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In 1927, entrepreneur Herman Wittwer reasoned that rural Wisconsin farmers posed less of an insurance risk than other motorists. This is because they typically didn’t drive during the state’s harsh winters. That idea gave birth to the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, a regional startup that eventually grew into American Family Insurance, a Fortune 500 company.

Still based in Madison, Wisconsin, the company experienced steady growth over the ensuing 90 years, expanding beyond the farm and out of Wisconsin in the 1930s. American Family began offering medical, homeowners, and life insurance in the 1950s, and commercial policies in the 1970s. The company changed its name to American Family Mutual Insurance in the 1960s.

American Family celebrated its 90th birthday in 2017, with more than 10,000 employees and 3,000 agents doing business in 19 states and helping to generate $9 billion in revenue.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

American Family Rating and Review

Rating: 3.91/5

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Finishing seventh in our survey, American Family received lower scores than leading competitors in all key areas: Ease of filing a claim, customer service, status updates, claim resolution, and value. Perhaps most telling was that American Family customers gave their insurer among the lowest marks of any company in our survey when asked two important questions: How likely they were to recommend their car insurance company, and how likely they were to renew their policy.

American Family received its highest survey scores for customer service, ease of filing a claim, status updates, and claim resolution, earning very satisfied scores of between 57% and 59% in each category.

Beyond that, American Family customers surveyed were less satisfied with the value they received. Just 44% gave the company a top score here, and almost 10% said they were not at all satisfied with the value. 

One-third of respondents answered in the negative when asked about recommending American Family to someone shopping for car insurance, and less than half said they were unlikely to renew their policy with the company. Many complaints focused on overall performance.

“Very slow claims process,” one respondent said. “They are very difficult to work with,” said another.

American Family Pros and Cons

Pros

  • +Among the best representative rates for profiles with one DUI

Cons

  • -Earns some of the worst survey scores across all categories

  • -Lowest customer recommendation among the top 10 insurers

How We Created This American Family Car Insurance Review

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our rankings in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Best Car Insurance Rankings. 

We surveyed 2,732 consumers who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years, asking questions about their car insurance company. Of the survey respondents, 53 filed a claim with American Family. These questions covered satisfaction with the ease of filing a claim, customer service, claim status communication, claim resolution, and overall value. We also asked whether they’d recommend the company and if they planned to renew their policy. We used their responses to build our Best Car Insurance Companies Rankings and this head-to-head comparison.

Our Study Rates

kate_sept2004 / GettyImages

To get comparative insurance rates for this study, U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state. Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year and have medium coverage, good credit, and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

American Family Car Insurance Costs

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With an average study rate of $1,391, American Family comes in a little under the national average study rate of $1,416. Still, five of the companies that we studied offered cheaper rates.

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Age

Age

Average Rate

Single 25-year-old male

$1,695.93

Single 25-year-old female

$1,533.76

Married 35-year-old male

$1,358.00

Married 35-year-old female

$1,322.17

Married 60-year-old male

$1,228.21

Married 60-year-old female

$1,208.17

As with most insurance companies, some of American Family's highest study rates belonged to younger driver profiles, particularly younger males. A 25-year-old male profile had a representative rate of $1,696, while the female profile of the same age had a study rate of $1,534. For the 35-year-old profiles, the study rates dropped by about $212 for the female profile and about $338 for the male profile. The 60-year-old male profile had a representative rate of $1,228, and the 60-year-old female profile had an average of $1,208.

To determine the average rates based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

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American Family Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

Commute and Annual Mileage

Average Rate

10 miles commute, 6,000 miles annually

$1,341.53

25 miles commute, 12,000 miles annually

$1391.04

With American Family, driver profiles of those who put more miles on their car paid around $49 more annually than those who drove less, with average study rates of $1,342 for drivers traveling 6,000 miles per year and $1,391 for those racking up 12,000 miles annually. While that’s not much of a penalty for driving twice as many miles annually, most companies in our analysis had smaller penalties for higher mileage. For example, Nationwide had a representative rate that was only $15 higher for those who drove 12,000 miles. With Progressive, the difference was just $5.

We created two driver profiles to compare how annual mileage can change car insurance rates: one with low mileage (6,000 miles per year) and one with high mileage (12,000 miles per year). The profiles covered males and females in the 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old age groups with a medium level of insurance coverage, a good credit score, and a clean driving record. The vehicles used in our study were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Coverage Type

Average Rate

Low

$1,328.85

Medium

$1,391.04

High

$1,412.87

Our study found that American Family's representative rates did not increase as much as some competitors' when opting for high coverage amounts rather than low. The driver profiles with minimal coverage paid a study rate of $1,329 annually, on average, while switching to high coverage meant an increase of $84 (bringing the average premium to $1,413). American Family's study rates for high coverage were slightly lower than average when compared with other companies.

We created identical profiles in our study to represent drivers, then found out how rates changed with the three levels of coverage. The profiles were assigned a clean driving record, a good credit score, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. We used both males and females aged 25, 35, and 60. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis.

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Credit History

Credit History

Average Rate

Good

$1,391.04

Fair

$1,620.55

Poor

$2,276.85

Credit scores made a noticeable difference in the study rates from American Family. Driver profiles with good credit paid $1,391 on average per year, while those with poor credit paid almost $900 more, or $2,277. The jump in study rates from good credit to fair credit was smaller but still significant, rising to $1,621. That’s an increase of $230. 

Based on profiles of male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60, our study verified that credit scores affect car insurance rates. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a good credit score, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis.

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Driving Record

Average Rate

Clean record

$1,391.04

With 1 speeding violation

$1,496.93

With 1 accident

$1,683.98

With 1 DUI

$1,725.71

American Family customer profiles with a good driving record had a representative rate of $1,391 on average. That’s close to the average representative rate of $1,416 among all companies in the study. One speeding violation raised study rates with American Family to $1,497, about $227 less than average. For driver profiles with one accident, American Family's representative rates jumped to $1,684. That’s about $344 less than the average, making American Family one of the more affordable choices for drivers with one accident. Finally, for driver profiles with one DUI, the study premium was $1,726, one of the more affordable representative rates for the profile with one DUI. The national average rate across all the companies we studied was $2,464 for drivers with one DUI.

Andrew Popov / iStock / Getty Images

To find out just how much of an effect a person's driving record has on insurance rates, we made driving profiles with a clean record, with one speeding violation, with one accident, and with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles were based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

Who Should Get American Family Car Insurance?

Across nearly every profile we studied, American Family's representative rates came out near the middle of the range. That means it may not be the cheapest choice for every driver, but neither is it the most expensive. Still, American Family did stand out for a few of our driver profiles. It was among the most affordable companies in our study for profiles with a DUI. On the flip side, American Family penalized profiles with high annual mileage more than most rival companies.

American Family vs. Other Insurance Companies

American Family Auto Insurance vs. Geico Auto Insurance

Seventh-place American Family trailed second-place Geico in scores across all questions asked of survey participants, with only value coming close. Respondents ranked Geico notably higher for satisfaction with customer service, ease of filing a claim, status updates, and how their claim was resolved. Geico scored significantly better than American Family in response to questions about how likely customers were to recommend either insurance company and how likely they were to renew their policy.

In terms of financial considerations, driver profiles in our survey saved about $223 on average with Geico compared to American Family. Geico was significantly less expensive than American Family for driver profiles in most categories. For driver profiles with a DUI, however, American Family was about $1,230 cheaper than Geico's representative premium for that profile.

Read more in our American Family vs. Geico Head to Head »

American Family Auto Insurance vs. State Farm Auto Insurance

Fourth-ranked State Farm Insurance edged seventh-ranked American Family almost across the board. While American Family lagged behind State Farm’s scores for customer service, ease of filing a claim, and satisfaction for how their claim was resolved, scores were very close for status updates and value. When it came to how likely customers were to recommend or renew, State Farm held the biggest advantage.

State Farm was also more affordable for most of our driver profiles. An exception to this was driver profiles with poor credit, which were about $470 less annually with American Family than with State Farm. However, driver profiles with good or fair credit paid more with American Family by an average of $160 and $15, respectively.

Read more in our American Family vs. State Farm Head to Head »

American Family Auto Insurance vs. Allstate Auto Insurance

Third-ranked Allstate beat out American Family by a considerable margin in most categories in our survey. When it came to cost, however, American Family held a significant edge across virtually all categories and demographics. On average, American Family's study rates were about $490 less per year than Allstate's representative premiums. For some driver profiles, the difference was more dramatic. Our survey found that a poor credit history could lead to a nearly $750 higher annual bill with Allstate.

Types of Coverage From American Family Car Insurance

American Family offers all the standard types of car insurance coverage, including collision; comprehensive, which covers vehicle damage from storms, vandalism, and other non-crash incidents; property damage to protect you in the event of damage to another person’s property; and bodily injury, which covers you if you’re involved in a crash that results in injury to another person.

Other coverages include medical expenses for you and your passengers, personal injury protection to guard against lost income or child care costs following a crash, gap coverage to take care of any difference between your car’s value and what you owe in the event of a total loss, and underinsured motorist coverage to protect you if another driver has insufficient protection.

Other available coverages include a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop and emergency roadside service to provide a jump-start, tire change, or tow as needed, along with emergency fuel delivery, roadside repairs, and access to a locksmith if you lock yourself out of the vehicle. Roadside assistance can be reached by phone or the MyAmFam app, which provides GPS tracking and allows you to file a claim and find an agent or repair shop.

Classic car coverage provides reduced rates for vehicles more than 20 years old in exchange for certain restrictions on use and other considerations. American Family also offers special policies for drivers working for ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber.

American Family Car Insurance Complaints

Most of the written complaints we received about American Family Car Insurance had to do with cost, service, or both. About 15% of survey respondents gave the company the lowest possible score for customer service, and a similar number of respondents said they were either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with claim resolution and updates during the process.

“The accident was not my fault but my insurance went up," said one.

“Very unhappy,” was the succinct comment from another, who added, “Not the same company it was 20 years ago.”

American Family Car Insurance Discounts

American Family offers the usual assortment of discounts, including incentives for bundling a car insurance policy with homeowners, renters, or life insurance. Discounts are also available for long-term customers and for signing up for automatic payment deductions from your bank account. Customers with more than one vehicle on the same policy may also qualify for a discount, as may those who transfer their coverage from another company.

A safe driving record can qualify you for reduced rates, as can taking an approved safe driving course. Young drivers with good grades can see some special savings, as can those who are away at school or participating in volunteer work. Your car may entitle you to further discounts, depending on what safety features it has.

Other Types of Policies From American Family Insurance

Along with coverage for cars, pickups, SUVs, and classic vehicles, American Family offers insurance for motorcycles, campers, motor homes, ATVs, boats, personal watercraft, and snowmobiles.

American Family Financial Fitness

With $24,233,000 in total assets and more than $9 billion in revenue, American Family recently celebrated its 90th birthday.

Contact American Family Insurance

You can learn more about American Family Insurance at www.amfam.com. The company can also be reached by telephone at 800-692-6326.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

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