Allstate Salesman Tells You One Thing, Sells You Another

Noah decided that it’s time to be all grown up and insure his possessions, and so he called up Allstate to take out a pretty basic renter’s insurance policy. He conferred with the salesman first in order to make sure that his valuable watches would be covered under the policy, and not require an extra rider. Yes, Noah was assured, those watches would be covered. Then his policy showed up in the mail. Guess what it doesn’t cover?

I recently decided to be a grown-up and get my first Renter’s Policy, via Allstate. I called their main number and had a friendly salesperson write me up a basic policy. Of my belongings, I have a couple nice watches, valued at a couple-thousand dollars, which I really wanted to ensure were protected. Over a series of emails, the salesman made it clear to me that while I could purchase a “rider” to specifically include these watches, I didn’t have to. All of my belongings, with no limits, were covered under the main “umbrella” of the policy. Having gotten this in writing (via email), I felt comfortable making the purchase.

A week later, I received a long-form copy of my policy, which very clearly dictates a long list of limitations on specific items. I didn’t care about the limit on rugs, silverware or firearms, but the glaring limit of $1,000-per-occurrence on jewelry (like watches) was directly in conflict from what the salesman had gone on record as having sold me!

Over the last week, I’ve spent hours on the phone with Allstate, never being able to get the same representative twice, nor able to get anyone to commit to either a resolution or a refund. It’s the last point that has me scared. Apparently, no one at Allstate has the capacity to issue a refund for a policy that was sold as something else – i.e. “Bait and Switch”, nor do they have the ability to schedule (at their cost) additional coverage that reflects what I was told I purchased. I’ve been told that there is no process to escalate this complaint, and there is no process by which they issue refunds even as a result of lies or misinformation (which is documented!) by their salespeople.

What can you recommend as far as escalating this to someone who can actually make a change, refund or some kind of remuneration?

That’s not “bait and switch.” If Noah’s account of what happened is correct, that is what is more commonly known as “lying.”

We don’t have any higher-up contacts at Allstate, but can recommend the classic tactics in the The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back. Go into your interactions with a clear idea of what you want from Allstate: do you want a refund, a rider for the watches at no cost, or something else?