Local Business

I am at the end of a 28 day ordeal with Esurance. And having one of my worst experience with a company in a very long time, I had to share. I will do my best not to have this turn into a rant.

First, a little background. I have been with Travellers insurance since the first day I owned a car. My policy was being cancelled because they no longer offered it. No big deal, they gave me plenty of notice. I managed this policy through an agent, Howland & Sargent (full disclosure, my company, Rivik Media, built the website for Howland & Sargent).

I decide to take this opportunity to shop around for car insurance. Have some due diligence as a consumer, and save some money. I asked Howland & Sargent to come up with a quote, and requested quotes from all the usual companies (Esurance, All State, Geico, etc). Esurance quoted me the cheapest, by a good amount. I asked my agent to review the quote that Esurance gave me. Making sure I was still getting all the coverage I needed at the cheaper price. It all checked out. I was good to go.

Esurance was great to start. I was able to sign up in a few minutes. I had my proof of insurance emailed to me as soon as I was done. I even had the mobile app set up on my phone. I’m the type of person who likes to be able to manage just about everything through the computer or smart phone, Esurance seemed the perfect fit.

The first email. Esurance retention department needs further verification of your past insurance, please submit the required paperwork within 15 days or your rate will be raised. They don’t tell me what this paperwork is. I have to call their toll free number and talk to someone to figure that out. The person I talked to was very helpful, walked me through the process, and I was able to scan and email the necessary paperwork as instructed. I was told I was all set and will be getting an email to confirm everything.

The second email. Esurance retention department needs further verification of your past insurance, please submit the required paperwork within 15 days or your rate will be raised. Again, no mention of what this paperwork is, I have to call the toll free number to find out.

I was asked for the same paperwork I had already submitted. So, they needed to look into it further, and put me on hold. Several minutes go by, they come back on the line asking for different paperwork this time. I scan the paperwork, email it to them, and receive a confirmation. I should be all set.

The third email. Esurance retention department needs further verification of your past insurance, please submit the required paperwork within 15 days or your rate will be raised. No mention of what they need, I again have to call. I call the toll free number, someone answers and explains they are not sure why I received the email, they have to do further research. I get put on hold for several minutes. The representative returns with no luck. I am told they will call me back when the situation is straightened out.

My call was placed at noon. The call I got back from Esurance was at 2 am. I’m happy you are a 24 hour company, but I am not. I have to call them back when I see the missed call in the morning.

I call the toll free number, I am greeted by a very friendly representative, and I explain my situation again. The representative looks up my file and tells me I need to speak with the retention department directly. They transfer me.

I explain my situation, this time to the retention department (I get the feeling the different departments do not communicate). We go through all the paperwork I had submitted and answer a series of questions, all of which I have answered before. They say that everything looks fine and will call me back if an issue comes up.

The Fourth email. Esurance retention department has not received sufficient documentation. Your rate will be increased. The increase is almost $100 a month extra. Not an insignificant amount. Now I’m actually getting mad.

I call the toll free number and ask for an explanation of why my rate has gone up. I spend 30 minutes with a representative between talking and being put on hold. He explains he sees no reason for my rate to have gone up. He has to talk with his supervisor and will call me back. Esurance does a lot of “calling you back.” I don’t believe the phone representatives have the authority to resolve billing issues.

While I’m waiting for a call back, I call Howland & Sargent. I get my agent right away, explain my frustration, and ask if she could come up with a new quote for me. More on this later.

An hour later, Esurance calls me back. The representative has talked to his superiors and there is nothing he can do to make the rate return to what I was quoted. I ask for an explanation of why the rate went up in the first place. I am told it is because I added someone to my plan. This is true. When I signed up for the plan, I put myself and my fiancé under the plan (she was not on my old plan with Travellers) and was told this was fine by Esurance when signing up.

I am now being told it is a problem for her to be on the plan. I ask if I can remove her from the plan. No. I ask if I can cancel the plan and create a new one with just me. That is illegal. I am able to add people to my plan but not take people off. My rate can go up, but cannot be reduced. I’m at a loss for words on the phone at this point. The representative explains it to me three times, and it still doesn’t make sense.

I hang up the phone and try to ignore it for the night. Never make a financial decision while you are upset.

The next day, Howland & Sargent gives me a call. They have a new quote ready for me. A quote that includes my fiancé in the price. It is slightly higher than my original quote from Esurance. I signed up that day.

My agent stayed a little late so I could stop by after work, I signed the paperwork, and gave them the policy number of my Esurance account. By the end of the next day, I had my proof of insurance for the new policy and my agent had cancelled my Esurance policy (refund on the way).

What was a 28 day nightmare of customer service with Esurance, was a three day, no hassle process with Howland & Sargent. And with them being a local company, there was no miscommunication. I was able to go to their office and talk to a person the day I signed up. Not a support person. The person actually responsible for my policy.

I realize reading through this, it will sound very redundant, but that was my experience with them. I felt I went through the same process several times and never made progress.

I don’t want to generalize that all big companies are like this, but in my experience things always seem easier with a local business.

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