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Shopping for Home and Auto Insurance
Old 02-19-2014, 05:00 PM   #1
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Shopping for Home and Auto Insurance

I've been with Allstate for over 25 years, and with the same broker. Recently I received a solicitation from my partner's company to get a quote from Met Life, so I went ahead and gave them the information to quote our policies. Here is a summary of the two proposals:


Allstate Metlife
Homeowners $1,645.00 $1,338.00
Earthquake $1,096.00 $1,506.00
Auto $2,015.12 $2,318.00
Umbrella $905.00 $370.00
Total $5,661.12 $5,532.00


The total difference between the two policies is $129.00, barely a 2% difference. The thing that has me bugged a bit is the difference in the umbrella policy. This is excess liability up to $5M. Allstate is at $905, Metlife is $370. That's quite a difference!

Both companies will only quote umbrella coverage if they have the home and auto covered as well, which seems to make sense to me. And both brokers have told me that the prices are not negotiable, so there is nothing they can do to get more competitive to attempt to win my business.

So I guess I have two questions here:

1) What experience has everyone had with negotiating discounts on their policies? Do some insurance companies negotiate to win business, or is it pretty much take it or leave it?

2) Does anyone have any ideas on how to get my umbrella coverage down? Are there any third party insurance companies that might quote just the umbrella policy without having the other coverage?

It just seems crazy to me to pay almost $1K for umbrella coverage, especially when Met Life confirmed it would be under $400 through their policy. If I eliminated earthquake coverage, MetLife would be $500 less overall. It's probably ridiculous for me to carry earthquake coverage given that I have a 15% deductible anyway, but I've been paying for it for 20 years now, so it's a bit of a comfort to sleep at night coverage I guess.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:37 PM   #2
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Why not simply go back to your agent and ask him the reason for the difference. It could be a mistake, or it could be something that can be reduced to meet a competitive situation.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:38 PM   #3
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We have been with Nationwide since forever. We have no luck at all negotiating lower rates with them. The only way they'll lower our rates is if we raise our deductibles.

At no time when I have shopped around (armed with spreadsheets laying out every detail of the current policy declarations) have I been able to make an apples-to-apples comparison of rates, because each company lays out its declarations a little differently.

"Save you money in 15 minutes" quotes are useless (for us, at least) a) because they inflate the deductible, etc., and b) they are not binding. Even if you switch based on a quote, the company can come back later with "something the underwriters noted during their review" which makes you a higher risk than originally thought, e.g. raises your premium.

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Old 02-19-2014, 05:46 PM   #4
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Added an umbrella last year and they required us to have home and auto and also required higher coverage than we had previously. New yearly cost:
Home $792
Auto $1,992
Umbrella $624

House Value $375,000
4 cars 4 drivers
Pemco Insurance
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by brett View Post
Why not simply go back to your agent and ask him the reason for the difference. It could be a mistake, or it could be something that can be reduced to meet a competitive situation.
I did. She said that Allstate is usually a little higher, but couldn't explain why MetLife was so low.

I just got a quote from State Farm. Their umbrella policy for $5M coverage was $868.00, so only $37 lower than Allstate. The Met Life policy seem a bit suspicious to me. I remember a recent thread on umbrella policies and I don't remember anyone quoting numbers as low as Met Life.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RetireAge50 View Post
Added an umbrella last year and they required us to have home and auto and also required higher coverage than we had previously. New yearly cost:
Home $792
Auto $1,992
Umbrella $624

House Value $375,000
4 cars 4 drivers
Pemco Insurance
Do you know how much liability coverage your umbrella policy offers?
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:17 PM   #7
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1 million umbrella + $500,000 auto liability. Coverage includes 2 teenage drivers.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:51 PM   #8
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Because of state laws in all of the 50 states, insurance companies must file their rates with the states. These filing do not permit customers with similar risk profiles to pay different prices. So, prices are standardized and no company can give you an additional discount beyond their filings.
Regarding the Umbrella differences, I suspect that there are differences in coverage between Met P & C and Allstate.on the umbrella. Perhaps, Allstate is writing a true Umbrella while Met is merely excess over the underlying policies. Some Umbrella policies cover slander, defamation, racial prejudice. Another possible explanation could include rating differences based on factors like breed of dog you own, a swimming pool, or many other things that might provide Allstate a rating possibility that Met doesn't use.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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Maybe it's time to shop around a little more. I'm doing the same right now, basing my candidates on top-rated insurers with Consumer Reports. I've got numbers so far from Amica, Auto-Owners, Erie and my current insurer, State Farm. So far only Erie is competitive with SF, by the way.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:29 PM   #10
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Regarding the Umbrella differences, I suspect that there are differences in coverage between Met P & C and Allstate.on the umbrella. Perhaps, Allstate is writing a true Umbrella while Met is merely excess over the underlying policies. Some Umbrella policies cover slander, defamation, racial prejudice. Another possible explanation could include rating differences based on factors like breed of dog you own, a swimming pool, or many other things that might provide Allstate a rating possibility that Met doesn't use.
I suspect you are correct. I have not reviewed the policy details for Met Life, but I bet there are some significant exclusions in there. I did some more googling of $5M umbrella policies and I can't find anyone out there who claims to have purchased a policy for so little money. In fact, I've seen some posters claim to be paying over $2K. Almost everyone is paying at least $650.

The final numbers between Allstate, State Farm and Met Life were within $400 on a total policy of about $6K. Not much savings there. I guess it was a good exercise just to confirm that it's not easy to get a significant discount on an apples to apples policy from another company.

I've heard great things about USAA, but I'm not a military employee, nor do I have any family members who are or were. I suspect they would have very competitive rates based on what I've seen people post about them on the internet.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:32 PM   #11
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Are you worth $5 million? If not, I would change the umbrella coverage to equal your true net worth. I read a story recently that said it very easy for anyone to find our how much insurance you had, and if a gold-digger was planning to stage an accident - they would go after the person with the most insurance.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:34 PM   #12
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Are you worth $5 million? If not, I would change the umbrella coverage to equal your true net worth. I read a story recently that said it very easy for anyone to find our how much insurance you had, and if a gold-digger was planning to stage an accident - they would go after the person with the most insurance.
Allstate caps their coverage for umbrella policies at $5M regardless of net worth, which is how we ended up with that coverage limit. However, yes, our net worth exceeds $5M, so I would prefer not to insure for less.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:36 PM   #13
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Are you worth $5 million? If not, I would change the umbrella coverage to equal your true net worth. I read a story recently that said it very easy for anyone to find our how much insurance you had, and if a gold-digger was planning to stage an accident - they would go after the person with the most insurance.

I wouldn't if I wanted coverage.... how much you have has nothing to do with how much someone can win if they sue you...
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:22 PM   #14
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I read a story recently that said it very easy for anyone to find our how much insurance you had, and if a gold-digger was planning to stage an accident - they would go after the person with the most insurance.
How can someone find out what another person has in liability insurance?
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:07 AM   #15
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Allstate caps their coverage for umbrella policies at $5M regardless of net worth, which is how we ended up with that coverage limit. However, yes, our net worth exceeds $5M, so I would prefer not to insure for less.
Ready,

I seem to remember you are in SoCal. Orange county?
Your auto insuracne is great with 2 teen age driver. The quote that I got for my 17 yo so alone is $3000 a year. I am in SoCal too.

Also, my 2M umbrella insuracne is $804. So, yours is not that bad.

Maybe I need to start shopping around. Seems like I am paying a lot more.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:35 AM   #16
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I'm just going through the insurance hunt now on the purchase of a new home. I feel that an independent insurance agent is the way to go because they can write for four or five different companies. You get to pick the best one based on price, coverage, history, etc. Cheapest is not always best. And , most important of all is to re-shop every two years. Don't think that staying with the same company for 15 years gets you the best rates. Also, get your credit score up to get the best rates in any given company.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:41 AM   #17
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It's really impossible to compare to another person's policies, cost is based on many factors, but shopping is wise move and there are many companies. I had good luck with AARP program from Hartford, good price on auto, home and umbrella and outstanding claim service when we had damage from winter storm.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:34 AM   #18
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Ready,

I seem to remember you are in SoCal. Orange county?
Your auto insuracne is great with 2 teen age driver. The quote that I got for my 17 yo so alone is $3000 a year. I am in SoCal too.

Also, my 2M umbrella insuracne is $804. So, yours is not that bad.

Maybe I need to start shopping around. Seems like I am paying a lot more.
No teenage drivers here, just myself and my partner. He does act like a teenager at times though.

I discovered a new wrinkle last night. My CEA earthquake policy only covers $5K in personal property protection. Raising it to $100K adds another $500 to my policy. Geez. I'm checking to see what MetLife's earthquake policy covers now.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #19
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When you check, take a look at the deductible. CEA building deduct is 10%. I think that may also apply to contents.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:01 PM   #20
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moved from allstate to Safeco a couple years ago for big savings...might want to give them a try.

I guess they are a good company, you don't really know until you have a claim.
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