RLI Insurance Review & Complaints: Business, Personal & Surety Bonds

RLI Insurance reviews find this company to be perfect for those in need of specialty insurance coverage. RLI Insurance ratings are A+ with the Better Business Bureau, with their Hawaii office rankling particularly high in customer service.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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Written by Eric Stauffer
Founder & Former Insurance Agent Eric Stauffer

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 1, 2022

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RLI Insurance

Financial Strength

RLI Insurance is a specialty insurance company with a focus on several unusual niche markets. They offer personal and commercial products as well as surety bonds through branches across the U.S.

What is RLI Insurance?

The RLI acronym stands for Replacement Lens, Inc. and represents the company’s roots as the first insurance company to offer coverage for contact lenses. It was founded in the early 1960s in Peoria, Illinois, and a few years later became RLI Corp as part of a holding company acquired by the founder, Gerald D. Stephens.

As a holding company, RLI Corp operates through a group of subsidiaries, including the RLI Insurance Company, RLI Indemnity Company, and Mt. Hawley Insurance Company. The contact lens insurance business fell away over the years, and the company moved into different markets.

RLI’s commercial lines cover both common and niche areas, from business insurance policies to commercial umbrella. In the personal lines department, they write mainly specialty policies, although they do offer homeowners insurance in Hawaii.

RLI products are sold through independent agents across the country.

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What products does RLI Offer?

RLI has three lines of types of coverage for business: business, personal, and surety bonds.

Business Insurance

RLI offers a range of business insurance policies for companies of all sizes.

Their Business owners insurance policies are available as standard package policies, as policies specifically designed for home-based businesses, or as a package created for design professionals such as architects.

Liability insurance for businesses is offered either as part of a package or through a wide selection of individual liability policies both general and to suit specific needs. Among the specific policies available are medical professional liability, contractor’s liability, environmental liability, and security company liability.

Package policies can also be tailored to construction, healthcare, and management & professional services.

RLI also writes both marine and transportation insurance, including fleet insurance coverage and commercial auto insurance. Property insurance can be purchased individually or as part of a package.

Finally, RLI also writes captive insurance.

Personal Insurance

RLI’s personal lines policies include a small number of specialty insurance products along with a few standard policies – specifically homeowners.

RLI writes homeowners insurance only in the state of Hawaii, which can be a difficult market for that product. They are one of only a handful of companies offering hurricane insurance to Hawaii’s homeowners. They also write standard homeowner’s package policies, renters, dwelling fire coverage for rental properties and vacation homes, and condo insurance.

Standalone jewelry insurance policies are available from RLI to protect high-value jewelry items and collections.

One of the more unusual policies written by RLI is Track Day Insurance. This is an insurance policy designed to provide liability and damage insurance for those taking part in high performance driving education events, where standard auto insurance will not extend.

Finally, RLI also offers personal umbrella insurance to extend liability beyond the limits of other personal insurance policies.


Surety RLI writes surety bonds across four major categories. Their surety business applies to Commercial, Contract, and Energy Surety, as well as offering a range of miscellaneous products.

Are the company’s rates competitive?

RLI does not offer the option to obtain an online quote, which is not surprising for a company of their nature. Their products are very specific and will likely require more than basic information from the consumer in order to create an accurate quote.

Rates can be obtained by contacting a local RLI agent, and contact information is offered on the website.

How do customers file claims?

While there is no online claims form, the company does state that email is their preferred option for submitting a claim, so customers do have access to some method of filing. They also have several toll-free numbers listed depending on the specific type of claim.

Claims mailing addresses are also provided on the website. The website has claims forms in PDF format that can be used to file a claim either via email or by regular mail.

The website offers enough information to get a claim rolling, and makes it easy to find claims contact information.

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Does RLI Corp have positive ratings and consumer reviews?

RLI Corp has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and there are no complaints on file in the past three years, although two customers have left reviews resulting in a 3.5-star rating overall.

It is worth a look at the Hawaii branch of RLI Insurance Company, which provides homeowners insurance. They have an A+ rating as well with no complaints on file in the past three years. That specific branch of the company has one Yelp review of two stars that offers a detailed account of how a claim was handled.

Aside from these few ratings, there is not a lot in terms of reviews of this company. This is likely due to the nature of their business – mainly focused on commercial and very specific niche markets.

What’s the bottom line?

The average insurance customer is only likely to come across RLI if they are a Hawaii homeowner or seek out specific types of insurance, which makes them unlikely to land on the radar for personal lines in most cases. They do appear to have a solid reputation and background and provide some coverage that is very hard to find elsewhere. For those in need of specialty coverage, RLI would seem to be a good choice.

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