When choosing a business car insurance policy, the insurance company you choose is almost as important as the specific coverage. While having the right coverage is great in the event of an incident, having a company that you feel you can trust really helps put your mind at ease. The most well-known consumer reporting body for automobile coverage is J.D. Power and Associates.  This reporting body goes through tons of data: consumer reviews, complaints, surveys, and averages the general opinion of the top 30 insurance agencies every year, and what you read in their recent 2009 report might be a surprise.There are several factors that help to compare the various companies’ quality of service and coverage.

Policy Offerings

The first factor for the average comparison is overall policy offerings in regard to limits and coverage. You can imagine that in the event of a catastrophe, having an insurance company that actually covers what’s happened to your vehicle and pays out reliably is of the utmost importance. As far as policy offerings go, some of the best institutions were not the big boys you’d expect, but rather smaller regional firms such as the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) and Erie Insurance Group based out of Erie, Pennsylvania. While Geico did make the top ten in the policy offerings section, industry giants Progressive and Safeco were much lower; so low in fact, that Safeco was in the bottom five in almost every category across the board.

Customer Service Contact

The customer service contact rating is based on independent reviews put forth by customers who have had for one reason or another, to communicate with the insurance company. As a savvy business person, you recognize how not giving your customers the run-around every time they call in with a question is a vital part of a business relationship. Why shouldn’t your business communication with an insurance company be the same way? Having prompt, knowledgeable, and accurate service frees you and your staff up to do your real work. Plus, after an accident, sitting on hold and listening to cheesy music is the last thing you want to do. In the 2009 J.D. Power  ratings, State Farm got a perfect score on its customer service rating, as did Shelter and Amica Mutual. The stragglers in this race were Esurance, GMAC, and Mercury, bagging a well-below average score.

Pricing

Obviously to keep a low overhead, you’ll want to get the most coverage for your money; this is where the pricing category comes in handy. According to the report, winners in this category have the highest payout limits with the lowest premiums and deductibles in the industry. The top pick in this category was Ameriprise, followed closely by Amica Mutual, and Shelter. Again, the bottom ten insurers comprised some of the biggest names in the business including Safeco, Nationwide, Farmers, Allstate, and AIG.

Billing and Payments

The last thing you need when running through your office bills is to find you’ve been double charged. Strike that; the last thing you need when you’re doing billing and find you’ve been double charged is to talk to your insurance agency’s billing department, only to find that they charge fees for a refund that was necessary because of their error.  The billing and payments award is given to the company that has the fewest hiccups in billing and the best resolution in the event that a mistake is made. You may find this as a surprise, but yet again, Amica Mutual takes the lead in yet another category, earning the only five star rating for billing. Now, when it comes to billing, companies who consistently rate low, tend to get a reputation that precedes even next year’s poll. Of the bottom ten, Progressive and Safeco both showed themselves again, and Esurance came in at the bottom three.

Overall Satisfaction

In addition to bragging rights, the winner of the overall satisfaction category gets the annual customer satisfaction award put out J.D. Power and Associates. It may come as a shock, but this year’s overall customer satisfaction was a landslide victory for Amica Mutual. Is there anything these guys don’t do well? Evidently not, given that this agency has won the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction award for ten years running. An insight into their success may be in the fact that being a mutual organization, Amica is owned not by stockholders, but the policy-holders, themselves. Second place was awarded to State Farm and the honourable mentions are largely regional up-and-comers.

So who gets the raspberry? The bottom three companies were 21st Century, GMAC, and AIG coming in dead last with below average ratings in every single category across the board. While ratings aren’t everything, if you have a company that’s coming in head and shoulders above the rest, you’ve got a pretty good idea that this is a solid choice.