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How do you rate your insurance company?
Old 08-21-2007, 04:10 AM   #1
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How do you rate your insurance company?

How do you like your insurance company? We have used Farmers for 7 years and our agent seems to be taking us for granted and has overlooked some things. We have never put in a claim because we believe insurance is just for catastrophic events. We'll definitely be switching within a few weeks when our policy comes due - maybe Allstate - maybe an independent agent using Travellers. We're currently researching to find a better agent and company. We need one that will cover our house, rentals, umbrella policy as well as automobiles and RV in California.

So does anyone recommend a particular insurance company? :confused: From the posts on another thread, it seems that State Farm, Allstate , Farmers and Liberty Mutual among others, have some questionable practices.

We're also trying to get liability insurance to rent out our fully set up concrete RV pad with full hookups, nice shade trees etc on our one acre property. So far no luck, though we can get insurance to rent out a room in our house through several companies - not Farmers - but we don't want to do that. Anyone have any suggestions? If we can't get insurance, any opinions about a Release of Liability Form? Any info appreciated.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:19 AM   #2
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I have used Allstate for 25 years. I have not had problems with them, but have only made small claims for auto.

After reading about their practices (related to the McKinsey Consulting recommendations)... I have decided to look for another insurer.

After watching that news show about insurance practices (NOW - new magazine), I do not feel I can fully trust them. And let's face it, if and when I need to rely on them (house burns down or tornado hits), they will have me at a disadvantage.

I am in contact with them now with a few questions about my policy just to clarify a few things in the interim... but I am shopping.

For now, I am trying to figure out how to determine which P&C companies should be avoided.


Where is the Brewman when you need him.

Hey Brew - How can we check to see if P&C companies have complaints against them or if they are stonewalling people on claims?

Edit - You can find info at your State Dept of Insurance... Duh. I had temporary brain impairment.

My insurance company has a high complaint to premium ratio. Plus a lower financial strength rating than some other companies. I am going to make a move soon.

I am just debating whether or not I should even take the time to tell those @ssh0!es why. From my perspective... I feel violated just because of their intent and tactics. Even though the actual event has not occurred. When I would need them the most, could I depend on them to pay up or depend on them to stonewall me? I am not taking the chance.


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Old 08-21-2007, 07:39 AM   #3
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I saw part of an insurance expose this weekend on "60 Minutes". It was going off on All State, showing their tactics in NOT being easy to deal with regarding claims from a San Diego wildfire that destroyed 2000+ homes a few years back. The basic point was they would make an offer to their insureds and if it was not accepted they would use every possible stalling tactic to drive them crazy. As I recall, they also got a real bad rep following Hurricane Andrew.

I've had State Farm for the last 15 years and only made one claim for a hail damaged roof. They paid for the re-roof. No hassle at all.

Still, if we relocate in the spring, I want to give USAA a shot at the next house. I've had our cars with them since 1972.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:24 AM   #4
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I wonder if there is way to tell which insurers paid out a large % of claims in New Orleans? NOt just the number of claims paid out but replacement %. I've heard some horror stories about insurance companies only paying homeowners pennies on the dollar for their claims aftert he storms. I would think that if an insurance company paid out substantially during Katrina then I would feel more confident about them also covering my policy.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:11 AM   #5
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We used to have Allstate and some years ago when our garage collapsed from the weight of the snow we had no problems with coverage. We got the stuff in the garage covered with no issues and the garage rebuilt. However, this was pre-McKinsey, back in the days before the big increase in Allstate profits.

We now have MetLife but no claims as of yet. Greg has a friend who is an insurance agent (he didn't and couldn't sell us this product) and he said we have one of the best policies you can get. Reasonable cost and excellent coverage.

I hope we never have to find out.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:18 AM   #6
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Yeah, here's the catch ... if you're not insured for replacement value the insurer only needs to reimburse proportional to the policy value. Sooo if you have a 150k policy on a 300k house they're only responsible for 1/2 of any damage. Might have 200k of losses and only get 100k out of insurance.

Tough to rebuild in that scenario.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:31 AM   #7
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You might take a look at JD Powers ratings, from memory I think that Eire Mutual, Chubb, and Amica have the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan View Post
Yeah, here's the catch ... if you're not insured for replacement value the insurer only needs to reimburse proportional to the policy value. Sooo if you have a 150k policy on a 300k house they're only responsible for 1/2 of any damage. Might have 200k of losses and only get 100k out of insurance.

Tough to rebuild in that scenario.
You're basically right, but I'm not sure that's the exact math. With most policies, you're required to be 80% insured to receive full coverage for partial losses. So for a $300k house the insurance requirement is $240k and if you only had $150k insurance you'd be 15/24 --> 62.5% insured and would receive $125k for a $200k claim.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:34 AM   #9
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I have been w/ State Farm for over 20 years - I currently have all my vehicles, home, camper and umbrella w/ them. The cost is similar to what I would be paying w/ other smaller co.
I have had zero problems w/ them. They usually figure out ways to help keep the cost down -- I recently added a car my daughter is learning to drive with. They called it an "extra car" and only charged me $28. per month (w/ $250/$500,000 coverage)
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:41 AM   #10
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I have policies with State Farm on our cars, house, and an umbrella policy. I also have a SF policy to that covers some very expensive jewelry pieces. I've been with SF for almost 20 years, and have never had any problems with them.

I've had a couple of claims due to playing 'bumper cars', and the claims were settled within a couple of days. We also had some hail damage to our roof and siding 2 years ago, and they had an adjuster here in 2 days. He inspected everything, and said that although the damaged areas could be repaired easily without full replacement, if it was HIS house he'd want the whole roof stripped and completely replaced. He wrote the check accordingly, for tear-off, new roof, new siding, and new gutters & spouts.

We did have the roof replaced, but used the restto pay for a 2 week vacation out west. We didn't deem the siding and gutter damage necessary of repair. Our premiums have not been increased because of the claims. House ins has increased $6 over the past 2 years, car ins has lowered!

Our SF agent is a really nice, young family man, and very active in our community. He goes over our policies with me each year, and recommends any changes that should be made....more coverage...less coverage....drop some of the coverage...add some other coverage. He's actually saved me a bundle on premiums over the years.

Edited to add: as a side note, we have full replacement coverage on the house, not just current value (with required building code upgrades also included).
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:35 AM   #11
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I have policies with State Farm ...
I'll 3rd the vote for State Farm. Even Geico couldn't beat the car
rate I'm getting, and they have a lousy rep.
TJ
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:

I'm not sure that's the exact math. With most policies, you're required to be 80% insured to receive full coverage for partial losses
Thanx for the correction. Problem is the recent increase in home prices has most under insured. And nobody is telling homeowners they won't get full coverage of partial losses.

Learned this with a fire that gutted the second and third floor of a rental. Needed a public adjuster to haggle with the insurance company (who paid out the max - 82k). Then I haggled with the contractors to stay under budget even thou I was underinsured (house was worth 160k at that time).

One would think the insurance agents would be pushing all thier clients to update thier policies (as a profit pusher ... if not a public service).
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:11 PM   #13
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STATE FARM: In 2001, there were a number of floods in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. State Farm screwed so many people out of getting paid for repairs that the Attorney General told them they could not sell any more new policies there. I got half of what I should have gotten on the loss I incurred losing a room in my house with 1-1/2 foot of water. Never again will I have anything to do with State Farm. They suck.
AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE: Conservative company that only goes to safer States, but does over half of America now. Wonderful rates, rated AA or AAA (I forgot which, but I called A.M. Best for the rating, and they came out the highest I could buy). Love, love, love them!!!!
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
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USAA - Never a problem. Back when the kids (Boys) were young we had a couple of claims and they were settled quickly and satisfactory also do not remember any increase in premiums as a result. Today they insure home and car and cost is very reasonable and they are a mutual company therefore we get a rebate each year which further reduces the cost.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:22 PM   #15
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insurer of choice

I've been with USAA since 1970, I think. Started with my car. When I purchased my first home, I got coverage with USAA also. Then, as cars and houses increased in number I added them too. Had several claims due to storms on houses through the years and never had a problem. So easy to deal with I'd never go with anyone else just to lower premium a few dollars. There are some catches though.

USAA will only carry up to three rental houses, single family only, in addition to your home. (This number may have changed, but they still carry me.)

Apartments must come from coverage elsewhere. They don't do commerial property. I use Farm Bureau for apartments, but have never had a claim on them. Their rates are fine. Also have umbrella liability policy with them.

Most of the time I just pay the damage myself if it's not too serious. I look at insurance as protection beyond what I can cover with cash available, and I carry high deductible accordingly and self-insure minor damage.

But the real reason I stay with USAA is their customer service. It's second to none. I will not deal with companies more than once that make it their practice to wear down the customer through neglect and abuse. Why should anyone pay for that?
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:25 PM   #16
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I have been with USAA for 40+ years and I think that that number alone says a lot about how I feel about their service, claims paying, and rates.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:24 PM   #17
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I have Travellers for home insurance, but in the 8 years I've used them, I haven't needed them. Knock on wood. I've had GEICO for car insurance for probably 15 years, and they have always been great.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:22 PM   #18
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Count me as another vote for USAA, if you are eligible. I have been with them for 28 years - cars, house, umbrella policy -- and have never had a problem.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:13 PM   #19
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One more thought on choosing an insurance (or any other) company - in addition to checking JD Powers, consumersearch, epinions, Consumer Union, Consumer Reports, etc. make sure to check the web for any "sucks" sites.

Just googling "XYZ sucks" where XYZ=company name, can be very informative and lead you to some amazing information that won't always be apparent any other way...

FWIW, virtually all of the "household name" insurance companies have "sucks-sites" and/or return numerous google hits to "sucks
searches". You need to some of this with a grain of salt, since one upset person can make a lot of noise on the Internet, but the quantity and severity of complaints out there are certainly worth noting.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:06 AM   #20
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STATE FARM: In 2001, there were a number of floods in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. State Farm screwed so many people out of getting paid for repairs that the Attorney General told them they could not sell any more new policies there. I got half of what I should have gotten on the loss I incurred losing a room in my house with 1-1/2 foot of water. Never again will I have anything to do with State Farm. They suck.
AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE: Conservative company that only goes to safer States, but does over half of America now. Wonderful rates, rated AA or AAA (I forgot which, but I called A.M. Best for the rating, and they came out the highest I could buy). Love, love, love them!!!!
Orchidflower - Could you please explain this? I didn't think State Farm sold flood insurance. I thought the only way you could get flood insurance was through the national flood insurance program, or whatever it is called. Every homeowner policy I have had specifically excluded flood damage. Are you saying that some homeowner policies include it? And that you had it?

State Farm, and at least one other company I believe, stopped selling new home owners policies in TX on their own accord for a couple years. They were not banned or anything like that.
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