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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Like a Good Neighbor, my ass

I'm looking for a new car insurance provider. Currently I'm with State Farm, who has not exactly behaved like a good neighbor, in my book. It's going to sound like a stupid reason that I should just get over, but this is why I want to change companies:

I locked myself out of my own online account by incorrectly answering my "security" questions three times, and State Farm refuses to help me via email. Instead, they insist that I call their technical assistance 800 number, but when I do, I am on hold for 15 minutes before I finally hang up, because even though I never use anywhere near the 300 or so minutes I purchase every month through my cell provider, I still don't want to waste my time listening to State Farm's shitty hold music and hanging out by my computer when there are better things I could be doing. If they were to help me via email, we could handle the matter much more conveniently.

I don't receive paper mailings, because I opted out of them -- an option you can only change via the online account. So the only way for me to pay my bill is online. And when I'm locked out of my account, I can't pay my bill. Also, you should know that I created the answers to the security questions MONTHS before I ever had to reproduce those answers. They just randomly decided one day that I needed to be asked my security questions. And I knew the answers to them of course, but I couldn't remember the exact FORM of the answers, and you had to use the exact same form you created in the first place. Here was the question that gave me a problem:

What was the first company you worked for?

Answer: G. Eric Nielsen & Associates.

Except sometimes I just say Eric Nielsen & Associates, sans G.
And sometimes it's GEN & Associates.
And sometimes G. Eric Nielsen and Associates
And sometimes I can't remember if it's Nielsen or Nielson, because frankly it's been a few years.

So as you can see, there are more possible correct answers than the three chances they give you. So I picked three answers that didn't match the answer I initially created, and then I was locked out.

And I can see no good reason why State Farm shouldn't help me with this via email. As if the telephone is SO MUCH MORE SECURE THAN EMAIL. It's not. Especially not cellphones. And you know what else is bogus security? THOSE GODDAMNED SECURITY QUESTIONS. Complete and utter bullocks.

So to make matters simpler for me, I want to change car insurance providers, and that's where you come in dear reader. I want to know about any insurance company that you would recommend, as well as any insurance company that you would stay the hell away from. This will help me narrow my search.



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9 comments:

Karen said...

Customer Service is EVERYTHING in my book, and they're doing a poor job in that arena, so I don't blame you. (Although I'm also from New Orleans, and most of us hate State Farm after they butt rammed us after Katrina, so there's that.)

I've had pleasant experiences with Progressive, but their rates are sometimes higher.

Good luck!

sovknight said...

I gotta say, everything you say is true. I've had exactly the same problem. Case in point:

Q: What was the name of your first pet?

A: Stormy. Or, it could be stormy, or it could be storm... or Storm... you get the picture.

I've been locked out of my State Farm account two or three times because of some stupidity. I think they have the absolute WORST website ever. Not only is it like breaking into Fort Knox, but once you do get in (rare) it's impossible to navigate.

That being said, State Farm is still the cheapest coverage you'll find. Guaranteed. I looked at switching myself a few years back, but no one else even came close.

I'm going on 20 years with them now, and aside from their shitty website, everything else is fine.

Melliferous Pants said...

I've had both State Farm and Safeco. Safeco's premium was lower when I was in California...but after my move to Utah they nearly wanted to TRIPLE my premium. WTF?! I still don't understand why leaving an urban area for rural Utah would have that effect. So I went back to State Farm.

Stinks you've had trouble with customer service. Haven't had trouble with S.F. cust service, but I use my broker. Come to think of it, I don't even have online account set up.

As far as actual claims go, State Farm was about a trillion times easier to deal with than Safeco.

The Over-Thinker said...

I've heard some pretty shady things about Geico...

I go through American Family (it might be local/Midwest).

Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm sucks ass :) (I can't help but hear those words when I hear the commercial.)

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Anonymous said...

Hi Sra, I work for State Farm in the area that handles the security processes you mention. I know the questions can be a hassle, but Federal regulations require all institutions doing online banking activity to add additional security along with using the ID and password for authenticating customers.

We chose security questions as the additional security measures -- and customer feedback has made it clear we need to make the process more user-friendly.

We have started to do this. There are now only 2 security questions instead of 3, and the text field has been unmasked so you can see what you are typing for the answer. It is challenging to provide answers to these questions and then have to recall them months later. Keeping them short, simple, and easy can help. They don't even have to be true - just something you can remember.

But don't make them TOO easy, the reason they are there is not to make it hard for you to get into your account, they are there to help keep the hackers out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sra, I work for State Farm in the area that handles the security processes you mention. I know the questions can be a hassle, but Federal regulations require all institutions doing online banking activity to add additional security along with using the ID and password for authenticating customers.

We chose security questions as the additional security measures -- and customer feedback has made it clear we need to make the process more user-friendly.

We have started to do this. There are now only 2 security questions instead of 3, and the text field has been unmasked so you can see what you are typing for the answer. It is challenging to provide answers to these questions and then have to recall them months later. Keeping them short, simple, and easy can help. They don't even have to be true - just something you can remember.

But don't make them TOO easy, the reason they are there is not to make it hard for you to get into your account, they are there to help keep the hackers out.

Melliferous Pants said...

I've had both State Farm and Safeco. Safeco's premium was lower when I was in California...but after my move to Utah they nearly wanted to TRIPLE my premium. WTF?! I still don't understand why leaving an urban area for rural Utah would have that effect. So I went back to State Farm.

Stinks you've had trouble with customer service. Haven't had trouble with S.F. cust service, but I use my broker. Come to think of it, I don't even have online account set up.

As far as actual claims go, State Farm was about a trillion times easier to deal with than Safeco.

sovknight said...

I gotta say, everything you say is true. I've had exactly the same problem. Case in point:

Q: What was the name of your first pet?

A: Stormy. Or, it could be stormy, or it could be storm... or Storm... you get the picture.

I've been locked out of my State Farm account two or three times because of some stupidity. I think they have the absolute WORST website ever. Not only is it like breaking into Fort Knox, but once you do get in (rare) it's impossible to navigate.

That being said, State Farm is still the cheapest coverage you'll find. Guaranteed. I looked at switching myself a few years back, but no one else even came close.

I'm going on 20 years with them now, and aside from their shitty website, everything else is fine.

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