Renters insurance that acts more like car insurance
October 2, 2015 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for finding a renters insurance provider that is as straightforward as car insurance.

What I would like:
- The insurance is administered entirely by Great Insurance Company
- You visit to manage your entire account
- When you need to make a claim you call up 1-800-GreatCo.

- The insurance is fronted by Great Insurance Company for marketing purposes but you need to deal with Cartoon Villains Inc. to make a claim. (GEICO, Progressive, etc.)
- Some stuff can be done online but most stuff has to be done over the phone during business hours as if it was 1983. (State Farm)
- You're at the mercy of your agent's disorganization and un-responsiveness. There's no way of knowing if your agent is any good until you need to deal with them for some reason. (State Farm)

I have State Farm right now, I've been with them for about 2 years and I'm continually frustrated by these issues - and I haven't even filed a claim yet. I picked State Farm because I couldn't find a company that met my criteria above but it didn't occur to me at that time to ask you guys. So here we are. Or is the administrative hassle worth it during trouble tiems? What do you think?
posted by bleep to Work & Money (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Amica. Meets all your criteria, I've been using them for about 10 years, they are super easy to deal with. They paid 100% to replace my windshield when it was cracked and totally handled a claim when someone rear-ended me. I think they are a pretty good deal, too; I went to a local insurance agent to see if I could get something cheaper and after running his fancy computer program he said he couldn't get me a better deal than what I had with Amica.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:26 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Are you eligible for USAA? I've been with them for 25 years and they have always been completely helpful and professional.
posted by Beti at 8:02 PM on October 2, 2015

Response by poster: No like most people I'm not eligible for USAA.
posted by bleep at 8:11 PM on October 2, 2015

I used to have Farmers' renters insurance, and they met your criteria. I should get it again, and just haven't gotten around to it.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:22 PM on October 2, 2015

Liberty Mutual might meet your needs. I did renters with them for one year (no claims) and have done homeowners & car insurance for 5 years (1 claim for house, 1 for car). While they do have a local office that I think I called maybe one or two times for random administrative stuff, when we filed our claims, we did it through the national 800 number/call center. Apparently you can use their website to report a claim, but I've never done so.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:02 PM on October 2, 2015

I have Farmers. Their online portal is okay but not great. There is an agent who calls me like it's 1983 (great way of putting it - I do seriously picture him on a rotary phone), but I disagree that you can't tell if your agent is organized or not. This guy, if I call him, he'll call me back every 4 hours (during business hours) until I pick up. On the one hand, annoying; on the other, he's always so super responsive that I have no doubt he'd help promptly in the event of a claim. It's also helpful to have a guide to advise me through the complicated world of insurance coverage. In fact, our other insurance policies have gradually moved under his umbrella because of the convenience factor. It's probably even a little financially risky that I like him so much -- I shopped around on price initially, but I may now be paying a bit more than I need to. On the other hand, slightly overpaying is probably less financially risky than never getting coverage we'd want due to never finding the time to research it. I just say, "do you guys offer X," and (already knowing my address, age, etc.), he calls back in 15 minutes with a recommendation and quote. That said, my situation is a lot more complicated than just needing renters insurance. But in a few years, yours might be too.
posted by salvia at 12:33 AM on October 3, 2015

Sorry, should have added in case it wasn't clear (argh, drunk posting), Amica does renter's insurance, even though I talked above about car insurance. We first started with Amica when we got renter's insurance ages ago, and have stayed with them for car, home, and umbrella insurance over the years.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:51 AM on October 3, 2015

I also have Amica for renter's insurance. It's easy as pie. I don't have a lot of experience with their online portal - but I don't remember feeling overly inconvenienced. I've even filed a claim with them before (for theft) and it was a snap and they paid promptly. I recommend them to everyone I know in NYC for their renter's insurance.
posted by rdnnyc at 5:56 AM on October 3, 2015

Hm, weird. I had State Farm for renters insurance for about a decade and it met all of your criteria. It sounds like you had a bum agent. I never had any problem getting 24-hour customer service or handling things online.
posted by joan_holloway at 7:53 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Triple A offers renters' insurance. They also give discounts on auto insurance if you have combined policies. I've always found their offices to be well staffed, with friendly and professional people. Plus, free trip planning and lots of nifty maps. Goodness knows we've used the roadside assistance many times over the years (like that one time I locked my keys in the car, dead batteries, stuck in the snow, etc.).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:02 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I love my State Farm agent - they do have the 1983 elements (why do they send me the bill by USPS? Straight to the trash with it because I'm not going to pay until I receive the email reminder, because it is 2015!) but I've also always received easy & prompt service by email and online. Part of this may be because car insurance has so many variables that it's helpful to have an online portal where you can play around with how different coverage levels impact pricing; renters insurance just really isn't that complicated. It's kind of like 4 questions... Who are you, where do you live, are there sprinklers in your home, do you want $15k coverage or $30k?So, basically, I guess I'd say: try a different SF agent who doesn't annoy you.
posted by samthemander at 11:14 PM on October 3, 2015

The tides are shifting with Progressive somewhat away from the "marketed as bundled, but not actually bundled" approach. If you live in AL, AK, GA, IL, IN, IA, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, VA, or WI and you have an independent agent (direct policies don't qualify for this) you can get a bona fide Progressive renter's and auto bundle with website access and everything.

From what I understand this will eventually be available nationwide.
posted by dissolvedgirl22 at 5:54 AM on October 4, 2015

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