State Farm is there? Not there?
August 11, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for renter's insurance carriers? We're in the NYC area and will be shopping around. Quotes are easy enough to get, but we'd feel better going into the fray with info on customer experiences, as well.

Finding carriers and getting quotes is easy enough, but I can't seem to find any feedback, customer dissatisfaction, or reliable info regarding having to deal with State Farm/Nationwide/USAA/etc.? Googling (for me, anyway) brings up sites and user reviews that aren't as reliable as AskMe is, and Consumerist has surprisingly little in the way of user experiences.

Considering how cheap renter's insurance tends to be, we don't mind paying a little extra for better service. Any recommendations? Any carrier we should steer clear of? Any other advice? Thanks!
posted by greenland to Work & Money (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
We've ALWAYS used State Farm for our insurance. They may be a bit more expensive, but they're also a lot less bullshitty about paying up claims and making good on things for you. Also, their rates don't seem to go up if the brown organic waste hits the rotary air oscillator and you do have to make a claim... we once had our entire house burn down (back when I was in middle school) and we had no problems continuing coverage with them ... whereas I've heard someone who had allstate get denied coverage the next time they bought a house and wanted to get a policy on it due to claims they'd made on their previous house for hail damage.

If you have access to USAA through military, then yeah, they're a good bet too.
posted by SpecialK at 11:47 AM on August 11, 2008

The problem with insurance providers, like banks and airlines, is that somebody hates each of them, and has a perfectly good reason why. Exceptionally great (or exceptionally crappy) service tends to be situational - a combination of the state, the current insurance regulations, your agent, the circumstances, etc. Hopefully someone can kick out the name of a great agent in your area, because otherwise all bets are kind of off.

On the other hand, it's renter's insurance. You have one or two conversations to set it up, you pay your $150 or so a year, you never talk to them again unless you have a claim. I've had renter's and homeowner's insurance through Allstate, and there's not much to say about them except that we closed really fast on our house and had to set up insurance very quickly, and they didn't drop the ball.

State Farm dropped my family's auto coverage after I had a fender bender several years ago. Mileage, as they say, varies.

Unless your state is very different than mine, the burden of proving the worth of your stuff doesn't come when you take out the policy, but rather at the time of the claim, but you'll only be covered to the limit of your policy. Max your renter's policy, document all your stuff, keep your documentation offsite. That's one way to have a better experience, should you ever need to actually deal with your policyholder.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:17 PM on August 11, 2008

I've had a very good experience with Travelers, who currently insure my car and apartment.

Very affordable and flexible. If you are a student they will cover up to 10% of the policy's value for off-site items, such as a computer. Every time I call to ask a question they start the conversation with "First of all, we'd like to thank you for insuring with Travelers, how may I help you" Yeah, it sounds sappy, but it makes for a pleasant experience.
posted by limited slip at 2:58 PM on August 11, 2008

Bad Faith Insurance has ratings, and Insurance Transparency Project has blog coverage of the industry. Personally I've been happy with both AAA and Assurance so far.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:30 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

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