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Homeowners Insurance Surprise
Old 09-12-2019, 09:23 AM   #1
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Homeowners Insurance Surprise

Received my annual homeowners insurance renewal offer this week from Allstate. Shocked to see my annual premium went up 40%!! Had this policy for 30 years and I donít live in an area at risk for wildfires, landslides or floods. Earthquake insurance is a separate policy. I live in California.


Looking at the details of the renewal offer, noticed the listed square footage of the house increased from 2036 to 2612 square feet (+28%)!! For real estate tax purposes the county assessor has always listed the 2036 number. I have not done any remodeling to increase the square footage of my home.

A call to my Allstate agent was less than satisfactory from my perspective. I was told since I have an attached 2-car garage (like most homes in Cerritos), this was now added to the square footage of the dwelling resulting in higher coverage limits and therefore a higher premium. Was my garage not covered for the prior 30 years (rhetorical question)? The lack of transparency of Allstate to communicate this dramatic policy change was egregious in my opinion.

Needless to say I am not pleased. I have two questions for the community:
  • Has anyone else experienced this dramatic premium increase?
  • If you are happy with the rates, coverage and service from your homeowners insurance carrier, give then a shout-out here. Iím looking for change.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by The Rodent View Post
Received my annual homeowners insurance renewal offer this week from Allstate. Shocked to see my annual premium went up 40%!! Had this policy for 30 years and I donít live in an area at risk for wildfires, landslides or floods. Earthquake insurance is a separate policy. I live in California.


Looking at the details of the renewal offer, noticed the listed square footage of the house increased from 2036 to 2612 square feet (+28%)!! For real estate tax purposes the county assessor has always listed the 2036 number. I have not done any remodeling to increase the square footage of my home.

A call to my Allstate agent was less than satisfactory from my perspective. I was told since I have an attached 2-car garage (like most homes in Cerritos), this was now added to the square footage of the dwelling resulting in higher coverage limits and therefore a higher premium. Was my garage not covered for the prior 30 years (rhetorical question)? The lack of transparency of Allstate to communicate this dramatic policy change was egregious in my opinion.

Needless to say I am not pleased. I have two questions for the community:
  • Has anyone else experienced this dramatic premium increase?
  • If you are happy with the rates, coverage and service from your homeowners insurance carrier, give then a shout-out here. Iím looking for change.
My bold above is the problem.

Insurance does not reward loyalty. Bid your policies at least every two years.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:59 AM   #3
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This problem is also a good reason to avoid "tied" agents. Though in theory they represent you, they are de facto employees and will dance to the insurance company's tune.

Independent agents have access to multiple markets and will shop for you. Further, the companies they represent know that if the agent is unhappy he/she may stop writing business with them. This gives you leverage because he/she has leverage.

I would also recommend looking for some snow on the roof. An experience agent will have the battle scars and resultant skills in negotiating on behalf of customers. The kids, not so much.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:46 PM   #4
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We've had Allstate for over 30 years. Our homeowners did not go up, nearly that much, and we did a huge remodel, walls knocked out, bath updates, redesign of the interior of our house. 40% is crazy and must be a mistake.

We're loyal to Allstate b/c of the support we got when DH rear ended a pizza delivery guy. Long story, but parents of boy sued us personally. Allstate spies took pictures of him at a nightclub in a band/drummer. He also partied all over the place and the injuries he claimed were bogus. Courts threw the case out.

Maybe every insurance co does this. All I know, we get tons of discounts and we're happy with car/homeowners/umbrella policies/premiums.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:01 PM   #5
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I live in the Bay Area and have had State Farm since I bought this house 30 years ago. The garage is listed separately on the declaration page and is valued separately from the house. Sounds like BS to me.

I insure everything with State Farm. No problems in 40 years. Cars, roofs, AC unit hit by lightning, a really bad tenant that destroyed part of a garage wall, all covered. And my current agent has a keen understanding of insurance, as did his predecessor. No guarantee you will have the same experience, though.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:14 PM   #6
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I would shop around. I have been really happy with Amica, but I would also contact an independent agent and see what quotes you get.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:30 PM   #7
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Sometimes, Mother Nature...

AMICA
2016 - $1400
2017 - $1700 21%
2018 - $2300 35%
2019 - $2900 26%
Could a billion dollar hailstorm in May 2017 have had any influence on this?
AMICA did an excellent job of processing our $37K claim.

I do think that very low to negative interest rates are having an impact of insurance rates.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
My bold above is the problem.

Insurance does not reward loyalty. Bid your policies at least every two years.
+1000

We didn't for years and when we did we discovered our American Family rep was running scams to keep others from under cutting his price. I had been rear ended a couple times, he had misrepresented them as being my fault.

His adjuster told the truth.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:36 PM   #9
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AMICA
2016 - $1400
2017 - $1700 21%
2018 - $2300 35%
2019 - $2900 26%
Could a billion dollar hailstorm in May 2017 have had any influence on this?
AMICA did an excellent job of processing our $37K claim.

I do think that very low to negative interest rates are having an impact of insurance rates.
That is the nature of where we live. Lots of hail claims.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:42 PM   #10
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We shop around every 2 years for better rates. We like Geico, �������������� Mutual and American Family.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:44 PM   #11
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Been with State Farm for over 35 years. Cars, rental, earthquake, umbrella polices with them all. We have the guaranteed certificate or renewable on our vehicles. State Farm has always paid above the "value of our car" when wrecked by our kids many years ago or hit by someone else.

They paid for (3) totaled cars, repaired our RV last year after it was vandalized. Prices are fair and customer is stellar.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:52 PM   #12
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Don't really understand AMICA. I have heard good things about them but they just aren't competitive in my area, that hasn't stop them from pushing their product. I've gotten mailings from them about once a month for the past 10 years on how much I can save on my home owners insurance. I've checked with them several times over the years to see if things have changed but it never does. The quote I got from them earlier this year is 4X what I'm currently paying with Travelers for the same coverage, they aren't even in the same ballpark. Been happy with Travelers as far as price goes, small or no increases over the last 10 years, haven't filed any claims yet.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:57 PM   #13
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Been with the same HO and auto and umbrella and earthquake and motorcycle (5 different companies) for 20 years and everything pretty much stays the same.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:31 PM   #14
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We just got notice that they are canceling ours after 23 years...California but not the wildfire area
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
This problem is also a good reason to avoid "tied" agents. Though in theory they represent you, they are de facto employees and will dance to the insurance company's tune.

Independent agents have access to multiple markets and will shop for you. Further, the companies they represent know that if the agent is unhappy he/she may stop writing business with them. This gives you leverage because he/she has leverage.
I have found the exact opposite. We were dropped by Allstate several years ago for our house at the shore in MD when we moved our primary residence to FL. They wouldn't cover a second home if they didn't insure the primary, and they don't insure in FL. So we shopped around with an independent agent and found insurance. The price went through the roof every year for the next five years, and the agent kept finding us new and very slightly less expensive coverage. But I eventually contact State Farm myself and was able to get the insurance for 1/3 the price the independent agent was finding for us.

Maybe my agent was an exception, but I formed the opinion that they didn't shop the insurance to major carriers, just to more minor players. I could get a 20% per year increase for the next 5 years and not be paying as much as the independent agent had found for us.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:17 PM   #16
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OP - time to ask other insurance companies about their coverage for your place.

The garage thing, sounds to me like a way to force an upsell.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:22 PM   #17
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Insurance rates are partially based on loss ratios--state by state. Even though I'm 400 miles from the Gulf Coast, if a hurricane comes through I'm penalized on homeowners' insurance rates.

I still have Allstate on our lake house, however the rates increased substantially when they cancelled my car insurance due to excessive claims--like when a car was damaged while stolen and when daughter's boyfriend totaled my car. I understand that.

But the mode of operation of many companies is to give you a teaser rate on replacement value homeowners. Look up in 3 years, and they're charging you for enough insurance to rebuild the home twice. "Our computer system says it would cost $X to rebuild the house the same." But they won't give you that much $ if the house burns to the ground unless you rebuild. They would give you a depreciated amount of maybe 60% of what you're paying premiums on. The whole industry just sucks.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:05 AM   #18
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Don't really understand AMICA. I have heard good things about them but they just aren't competitive in my area, that hasn't stop them from pushing their product. I've gotten mailings from them about once a month for the past 10 years on how much I can save on my home owners insurance. I've checked with them several times over the years to see if things have changed but it never does. The quote I got from them earlier this year is 4X what I'm currently paying with Travelers for the same coverage, they aren't even in the same ballpark. Been happy with Travelers as far as price goes, small or no increases over the last 10 years, haven't filed any claims yet.
I have Amica, and they are competitive here. I suspect it depends on your region.

I jumped from State Farm after a massive raise by SF. I'm still paying less with Amica than SF in 2013. We did nothing wrong (no claims ever, etc.) and SF went crazy on us in 2013 on both homeowners and umbrella. So I swapped, despite Amica's umbrella being much higher.

The kicker was the SF agent was downright rude to me when I mentioned this.

Overall, glad we changed. We'll see where this goes. Our homeowners did go up more than I like this year.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:21 AM   #19
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OP here, thanks to all who contributed with comments, shared experiences, and suggestions.


Bundling was the way to go. After significant research yesterday, I successfully landed new home/auto/earthquake policies with AAA. My savings will be around $400 annually!
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Rodent View Post
Received my annual homeowners insurance renewal offer this week from Allstate. Shocked to see my annual premium went up 40%!! Had this policy for 30 years and I don’t live in an area at risk for wildfires, landslides or floods. Earthquake insurance is a separate policy. I live in California.


Looking at the details of the renewal offer, noticed the listed square footage of the house increased from 2036 to 2612 square feet (+28%)!! For real estate tax purposes the county assessor has always listed the 2036 number. I have not done any remodeling to increase the square footage of my home.

A call to my Allstate agent was less than satisfactory from my perspective. I was told since I have an attached 2-car garage (like most homes in Cerritos), this was now added to the square footage of the dwelling resulting in higher coverage limits and therefore a higher premium. Was my garage not covered for the prior 30 years (rhetorical question)? The lack of transparency of Allstate to communicate this dramatic policy change was egregious in my opinion.

Needless to say I am not pleased. I have two questions for the community:
  • Has anyone else experienced this dramatic premium increase?
  • If you are happy with the rates, coverage and service from your homeowners insurance carrier, give then a shout-out here. I’m looking for change.
I can't imagine why they didn't include your garage in your square footage all along. That's weird. I don't think that the problem was Allstate at all; I think that they goofed when they originally set up your policy, gave you a break for many years, and then figured out what they had done wrong in the first place. That said, good for you to find a competing insurance company to go with. Wish we could do that here, but no new policies to replace existing policies have been written here for a billion years or at least since Katrina AFAIK.

I have Allstate homeowner's insurance like you do. It does not cover wind-and-hail (hurricane) damage, or flood damage, for which I have separate policies from the State of Louisiana and from FEMA. I have never made a claim on any of these three types of policies on my home. My credit score is very high.

My 2019 Allstate homeowner's insurance cost me $476.35.
My 2018 Allstate homeowner's insurance cost me $469.38.
My 2017 Allstate homeowner's insurance cost me $473.62.
My 2016 Allstate homeowner's insurance cost me $470.72.

I don't see any unreasonable increases during the four years since I bought my 1500 sf home here in New Orleans. I have an extra large 2-car detached garage in the back and it is included in my homeowner's policy. I have no attached garage.

New Orleans has very high insurance rates in general. But so what; overall cost of living is not especially high and high insurance rates are something one evaluates when deciding whether or not to live here.
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