers offers a variety of insurance products, including auto, homeowners and life, in 41 states to over 10 million customers.

Read a full Farmers Auto Insurance Review

Progressive Insurance Customer Service Review

Progressive enjoys average customer satisfaction, as evidenced by the 2011 J. D. Power and Associates rankings. Progressive scored three out of five stars, or “average,” in all categories of the Power’s survey.

On the Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index, Progressive placed 13th out of 33 companies, with 785 out of 1,000 possible points.

Progressive’s heavy online and direct-marketing presence help the company keep costs down, although Progressive is also offered through a number of independent agents. Check with your own local independent agents to see if one of them carries Progressive products, or visit the company’s website to locate a local agent.

The company’s website also offers you compare Progressive auto insurance quotes to those of other auto insurance companies.

Farmers Customer Satisfaction Review

Farmers did not fare as well in the 2011 J. D. Powers customer survey, primarily because of its low scores in the categories of pricing, billing, and policy offerings. Farmers scored “below average” in all three of these categories, as well as in overall customer satisfaction.

Only in “contacting the insurer” did Farmers manage an “average” score. These low ratings gave Farmers only 760 on the Customer Satisfaction Index, ranking it 28th of the 33 companies surveyed.

Farmers customer service has been a focus for the company in recent years, and the rapid acquisitions may have contributed to the lower rankings in previous years.

Farmers hopes to improve customer service in the future, but for now, customers do not seem to be completely satisfied with the company.

Farmers or Progressive – Which auto insurance company is better for you?

When comparing auto insurance company customer satisfaction ratings, it is important to remember that customer bases can have a large impact on satisfaction ratings.

If a company insures many high-risk drivers, claims will necessarily be higher and turned down more often. This, in turn, may contribute to higher prices and a lower rating.

In the J.D. Power National Auto Insurance Study, it is clear that Progressive enjoys a much better reputation than Farmers among its customers, although Progressive’s scores are middle-of-the-road, at best. Neither company shines in the customer service arena according to this survey.

This does not mean, however, that one of them may not be the right company for you.

Talk to representatives of both companies to get a feel for how their customer service is conducted, and make a decision based on your interactions with the company itself, its prices and its offerings to you.

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