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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 off the farm and out of Wisconsin in the 1930s; broadening into medical, homeowners, and life insurance in the 1950s and commercial policies in the 1970s; and changing 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.

American Family Rating and Review

Rating: 3.68 / 5

Finishing last in our survey, American Family received lower scores than any competitor in two key areas: satisfaction with filing a claim and claim status updates. The company had similarly poor scores across all other categories. Perhaps most telling was that American Family customers gave their insurer 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, with 57 percent of participants saying they were completely satisfied. Only seven percent ranked American Family customer service at the bottom.

“American Family has always been a great company when it comes to claims,” said one respondent. “We would never switch!”

Beyond that, less than half of American Family customers surveyed said they were completely satisfied in response to any of our other questions. The way the company kept customers apprised of status updates proved to be a particularly sore point, with less than 35 percent of participants saying they were completely satisfied. Value was another common gripe, with only 41 percent saying they were completely satisfied with the value American Family provides, while more than 15 percent said they were not at all satisfied. This was reflected in their comments.

“They nickel and dime you, look for any way to raise your premiums,” said one.

Satisfaction with the ease of filing a claim was another area where American Family lagged, with about 67 percent of respondents saying they were either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the process. Just 8.5 percent said they were completely satisfied. Less than eight percent were satisfied with how their claim was resolved, while only 41 percent said they were completely satisfied with how their claims were resolved.

One third of respondents answered in the negative when asked about recommending American Family to someone shopping for car insurance, and about the same number said they were unlikely to renew their policy with the company. Roughly 31 percent said they were either unlikely or very unlikely to continue with American Family, with many complaining again about value and overall performance.

“They had very poor coverage and service on the homeowners policy coupled with the automotive,” one respondent said. “We saved around 33 percent by switching insurance companies.”

American Family Is the 9th Best Car Insurance Company

See the Best Car Insurance Companies

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

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 ranking 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 2,799 consumers who filed a car insurance claim in the last five years, asking questions about their car insurance company. Of the survey respondents, 52 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 ranking.

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. Quadrant obtained rate data provided by car insurers to state regulators, 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 of 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. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed a simple average of all driver profiles and profile combinations for a given company or risk pool. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Individual rates will differ.

American Family Car Insurance Costs

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

With an average annual premium in our analysis of $1,326 for all drivers, our survey found that American Family was very close to the national average of $1,323. Still, five of the companies we studied offered rates that were cheaper by as much as about $425 annually.

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American Family Car Insurance Rates by Age

To determine the average study 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.

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 $1,596, while the female profile of the same age had a study rate of $1,360. For the 35-year-old profiles, the study rates dropped by about $60 for the female profile, and about $275 for the male profile. The 60-year-old male profile had a representative rate of $1,196 and the 60-year-old female profile had an average of $1,182.

Demographic

Average Rate

Single 25-year-old male

$1,596.01

Single 25-year-old female

$1,359.75

Married 35-year-old male

$1,318.24

Married 35-year-old female

$1,303.84

Married 60-year-old male

$1,196.08

Married 60-year-old female

$1,181.99

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

We created two driver profiles to compare how annual mileage can change American Family 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 are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

With American Family, driver profiles who put more miles on their car paid around $60 more annually than those who drove less, with average study rates of $1,265 for profiles traveling 6,000 miles per year and $1,326 for those racking up 12,000 miles annually. Most companies in our analysis had smaller penalties for higher mileage. 

Annual Mileage

Average Rate

6,000 miles annually

$1,265.33

12,000 miles annually

$1,325.99

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

American Family, like most major insurers, offers car insurance coverage in three general tiers: low, medium, and high (even if they don’t necessarily advertise it as such). We created identical profiles in our study to represent drivers, then found out how study 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 with the ages of 25, 35, and 60. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

American Family did not charge significantly higher study rates for high coverage amounts than for low. The driver profiles with minimal coverage paid a study rate of $1,252 annually on average, while switching to high coverage meant an increase of less than $50 (bringing the average premium to $1,298). American Family's study rates for high coverage were among the lowest we found, with only USAA, Geico, and Travelers offering lower representative rates.

Coverage Type

Average Rate

Low

$1,252.04

Medium

$1,325.99

High

$1,297.59

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Credit History

Our study verified that credit score also affects car insurance representative rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. 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 mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

Credit scores made a noticeable difference in the study rates from American Family. Driver profiles with good credit paid $1,326 on average per year, while those with poor credit paid $900 more, or $2,226. The jump in study rates from good credit to fair credit was far smaller, up to only $1,562.

Credit History

Average Rate

Good

$1,325.99

Fair

$1,562.25

Poor

$2,226.30

American Family Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

As you might expect, a person's driving record has a large impact on insurance rates, according to our study. To find out just how much of an effect, 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 are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

American Family customer profiles with a good driving record had a representative rate of $1,326 on average. One speeding violation raised study rates with American Family to $1,548. For driver profiles with one accident, American Family's representative rates jumped to $2,018 on average. Finally, for driver profiles with one DUI, the study premium was $2,206. That's one of the more affordable representative rates for the profile with one DUI, which has a national average rate across all the companies we studied of $2,362.

Driving Record

Average Rate

Clean record

$1,325.99

With 1 speeding violation

$1,548.21

With 1 accident

$2,018.34

With 1 DUI

$2,206.08

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 it also means it's not the most expensive. Still, American Family did stand out for a few of our driver profiles. This insurer was among the most affordable companies in our study for the profile with a DUI as well as for the profile with high coverage. On the flipside, American Family penalized the profile with high annual mileage more than most rival companies.

Keep in mind that while American Family can save certain groups money on car insurance, they did rank last in our survey of insurance customers. You might save money but not get the kind of coverage or customer service offered by other insurers.

American Family Auto Insurance vs. Geico Auto Insurance

Last place American Family trailed fourth place Geico in scores across all questions asked of survey participants, with only customer service coming close. Respondents ranked Geico notably higher for satisfaction with ease of filing a claim, status updates, how their claim was resolved, and value. 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 with Geico saved about $260 annually on average compared to American Family. Geico was significantly less expensive than American Family for driver profiles in most categories. However, American Family's study rate for the profile with a DUI was about $600 cheaper than Geico's representative premium for that profile.

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

American Family Auto Insurance vs. State Farm Auto Insurance

Compared to third-ranked State Farm Insurance, American Family scored even worse across all categories than it did with Geico. And while American Family didn’t come close to State Farm’s scores for customer satisfaction with ease of filing a claim, status updates, how that claim was resolved, or value, the differences were even greater for how likely customers were to either recommend or renew with American Family. Here, State Farm held the biggest advantage.

State Farm was also more affordable almost most of our driver profiles, with less expensive rates for most demographic groups and qualifiers. Driver profiles with fair or poor credit saw an advantage with American Family, paying about $120 and about $600 less than the same profiles with State Farm, respectively.

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

American Family Auto Insurance vs. Allstate Auto Insurance

The difference in our survey scores was tighter between eighth-ranked Allstate and American Family, with the latter edging out the former in a couple categories. Survey participants gave American Family more points than Allstate for customer service and gave them a very slight advantage in value. Allstate held a slight advantage in all other categories.

American Family held a significant edge in cost, across virtually all categories and demographics. On average for all driver profiles, American Family's study rates were about $450 less expensive per year than Allstate's representative premiums. For some driver profiles, the difference was more dramatic. The survey found that a poor credit history could lead to a nearly $800 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 noncrash 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 yours is in the shop, 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, and 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. More than 15 percent of survey respondents gave the company the lowest possible score for value, and a similar number of respondents said they were either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with claim resolution and updates during the process.

“After the claim was paid for this minor fender bender, the insurance rates skyrocketed and I left the company," said one.

“Overpriced,” was the succinct comment from another, who also said, “[They] Don’t pay claims properly.”

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.

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Other Types of Policies From American Family Insurance

Along with coverage for ordinary family cars, pickups, SUVs, and classic vehicles, American Family offers insurance for motorcycles, campers and 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.