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California State Automobile Association Review and Rating

Short History of the Company

The California State Automobile Association (CSAA) had its beginning as early as 1900. The first meeting of the CSAA took place in the Cliff House, one of San Francisco’s most famous attractions at the turn of the century. A small group of “automobilists” met at the Cliff House to discuss getting better roads, street signs and new laws for car owners. The small auto club became official in 1907 and became affiliated with the American Automobiles Association that same year. Recently, the CSAA changed its name to AAA Northern California, AAA Nevada, and AAA Utah, or simply AAA. The insurance company of AAA is called the California State Automobile Association Inter Insurance Bureau.

Pros of the Company

The CSAA has been providing auto insurance since 1914. Starting as an advocacy group for automobile owners at the turn of the century, the CSAA has been as much of auto history as the automobile itself. It is a very well established car insurance group.

In comparison to other auto insurance groups, CSAA provides cheap auto insurance to its members. It also provides quotes that include various discounts programs including multi-policy discounts and hybrid reduced rates. It is one of the top five insurance groups in Northern California with almost one million car insurance policyholders.

Cons of the Company

The group’s expansion into other types of insurance may have diminished its efficiency. It received numerous negative reviews from consumers that include complaints including slow or no response from agents, increased premiums, failure to pay full or even high percentage of damage claims, less personal service, and inexperienced customer service representatives who appear to be incompetent.

Special Services Offered

As an affiliate of AAA, members receive countless services, including emergency roadside services, travel planning, and discounts for travel and car loans. You must be a member in order to purchase car insurance.
CSAA also provides additional insurance policies for motorcycles, watercraft, motor homes, renter’s insurance, rental property insurance, flood insurance, travel insurance and life insurance. In 1974, CSAA added homeowners insurance and quickly grew to become California fourth-largest homeowner’s insurance company.

States Covered

Members covered by the CSAA include Northern California, Nevada and Utah. California boasts nearly four million club members, followed by Nevada with 365,000 and Utah with 175,000. One in five cars is covered by CSAA in Northern California.

Overall Rating and Consumer Satisfaction

Ratings and consumer satisfaction are mixed. On the financial side, CSAA has received high ratings. This includes an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an A+ rating from A.M. Best.

In 2006, A.M. Best upgraded its rating of CSAA to an A+. A.M. Best assesses the financial strength of an insurance company. Ratings by A.M. Best include the insurance group’s capitalization, operating performance, and market presence.

However, JD Power ranked CSAA 24 out of 32 car insurance companies. Consumer ratings by JD Power include overall satisfaction, contacting the insurer, policy offerings, billing and payment, and pricing. Overall customer service rating by JD Power placed CSAA below the industry average.

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