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Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 07:18 AM   #1
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Advice on changing insurance companies

I have had insurance policies with State Farm for decades. Currently they include two cars, two houses, a jet ski, and an umbrella policy. The other day I was looking at the umbrella policy because I was thinking of raising the level. The price struck me as too high for what it provided so I called Geico to get a quote. They told me I needed another policy (e.g.) car to enroll for an umbrella. So I got a quote for the cars and could save a boatload. Then I got a quote for the umbrella and could save a boatload more. The houses were cheaper at state farm. Time to move but I have some questions:

1) Is there generally an advantage to stick with one company or is it better to farm the policies out to well regarded specialists?

2) Should I just shop around or find a broker?

3) Someone told me the umbrella should equal my net worth. But people can sue you for more than that so I don't see the relationship - any magic numbers for umbrellas?

4) Any suggestions on good companies and/or brokers?

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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 07:39 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

1) you may get discounts for time with the company...I get a preferred rate that kicks in after 10 years as a customer. You may also get better customer service and adherence...for example from what I hear geico dumps you in a heartbeat if you file too many claims or get a few tickets...but thats just what I hear, not any statement of fact. Sounded like a great company if you plan to rarely file a claim and dont get tickets.

3) Whats the average and nominal "high" judgement in your area? In mine the average claim paid is around 750k and few cases go over a million or so. So I got $2M. Figure if I do anything that warrants paying more than twice the average and typical high judgment...I deserve it.

4) I was thinking of changing companies last year. From what I could gather, all companies suck and the others suck more than the incumbent. All overcharge, provide poor service, have lousy web sites, screw up, make mistakes, dont pay claims, dump you on claims, etc.

I'll always shop for a better deal, but realize theres no free lunch. Do the policies that geico is giving you have the same limits and deductibles, replacement cost vs cash value, any other exclusions or inclusions, yada yada yada?

I've found that comparing two policies is hard to do and there are lots of little bits of BS involved. Check the many insurance company reviews that have measured service response and claim payment performance. Consumer reports has done a couple.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 07:55 AM   #3
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

I switched from Liberty Mutual to GEICO for the cars and umbrella and left the house with LM. The auto policy is about 1/3 cheaper and the umbrella is about the same. DW got rear-ended the day before Thanksgiving and GEICO's customer service was flawless. I think it is worth moving if you get a significant price cut, but I would give your current agent a chance to "find" any extra discounts that might make the policy more competitive before you move.

One caveat: if you live in a coastal state where homeowners' insurance is hard to come by, I would suck it up and stay with State Farm.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 08:30 AM   #4
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

I will check around further but may go with Geico for the cars/umbrella. The difference is just too much. Besides I am still ticked off at State Farm for another problem. I wish all of these policies were consolidated and automatically paid but noooo, I have to deal with all of them arriving in the mail separately. So I just send the check when the renewals arrive. A couple of years ago the renewal for the car my daughter drives must have been lost in the mail. More than a year later as I was looking throught the file I noticed that there was no paperwork for that car. Turns out that when no check arrived my State Farm agent just assumed I sold the car. 17 YO DD was driving an uninsured car for a year!!!! Yeah, I am dumb but SF really screwed that one over.

The houses still look pretty good so I will probably stay.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 08:59 AM   #5
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

We use MetLife, in large part because we have the odd situation of living in an apartment in a building we own so we want "homeowners" and "renters" coverage, and they gave us the best package. No one else has been able to compete in both cost and coverage, with full replacement on everything.

Our building would cost substantially more than it is worth to rebuild. Some insurance companies would not insure for more than its value.

We have always had good luck with claims and issues. I think that the reason is we have always had good agents and the one time we had a claim, a good adjuster.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

Sorry to interrupt - Don, you have a Personal Message from me (unrelated to insurance).

There are some comprehensive threads around here concerning umbrella insurance.

We had "guaranteed replacement" insurance with Farmers, and when our house burned in 1991, they paid for a new one, even though it was significantly more expensive than the old one. The adjuster was very generous. I remember one conversation in particular:

Me: "Well, gee, we only spent $38 apiece for those dining room chairs."
Adjuster: "Oh no, you can't get chairs for under $200 -- we'll put down $1600 for the chairs."

(I adjusted those figures for inflation).
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 01:21 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

My parents and brother swear by USAA for their good rates and great service. I've tried to switch both homeowners and auto to them, but they don't offer homeowners insurance in my county for some reason. I've compared my Allstate auto policy with Geico twice in the past two years, and have found that while Geico is cheaper on auto insurance, the multipolicy discount that I get on homeowners makes up the difference. So I am sticking with a single carrier for convenience sake.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
3) Whats the average and nominal "high" judgement in your area? In mine the average claim paid is around 750k and few cases go over a million or so.
Where do you get this kind of data?
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 05:31 PM   #9
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

Your agent will probably quite quickly point you to several documents that show the amount. Your lawyer can also probably give you some good idea. A little googling will give you some other numbers.

I got two numbers somewhat near each other, figured both were inflating a little (the ins agent to get me to buy a bigger policy and the lawyer to impress me on what I could get should such a situation arise), then realized the $2M coverage really wasnt that much higher than the $1M. And other than plowing into a school bus full of quadriplegic orphans, I cant think of what I might do to exceed that with reasonable liability.
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies
Old 02-05-2007, 07:42 PM   #10
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Re: Advice on changing insurance companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
I wish all of these policies were consolidated and automatically paid but noooo, I have to deal with all of them arriving in the mail separately. So I just send the check when the renewals arrive.
don,

I have several policies with SF (home, 2 cars, personal property, umbrella), and have email notification when premiums come due. Then all I have to do is log-on to SF and pay them online.

I also understand about ins. company's screw-ups and high prices, but unfortunately that happens with the best of them, too. That's why I left the last outfit (....screw-ups and high prices...) and went to SF. In fact my policies on one of the cars and the house have actually gone DOWN in the last year. Prior to that they were holding fairly steady. I've been with them for almost 20 years now.

Happy (insurance) Hunting!
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