There seem to be a lot of dodgy car insurance companies out there. Over my life I have heard some quite nasty things that certain companies do and I like to spread the info to make sure people have informed choices. Now to be fair, the info that I provide is just my experience and may be the result of talking to a person who has had a particularly unfortunate time with the company. Internal policies within a company change all the time and dodgy people who manage them also move on.
To start with, I have always been treated very well by my insurance companies, which include Allianz and Suncorp. The few times that I have had to deal with incidents have been surprisingly great. From completely handling repairs that others have caused on me, handling damage that I caused others, and refunding me with the full amount after my car was stolen.
Now to the bad. RACQ seems to have a little bit of a reputation amongst my family as being an insurance company to avoid. Which is quite unfortunate as their road side assistance is excellent and, well ... wouldn't be without it.
My Uncle used to work as a tow truck driver, the stories of RACQ dodginess that he could tell would have you wondering why there aren't more arrests in the insurance game. I won't go into details for many reasons, which, of course, leaves the first sentence of this paragraph hanging unsupported and you'll have to take that at face value.
Another more recent incident, involved a work related acquaintance, who I will refer to as S, who came to me for advice. RACQ had insured his car at what S thought was an agreed value. The car was in good condition but was involved in an accident that was not S's fault. The car that caused the accident was insured with Allianz. RACQ offered to handle the claim and deal with Allianz on S's behalf, to which S agreed. S was informed that the car was irreparable and was offered half the agreed value. S complained bitterly to RACQ who would not change their position. S eventually decided to bypass RACQ and discuss directly with Allianz who started with and offer just under the agreed value and indicated that this was the amount that they were going to pay RACQ. RACQ was going to pocket the difference which was in the order of a couple thousand dollars. S has carefully documented this and has started a conversation with the insurance ombudsman. Unfortunately he is extremely busy and doesn't have the time or energy to pursue proceedings.
Now this could be a particular insurance officer with RACQ who is not quite providing his customers the best value service he could or it could be RACQ policy. Either way, when you are signing up for car insurance, you might want to ask the insurer about handling claims that are not your fault when the car is totalled.
Again, let me stress that this is just my experience that I am sharing with people, and I am not a professional insurance advisor or anything of the sort.