UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Shelter Insurance Summary
In 1946 the Missouri Farmer’s Association (now MFA Corporation), which traces its roots back to 1914, launched the MFA Mutual Insurance Company to provide its members with access to the insurance they needed at premiums they could afford. The company grew quickly, and in less than a decade was the largest casualty insurer in the state.
Over time the company expanded its product offerings as well as operating territory, moving into several other states. In 1981, MFA Mutual Insurance split from MFA Corporation and re-branded, becoming Shelter Insurance Companies. The group today writes personal insurance including the following: auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance, farm insurance, and business insurance.
Shelter Insurance is available in 18 states and is sold through more than 1,300 agents.
Areas of operation include: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
For customers in its operating area, Shelter is a one-stop shop for basic personal insurance needs and additional products including a range of farm insurance products and business insurance.
They also offer more unusual options, such as:
- Gap Coverage
- Accidental Death
- Disability Income
- Loss of Use
Shelter’s discount list is quite long, offering common discounts such as safe driver and good student. The company also offers bundling discounts for both auto/home as well as for having a life insurance policy with Shelter, or even a military discount. Some discounts do vary by state.
Shelter also offers motorcycle insurance with coverage options similar to those available through their auto program. Added options that are specific to motorcycles include riding equipment and customization coverage.
Shelter offers specialty policies for a range of other types of vehicles such as RVs, boats, and ATVs. These policies are designed specifically for the needs of each type of specialty vehicle.
Shelter has a comprehensive home insurance program that will cover nearly any type of home with a variety of policy types.
The following home insurance policies are available:
- Standard Homeowners – covering the structure, personal property, and liability
- Dwelling Fire – a policy that offers structure and liability coverage but less for personal property; these policies are aimed at non owner-occupied homes or homes that don’t meet standard requirements
- Mobile Home – which meets the specific needs of mobile home owners
- Apartment Building – coverage designed for the owners of multi-unit apartment buildings with many tenants
- Renter’s Insurance – which covers the personal property and liability risks of tenants
In addition to these policies, Shelter offers high-value item policies that will cover valuables such as jewelry and other properly not covered under the contents portion of any home insurance policy.
Shelter has both term and permanent life insurance options, as well as a Junior Special policy. This allows parents to set up a life insurance policy for a child to carry over into adulthood, at an affordable rate.
Shelter writes small business policies that include:
- Business Owner’s package policies
- Business Auto
- Commercial Fire
- General Liability
With its roots in farm insurance, it is not surprising Shelter has a comprehensive list of farm coverage options, including:
- Farm Owner’s Insurance
- Farm Liability
- Farm Property
- Farm Equipment Coverage
- Livestock Insurance
Rounding out Shelter’s offerings, a few additional products are available, such as umbrella insurance and flood insurance.
Shelter does offer online quoting, however, the system requires a great deal of personal information, which does not make for a fast or easy quoting experience. It also makes it difficult to obtain a sample quote. Since policies are sold through agents, this type of online quoting is generally intended to get the customer to an agent who can close the sale.
As an agent-driven insurance company, Shelter will have commissions as part of the cost of their products. That generally makes it hard to compete with direct-buy companies. Shelter does have a good list of discounts available for their auto insurance, which may help to bring rates down.
Shelter does not appear to have a high-risk or non-standard auto program, and their rates are likely to be competitive mainly for those who are low-risk, with good driving records, as well as those who plan to take out multiple policies.
Shelter offers online claims reporting for most of their products, with the exception of glass-only, life, and third-party claims. Their online claims reporting form allows claims to be reported both when logged into the customer portal and without signing in.
There is also a toll-free number through which claims can be reported for all policy types. Claims offices are located in each of the states Shelter serves to handle claims more locally.
The Shelter website does not offer much in the way of claims information, especially the claims process itself, but it is likely to be a standard procedure with an adjuster assigned, investigating, and determining benefits.
The website does offer more comprehensive information regarding storm and catastrophe claims, what to expect, and what to do in the event of a major natural disaster.
Shelter Insurance has been an accredited company on the Better Business Bureau website since 2000. The website lists an A+ rating, with only one complaint listed in the last three years, this complaint has been closed within the last 12 months. For a company serving fourteen states with so many products, one complaint is really low.
There are 114 complaints against Shelter on PissedConsumer.com, most of them revolving around claims that were denied or not covered as expected, lack of communication from representatives, and poor customer service. There are a number of complaints directed at agents, which does not necessarily reflect the company as a whole.
Overall, the number and type of complaints do not raise a major red flag, in addition to there not being many complaints, there are also no major issues known in terms of the company’s reputation.
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Shelter is a fast-growing company that offers a good range of products likely to meet the needs of most people in search of one-stop insurance shopping. They are worth a look for those who live in one of the states they cover, given their long history, although they may not be the least expensive option for anyone who has tickets or accidents, or for those who do not qualify for many of the discounts. Shelter will most likely appeal to those who seek a regional insurer with a strong financial backbone and who want to insure multiple lines of business in one place.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.