House Insurance Rate Increase

catsoupOctober 3, 2007

If this is not the correct forum, somebody please direct me. I just paid my house insurance for the year. The rate jumped from $738 last year to $935 this year. I asked why and the agent said all of the policies increased about 15%. I told him that was more than 15%, it's closer to a 30% increase. He said he whished he could do something except stand there and stutter, but he didn't find any reason why it would have increased that much, except that it was not exactly 15% across the board, just about an average of a 15% increase. Can anybody tell me if there is anything I can do? I paid it because the deadline was today. The company is American Family.

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western_pa_luann

You can call the home office (not your agent)and ask...

(For some reason, mine went down this year!)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 1:38PM
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kitchenshock

Call your state's Insurance Commissioners office. Also, insurers do make mistakes sometimes when rating a policy. Just recently State Farm admitted to "accidentally" over-billing its customers in Florida and blamed it on a computer glitch. Right.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 3:29PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

For some reason mine went down this year also. I thought it might be that I had the same insurance for 20 years with no claims.

Surely 'they' could not have known that I have been thinking of shopping around for a 'better' deal on my home and auto insurance. Once I find a better rate for the same coverage, I will ask my present agent if he can meet or beat the rates I found. My guess is that he can probably do some better anyway.

Sue

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:04PM
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catsoup

I just now called the home office.......grrrrrr!! They put me on hold for about 10 minutes and then came back on the line and said they had my home agent on the line. I had just talked to my home agent this morning when I paid the $935! He's the one that told me there was a 15% increase. He told me I got the exact same increase that all the other policyholders in this area got. Maybe it is time to shop around. I have been with him for about 15-18 years with only a couple of small claims. Hmmm, wonder why some of yours went down while the ones in my area went up? Interesting.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:13PM
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zone_8grandma

I'd go shopping. Is your agent an independent broker? Or a rep for American Family?

If he's an independent broker, tell him you want 3 quotes from other companies (make sure the coverage is the same). If he's a rep for American Family, you can get quotes on your own. I'd get 5 or 6 quotes including one from an insurance broker.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:16PM
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catsoup

He is a rep for American Family and an old schoolmate that I have known all my life.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:25PM
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spanky67

Catsoup, if he's an "old schoolmate" ask him to give you the straight scoop. I might give one type of answer to a client I don't know very well, or I know wouldn't comprehend a detailed explanation, and a very different one to one that I know well. Both answers would be accurate, but tailored to the recipient.

Has your dwelling coverage increased dramatically? I'm dealing with a rate increase for my clients that for most totals around $50/year. However, most of those same policies have also had a PIA increase (think inflation guard) that is a percentage of their existing dwelling coverage. Here's an example: My house insurance went from $1514/year to $1689/year. My dwelling coverage went from $560k to $594k resulting in $98 of the $175 increase. The other $77 was a general, across the board rate increase.

I realize nobody likes rate increases. Bad news is they will always happen. What you've got to do is a little shopping then make a decision. Whatever you do, don't bite off your nose to spite your face. Sure you might save $100 of that increase switching companies but no one on this board but you can decide if that's worth a move. I'd argue having a legitimate "friend" as your insurance agent is worth something. While I treat all my clients extremely well, I've stood on my head for my friends. They could never get this level of service from a stranger. I'd also argue that being with the same company for many years is also worth something.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:12AM
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zone_8grandma

I'd also argue that being with the same company for many years is also worth something.

I used to feel that way. I was with State Farm for nearly 25 years. When I had an auto accident, they were awful to deal with. My agent wouldn't even talk to me; he kept referring me to the claims adjuster who didn't know me from Adam. All those years meant nothing to State Farm.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:37AM
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catsoup

Well, he is not an old "friend", just a schoolmate I have known for probably 45 years. My husband is shopping for insurance today. He has a friend who is an insurance broker. We'll see how it goes for him today. This company has been great when it comes to paying if we have a claim. We have not had a claim in about 8 years or so, and it was because a storm damaged our roof and they replaced the roof. We have replacement value on our house, so it increased from $86k to $89k. That's the only change in the policy. The agent said he wished he could do something except just stand there and stutter, but he didn't have an answer, that's why I called the home company.......who in turn called him and I had to talk to him again. Doesn't the agent have any kind of "power" to raise or lower the rate somewhat? If I took in a quote from another company, does that agent have the power to match that rate? I always thought they do.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:48AM
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zone_8grandma

Doesn't the agent have any kind of "power" to raise or lower the rate somewhat? If I took in a quote from another company, does that agent have the power to match that rate? I always thought they do.

I've been under the impression that that was the case. Back in the days when I had State Farm, I was dating the now hubby and he was looking for ins quotes. He got one quote from a State Farm guy near his workplace and it was quite high. He got a quote from my agent and it was about $200 less/yr for the exact same coverage and company. Now that was about 20 years ago, so I don't know if it's still true.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 1:13PM
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sudiepav

I'd shop around. I was unhappy with my agent, and so I got 3 quotes and found a good agent/company and my insurance is 1/3 less (auto and home) than I was paying before. I only switched b/c I felt our agent wasn't doing the job. I didn't realize how out of line our rates were. I,too, had just paid my auto bill, but I asked for, and got a full refund from the company for both auto and homeowner's. I had to go to the home office, tho. As usual my agent was totally unresponsive.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 3:53PM
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catsoup

I got a quote from 3 companies, and I have settled with one that will be $781 for the same identical coverage that I have now. The company, Billings Mutual, has been in business since the 1800's. Wonder how much the agent can legally keep of the $935 I paid him yesterday when I cancel tomorrow?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 5:39PM
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sparksals

Why didn't you shop around for lower rates? Since you paid today, obviously, you got the statement about a month ago, plenty of time to shop around.

Our home insurance went up by about 20% and I shopped. I got a rate at USAA that was 20% cheaper than what we paid Allstate before they upped our rates.

sounds to me like you left it to the last minute and now you're complaining.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 1:58AM
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zone_8grandma

catsoup,
I believe that you will be refunded. We paid the ins premium on our rental house in Jan. In July we cancelled the policy because we found a better rate. The company gave us a prorated refund.

If they don't give you a refund, I'd check with your state's insurance commisioner.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 2:21PM
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catsoup

zone8grandma, that's what I will do. I think I will be refunded, too. I think legally there is just so much they can hold and not refund.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 8:10PM
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spanky67

Hi Catsoup, sorry went on a golf trip to Oak Hill in Rochester NY and just got back. Hard to pass up 90 degrees in upstate NY in October!!

You may get all but 1 day back or you may get a little less...depends on the company. Here in CT, we're given the option to "short rate cancel" a policy. Basically a company can charge you a small penalty for cancelling early/mid-stream. It's at the discretion of the company (we do not charge a penalty). If your state has this, there is a strict formula they must follow. The ins. commisioner will have this.

Regarding the negotiating of rates question, there's generally no negotiating...especially on home and auto insurance. Now a good salesman may convince you he did some finagling on your behalf and got the company to lower the rates. Most likely it didn't quite happen the way he wants you to believe. Personal property and casualy insurance really is a "garbage in garbage out" concept. You are who you are, you drive what you drive, and you live where you live...no real mystery. The insurers make all the rules and charge accordingly. Sometimes I feel like a glorified order taker when writing new policies. I tend to earn my keep when the you know what hits the your know where.

Both Catsoup and Zone8grandma once again confirm something fairly well known in the insurance game. Generally clients will switch TO a new company for price, but generally don't LEAVE because of it. Even in this day of internet shopping and stupid lizards, people still appreciate being treated well and fairly.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 3:35PM
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davidandkasie

my first call would be to whoever insures my autos. SF has all my policies, home, flood, life and auto. with multiple policies thru 1 company i get major discounts on everything but the FI since it is really federal gov insurance. when i got the home owner's insurance thru them, the next month i did not even HAVE a bill for my auto's and life policies because the discount level i got paid for the month's premiums.

also, my agent was able to get me insured like i lived in town and not a rural area, saving me 1200 a year on my HOI! he thought i was going to have to pay the rural rates, but he took it upon himself to call teh rural water association and ask them to install a hydrant by my house. since they did this, i qualified for suburban rates instead of rural. he could have skipped this and earned himself more commission, but he had MY interests in mind.

shop around, find a good agent, and go with them. if you can put multiple policies with teh same company it will save you money, so try to find someone who can do it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 2:00PM
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amy460

Mine went down as well.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:34PM
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