Liberty Mutual is a Boston-based insurance company established in 1912. Today, the company supports more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 offices worldwide. Liberty Mutual operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Venezuela and Vietnam, not to mention the United States. In 2008, Liberty Mutual purchased the Safeco Corporation.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Liberty Mutual is America’s third largest carrier of property and casualty insurance. In terms of revenue, it ranks 76th on the Fortune 100 list of America’s largest corporations. In 2013 alone, the Liberty Mutual Group netted 38.5 billion dollars in revenue. Liberty Mutual currently ranks 6th among U.S. Insurance companies, behind only Nationwide, Progressive, Geico, Allstate, and State Farm. Liberty Mutual holds about four percent of the total U.S. market share.

Liberty Mutual offers a full range of insurance products and services. These include personal insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, fire insurance, business insurance, and workers compensation, to name just a few. Among the auto insurance packages offered by Liberty Mutual are Collision, Comprehensive, Bodily Injury Liability, Property Damage Liability, Medical Payments, Personal Injury protection, and Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UMI), among others. However, not all of these options are available in all states. Liberty Mutual also provides 24/7 customer service, online and by phone.

Liberty Mutual Insurance recently came in first on a list of the top ten best auto insurance companies in the U.S., based on affordability, product value, and customer service. However, it seems that this “study” may have been funded by Liberty Mutual, as consumer reviews appear to tell a much darker story. The gist of these reviews (posted on viewpoint.com) is that Liberty Mutual is a great company for car insurance, as long as you are not involved in any kind of accident.

To cite just three examples of many:

One silly reviewer gave Liberty Mutual a rating of 4 stars (out of 5!), and then went on to describe how nice the agents were about denying coverage and raising premiums on accidents that were clearly NOT her fault. She simply “assumes” that something about it was mentioned in the “miles of paperwork they give you to sign.”

In another review, someone whose legally parked car was hit by another vehicle was denied coverage, presumably because the damage to the other car costed less to repair. The policy holder tried calling for months, and got no response. So much for 24/7 customer support. The Liberty Mutual policy holder had to go through the other driver’s insurance company.

In yet another scenario, a woman was stopped at a red light with her 5-year-old daughter in the back seat, and was hit from behind by a fast moving vehicle. Her coverage was denied for no apparent reason. The woman was simply deemed “at fault.” On further investigation, the claim report, written by a Liberty Mutual agent, stated that her five-year-old daughter was driving the car.

Complaints such as these are disturbingly common among policy holders of Liberty Mutual insurance.

On another down side, Liberty Mutual is not as generous with its discount programs as its competitors are. According to info posted on the company website, their benefits include multi policy discounts and new car replacement, but not much else.

The average annual cost of car insurance paid in the United States was $907.38 in 2014 according to a study commissioned by Quadrant Information Services. Liberty Mutual offers lowish premiums, on average. But many dissatisfied policy holders agree that you get what you pay for.