Home Insurance - Recommendations and Feedback

chefwongApril 29, 2007

So my home insurance is up for renewal and I decided to shop around. I've had HI with State Farm for at least 4-5 years.

Anyhow, it turns out ALOT of companies are not writing policies since I am too close to the water. I feel like I'm *underinsured* with SF and asked them to increase dwelling. They advised the only way to do it is to get someone else on my own and have them get something written in which they would adjust my policy accordingly.

Then there is other companies which I am slightly familiar with such as The Hartford, Tower, etc that are willing to give me a policy.

Then there is *Chubb* the gold standard.

So, I'm stuck deciding now.

I have State Farm, then there is The Hartford & Tower who are comparable IMO.

Amica is *slightly* less than Chubb but given the 2, I would choose Chubb.

However, the premiums reflect that as well.

State Farm - X

The Hartford, Tower - 2X what the State Farm Premium Is

Chubb - ALMOST 3X what my State Farm Premium is.

The bottom line as I value which provider to go with, is that I just want the damm carrier to pay when I actually do need it without going into litigation. I know Chubb will stand behind the customer, but the premiums Reflect it as well !

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Quite often, but now always, cheap-rate insurance guys get difficult to deal with when one has a claim.

It sort of boils down to ... someone has to pay the freight.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 4:16PM
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It sounds like SF wants you to show them that the house is worth what you are trying to insure it for? If your city/town has up to date property assessments, would they accept this as a value?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 5:43PM
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After 20 years of being a State Farm customer for both home and auto, I moved to American Family (probably not a choice for you). Never heard from SF again. Personally, if I lost a good customer of 20 year's standing, I'd want to know why, but I didn't even get a call from my SF agent. Between anecdotes like that and SF's attempts to weasel out of writing any insurance they think might cost them, I'd put them almost last on my list.

Everything I've heard about Amica has been positive. If their premium comes in significantly less than Chubb's, I'd have few qualms about going with them. But if the quality of the experience is paramount, then you have to go with Chubb. It's the price of customer service, whether you're talking Lexus or Nordstroms or insurance.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 10:43AM
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I also had State Farm for over 20 years (two autos, homeowner, another house (rented out) as well as an extra rider)
Their rates kept going up and up even though we had no claims.
I shopped around and found an insurance broker. We've saved $200 on the HO policy and about $250 on auto.
Have you considered an independent broker?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:34AM
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Be sure to understand what the cost is to rebuilt your house, Ask you agent what they compute the cost to be. Then review your policy, what do they cover, actual cost or policy limit? You may already have enough coverage.
When you say close to the water, do you mean hurricane risk, what is your risk by being close to the water?
It is smart to shop around, call the direct writers and some brokers. Give them a few minutes of your time, they will do the work, you may be the winner!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 12:37PM
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Check with any associations, alumni groups, trade groups, etc. that you belong to. They often have agreements with insurers for 10%-20% discounts for members. Even if you don't go with that insurer, you can sometimes use this as leverage with your existing insurer.

Standard practice for most insurance companies is to allow you to cancel your policy at any time during the policy term by sending written notice stating the date of cancellation. Your insurance policy does not necessarily terminate at the end of each policy term, so it isn't safe to assume that you can just cancel by failing to pay your next bill. If you don't send notice of cancellation, your insurance company will automatically bill you in advance for the next term's premium payment. If you don't pay it, they'll cancel your policy and it will go on your credit report.

Don't expect this information to be made explicit in your policy; while insurers are quick to inform you that your coverage will terminate at the end of the policy period if you don't pay your next premium, they don't always inform you of the repercussions you may face for not giving formal notice of your policy termination.

If you decide to switch, call your insurer, let them know that you want to cancel your policy and give them an effective date. They will then send you a cancellation request form - review this form carefully before you sign and return it to your insurer.

Links that might be useful:

10 things about home and property insurance you should know

Top things to know

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 6:31PM
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