Wawanesa Review: The Right Choice for Car Insurance?

Wawanesa is a great option for California and Oregon drivers of all ages and a range of driving records. But compared to competitors, the company struggles with coverage options.

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  • Great customer satisfaction scores
  • Cheap rates for most drivers
  • Custom parts coverage available


  • Only available in California and Oregon
  • Higher-than-average number of customer complaints
  • No mobile app available

Bottom Line

Wawanesa can offer significant savings, even for drivers with DUIs on their records. But the company has fewer discount and coverage options than average, and it’s currently available in only two states.

Is Wawanesa a Good Choice for Auto Insurance?

To give you a broad overview of Wawanesa’s strengths and weaknesses, we’ve highlighted its performance across five key categories — cost, customer satisfaction, ease of use, availability, and industry reputation.

Category Score
Cost 4.3/5
Customer Satisfaction 3/5
Ease of Use 3/5
Availability 2.3/5
Industry Reputation 3.3/5
Overall Score* 3.75/5
*Company ratings for each category are determined by our proprietary rating formula. You can find more information on our unique scoring methodology at the bottom of this article.

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Wawanesa is one of the largest insurance companies in Canada. It’s sold insurance in the U.S. since 1975 and offers auto policies today in Oregon and some parts of California. The company has earned an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction, but online reviews tell a somewhat different story.

You can get a solid range of car insurance coverage through Wawanesa, usually with cheap premiums. It doesn’t offer specialty coverages like gap insurance, but you’ll find additional insurance products if you like to have all your policies with one company. That said, you should consider a few important drawbacks — such as overall availability and existing customer complaints — before signing up for a policy.

Where Wawanesa stands out

Wawanesa has much cheaper rates than average, spelling out big potential savings for many types of drivers. The company has also earned the highest customer satisfaction score from J.D. Power for the California market.

Where Wawanesa falls short

Wawanesa doesn’t offer the option to buy a policy online and lacks popular policy endorsements, such as accident forgiveness and vanishing deductibles. You also won’t find telematics, a low-mileage discount, or a military discount.

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Wawanesa Reviews: What Real Customers Are Saying

Despite high marks from J.D. Power, customers give Wawanesa relatively low ratings across independent review sites (but keep in mind that these reviews reflect all Wawanesa insurance products, not just auto):

Review Platform Rating
ConsumerAffairs 1.5 out of 5
Trustpilot 1.9 out of 5
WalletHub 2.2 out of 5
Yelp 2.1 out of 5

Negative reviews often cite two issues: a frustrating claims process with frequent denials and unexpected rate hikes.

The reviewer below talks about low-ball settlement offers after filing a claim with Wawanesa — a complaint I found in several reviews.

On the subject of rate hikes, some customers claim to have experienced premium increases of 40% or more. The customer below allegedly experienced that after their child got a ticket for not fully stopping at a stop sign.

Wawanesa review 2

Interestingly, on sites where Wawanesa could respond to reviews, it often did. On several occasions, the customer changed their rating to five stars — as this reviewer did when the company resolved their three-month wait for a windshield replacement.

Wawanesa review 3

The company also had several five-star reviews from longtime customers happy to stay with the company — sometimes for decades.

Wawanesa review 4

How Much Is Wawanesa Car Insurance?

Let’s start by reviewing the average monthly cost of Wawanesa car insurance nationwide.

Liability Only Full Coverage
$45 $93

Wawanesa offers car insurance that’s nearly 70% cheaper than the national averages for both liability and full coverage ($131 and $271 per month, respectively), according to our research.

But keep in mind that these are broad averages. Your personal rate will vary based on several factors, including your age and driving history — which we’ll cover later — plus your state, vehicle, gender, and relationship status.

First, let’s see how Wawanesa’s auto rates compare to those of its close competitors.

Wawanesa vs. the Competition

You can find the average rates, Compare.com Ratings, and potential savings from Wawanesa and its closest competitors in the table below.

Company Compare.com Rating Average Monthly Rate Average Monthly Savings*
Wawanesa 3.75/5 $73 $900
CSAA 4.28/5 $92 $672
GEICO 4.65/5 $90 $696
Progressive 4.73/5 $88 $720
USAA 4.91/5 $75 $876
*Savings are calculated based on the difference between each insurer’s average annual rate and the average for all California insurers.

The great news is that Wawanesa offers greater savings on average than competitors — even those well-known for saving policyholders money. On a less positive note, the company lags behind the competition in terms of its Compare.com Rating. This is largely due to the company’s limited footprint and lack of common features like a mobile app and online purchasing.

Even so, Wawanesa offers high value for its low rates.

A Closer Look at Wawanesa Car Insurance Costs

Your auto insurance rates depend on a number of factors, but one of the most important is your driving history. Below, we show average rates for common driving records to help you understand if Wawanesa tends to offer drivers like you a great rate. You can also compare the company’s average rates for each driver type with the national averages in the final column.

Driver Type Wawanesa Average Monthly Premium National Average Monthly Premium
Clean driving record $73 $125
Recent speeding ticket $126 $173
Recent at-fault accident $136 $189
Recent DUI $150 $258

Wawanesa follows the national trend of offering the lowest rates to drivers with a clean record and the highest to people with a DUI. Notably, rates are significantly cheaper than the national average no matter the driving record, and Wawanesa offers the greatest potential savings to drivers with a DUI. That’s a great indication that you can probably get a low rate, too.

Next, let’s review another big factor in determining your premium cost: age.

Wawanesa’s Average Rates by Age

Car insurance rates are typically higher the younger you are (with teen drivers paying the most overall due to their higher likelihood of a fatal car crash). In the table below, we’ve broken down Wawanesa’s average rates based on age groups, along with national average rates, to get an idea of just how the company stacks up.

Age Group Wawanesa Average Monthly Rate National Average
Teens (18 years old) $139 $397
Young drivers (25 years old) $85 $155
Adults (40 years old) $73 $130
Seniors (65 years old) $70 $122

Teen drivers stand to save the most with Wawanesa — $258 per month, on average. The company’s average rates decrease as you age, with seniors paying the lowest monthly rate ($52 less than the national average). While this follows the national trend, seniors — and drivers of all ages — are highly likely to save a substantial amount on car insurance premiums with Wawanesa.

While Wawanesa rates are generally low, there are ways to lower your rate even more, especially through discounts. Let’s go over them in detail.

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Wawanesa Car Insurance Discounts

Car insurance discounts are the best way to get a lower rate. Wawanesa offers seven discounts varying by state, including:

  • Affinity: Earn a discount through your membership with a partnered affinity group, such as California Coast Credit Union.
  • Anti-theft: Earn a discount for factory-installed and aftermarket anti-theft devices.
  • Defensive driver: Earn a discount for completing an approved driving course (usually only available to drivers ages 55 and older).
  • Good driver: Earn a discount if you’re licensed for at least three years, are DUI-free for 10 years, and have a maximum of one license point or at-fault accident in the past three years.
  • Loyalty: Earn a discount for staying with Wawanesa for longer than one year.
  • Multi-car: Earn a discount for insuring two or more vehicles with Wawanesa.
  • Multi-policy: Earn a discount for bundling multiple policies (e.g., home insurance and auto).

Wawanesa Auto Insurance Coverage Options

Below are all the coverage options Wawanesa currently offers. Keep in mind that specific coverages vary by state.

  • Bodily injury liability: Covers other people’s injuries and your legal defense when you’re at fault.
  • Property damage liability: Covers other people’s property when you’re at fault.
  • Collision: Covers damage to your vehicle in a collision event, no matter who’s at fault.
  • Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle in a non-collision event, like vandalism, hail damage, or theft.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Covers damages when the at-fault driver is uninsured or doesn’t have enough coverage.
  • Personal injury protection: Covers your and your passengers’ medical costs from an accident, regardless of fault.
  • Auto medical payments: Alternative medical coverage for you and your passengers, no matter your fault. Also covers injuries as a pedestrian or cyclist.
  • Roadside assistance: Helps cover roadside services, like a jump-start.
  • Rental car: Covers a portion of your rental car fees when your car is in the shop for a covered repair.
  • Special vehicle equipment: Covers custom options in your vehicle, like engine accessories or custom audio equipment.
  • Vehicle manufacturer replacement parts: Pays for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts during covered repairs.

How to Purchase a Car Insurance Policy from Wawanesa

To buy a policy from Wawanesa, you start the process online by answering questions and adjusting your policy terms. Once you’re happy with your coverage, submit your quote, and a Wawanesa agent will follow up to finish the binding process within seven days.

I found the quoting process easy but was disappointed there was no way to finish the process online. The potential week-long wait to finalize purchasing the policy was also inefficient.

Let’s go over my experience from start to finish.

First, I went to Wawanesa’s auto insurance homepage and entered my ZIP code to get started.

Wawanesa quote screen 1

Next, I entered my personal information, including my name, address, and email.

Wawanesa quote screen 2

The next section asked for my driving history — including a speeding ticket I got a few years ago — and my current insurance.

Wawanesa quote screen 3

Wawanesa quote screen 5

Then, I added details about my vehicle, including its make, model, age, and how it’s used.

Wawanesa quote screen 4

Wawanesa quote screen 6

And that’s it. I submitted my information to get my quote. At $185.90 per month, it was higher than I expected, but I didn’t see any applied discounts. It’s possible the rate could be lower after working with an agent.

Wawanesa quote screen 1

The default limits were robust — well above California’s state-minimum limits — which could be a reason for the higher cost.

Wawanesa quote screen 8

Changing coverage options, limits, and deductibles was simple using dropdown menus.

Wawanesa quote screen 9After I submitted my quote, I noticed it could take up to seven days to hear from an agent. That’s a long time, especially considering many companies let you purchase coverage the same day you get a quote.

Wawanesa quote screen 10

Overall, the process was smooth and straightforward except for the final step (arguably the most important step) and the lack of discount information.

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What to Know About Filing a Claim with Wawanesa

You can file car insurance claims 24/7 at Wawanesa online or over the phone. After you submit a claim, the company will assign you a claims adjuster to investigate the extent of the damages. After a (usually virtual) vehicle inspection, you’ll receive an estimate for the damages. Finally, Wawanesa pays you or your repair shop directly — and repairs done at preferred shops are guaranteed.

Sounds great, but how does it work in real life? Judging by online reviews and customer testimonials, it depends. Many reviewers talk about an easy and efficient process, like this one, which went from claim filing to payout in just five days.

Wawanesa review 1.0

But several customers discuss denied claims (or portions of repairs) for reasons that don’t seem to add up. The reviewer below allegedly had a claim denied by Wawanesa after their car was damaged when they swerved to miss an elk. Months later, they discovered the company also dropped their coverage altogether.

Wawanesa review 1.1

At the end of the day, car insurance claims are often frustrating and complex. Your success with Wawanesa may largely depend on your claims adjuster, judging by the mixed reviews online.

More About Wawanesa Insurance

Founded 1896
Available in CA and OR
Owned by Auto Club of Southern California
National average premium $73 per month
Mobile app None
Customer service 1 (800) 640-2920
Claims 1 (888) 929-2252
Notable competitors AAA, GEICO, Mercury, State Farm

Wawanesa’s other insurance products

Wawanesa is well known for affordable car insurance, but it offers other insurance policies, too. These include:

  • Homeowners insurance: Covers the structure of your home, personal belongings, liability, and additional living expenses in case of damage.
  • Renters insurance: Provides coverage for personal belongings, liability, and additional living expenses if the rental property is uninhabitable.
  • Condo insurance: Covers personal belongings, interior structure, liability, and (sometimes) the condo association’s master policy deductible in case of damage.
  • Pet insurance: Helps cover veterinary costs for your pet’s illnesses and accidents, plus some preventive care (depending on the policy).

Policy options vary depending on where you live.

Wawanesa Auto Insurance FAQs

To help you decide if Wawanesa is your best choice, we’ve answered the most common questions about the company.

Does Wawanesa have cheap car insurance?

It depends. Wawanesa is known for its cheap rates — the average Wawanesa policyholder pays just $69 per month for auto insurance, according to Compare.com data. Your personal rate will vary based on your location, driving history, vehicle, gender, marital status, and coverage options.

Is Wawanesa a good auto insurance company?

Yes, Wawanesa has earned positive feedback from customers and industry watchdogs — including the highest customer satisfaction rating in California from J.D. Power. But customer service varies, based on feedback across several notable review platforms.

Who owns Wawanesa?

Wawanesa is a mutual insurance company (owned by policyholders), but the U.S. subsidiary was bought by Auto Club of Southern California in 2023.

Does Wawanesa cover you if you drive in Mexico?

No, Wawanesa won’t cover you if you drive in Mexico. You’ll need to buy an auto tourist policy to drive there legally.

Data Methodology

Data scientists at Compare.com analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance quotes from more than 75 partner insurers in order to compile the rates and statistics seen in this article. Compare.com’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the rates listed in this article have been collected from a combination of real Compare.com quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. Compare.com uses these observations to provide readers with insights into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.

Rating Methodology

Compare.com’s mission is to help our readers make more informed decisions when it comes to their personal finances. To help our readers better analyze and compare insurance companies, our editorial staff has crafted a proprietary rating formula to determine each company’s objective Compare.com Rating. The score you see referenced in this article is based on several factors, including:

  • Cost: How the insurer’s average rates compare to its direct competitors and the industry as a whole. This includes available savings opportunities, such as discounts and other factors.
  • Customer satisfaction: How satisfied existing customers are with the service they receive. This includes the insurer’s scores among various third-party studies, such as the J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Shopping and Claims Satisfaction studies, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Complaint Index, among others.
  • Ease of use: How easy it is for policyholders to utilize their policies. This includes mobile app availability, customer service availability, payment flexibility, and other related factors.
  • Availability: The overall scope of the company’s insurance offerings. This includes available coverage types, national footprint, and other related factors.
  • Industry reputation: A measure of the insurer’s overall standing within the industry. This includes its AM Best Financial Strength rating, BBB accreditation, and other related factors.


  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “Wawanesa Gen Ins Co. National Complaint Index Report,” accessed March 20, 2024.
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Facts + Statistics: Teen Drivers,” accessed March 20, 2024.
  3. J.D. Power, “2023 U.S. Auto Insurance Study,” accessed March 20, 2024.

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