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jiveturkey
10-07-2011, 02:50 PM
Does anyone have any good recommendations for home owners insurance?

I use USAA for our cars but they're $1000 a year more than our current insurance on the home side. It's still something I'm willing to consider though. We've been with the cheapest for a while (SafeCo) and I'm slowly realizing that cheap isn't the way to go.

phisherman
10-07-2011, 02:52 PM
We've been with Allied for a while for home and car. Our claims have always been handled quickly and professionally. I know some have had bad experiences with them, but they've always treated us right. They're not the cheapest, though I would put them on the more affordable end of the spectrum, for my family at least.

DaFace
10-07-2011, 02:53 PM
Not that I price shopped or anything, but I love State Farm. Probably depends on your agent to some extent, but my guy's always been very helpful and reachable. I personally value that more than the absolute cheapest price.

DMAC
10-07-2011, 02:54 PM
If you have good credit call Shelter or State Farm.

Stewie
10-07-2011, 02:55 PM
I've been with Nationwide for about four years now. Switched from Travelers for home and Progressive for auto. They blew the rates I was paying out of the water. That depends on several things, though, so a different insurer may be preferable to you. I haven't made a claim, so I'm not sure how responsive they are on that end.

Mojo Rising
10-07-2011, 03:20 PM
I pay slightly more for USAA and it is worth it. I filed 2 claims in the last couple of years and their service is excellent.

Cannibal
10-07-2011, 05:16 PM
We've been treated fairly by farm bureau. Although im gonna look into a better price on car insurance and have them come down. They have in the past.

Old Dog
10-07-2011, 05:23 PM
I pay slightly more for USAA and it is worth it. I filed 2 claims in the last couple of years and their service is excellent.

Same (other than one claim in 2008 and one in 2002 or so). The extra few $ a month is worth it for what I will get if I end up needing to use it.

Rain Man
10-07-2011, 05:43 PM
We used to be big fans of USAA, but they were absolutely terrible to work with when we refinanced our mortgage a couple of years ago, and we're now wrestling with them over the water damage from our water line break. We're not too far from pulling all of our insurance from them and going somewhere else.

SuperChief
10-07-2011, 05:43 PM
As someone who has sold and has seen the inner-workings of State Farm insurance in the past, I can honestly say that I would go with State Farm. I'll give you several reasons:

1. In the state of Kansas, there are three "forms" that Homeowner's Insurance can be written. Most insurance providers write Homeowner's that says something to the extent of "We'll cover you if this, this, this, or this happens." State Farm, on the other hand, uses the "broad form," meaning "We'll cover everything EXPECT for this, this, this, or this." The difference being State Farm offers a broader form of coverage in comparison to most others. I think Farm Bureau might also use this form.

2. With State Farm, if you insure your home to 100% of the estimated replacement cost (the cost calculated to replace your home in the event of a total loss,) they add an additional 20% on top of that. For example, if the estimated replacement cost of your home is $100,000, and you opt to cover your home at 100% of that, you'll actually get $120,000 in coverage (because of the added 20%)

3. From what I've seen and heard, this is pretty unique to State Farm: in the event of a total loss to your home, you can rebuild your home anywhere in the United States. It DOES NOT have to be on the same property or location where the total loss occurred. State Farm won't buy a piece of land for you somewhere else, but if you did have that land or bought some, you could have State Farm rebuild your home on that land. This might sound trivial, but think of an instance like Greensburg. Would you want to rebuild your home in a town that's been completely demolished and your job might not be anymore? I think not.

If you have any other State Farm questions, hit me up. These are just a few reasons why I, personally, would go with them.

chiefzilla1501
10-07-2011, 05:49 PM
Home Owners rates vary from state to state. All I can say is don't just shop on price. There are a bunch of scenarios where you're going to need that insurance and you're going to be pissed you skimped. I would go with a mix of which insurer gives you the best quote and which agent seems to be asking the most questions before preparing a quote.

And be aggressive about asking about discounts. Bundling with your auto coverage. Installing sprinklers, smoke alarms, security systems, etc.... Even find out if your university or any group belong to offers an affinity discount. These are all ways to save you money without sacrificing coverage.

Pawnmower
10-07-2011, 06:01 PM
I use USAA for our cars but they're $1000 a year more than our current insurance on the home side.

Holy crap man do you live in a tornado/hurricane zone or something?? I think my policy on a typical ($350kish) bay area California house is about $900 a year total..

I use state farm currently but like to shop it around every couple years....I have my cars, some life, several fire polices and an umbrella with them.

They've been decent so far. And competitive price wise...

alnorth
10-07-2011, 08:05 PM
I work as a casualty actuary for a huge insurance company, mostly homeowners pricing, so this niche is my odd specialty. Even I can't give someone a blanket statement that X is always cheaper than Y, not only do rates vary by state, they vary, sometimes greatly, by zip code.

In general: (in all cases this is for home insurance, I don't research auto as much)

Allstate tends to be very expensive for homeowners. Hartford can also sometimes be expensive.

State Farm and Safeco tend to be less segmented than most companies. What I mean by that is their rates tend to vary less person to person and place to place than most other insurance companies. In general, if you have no credit or if your credit is bad (except in CA, where rating by credit is illegal), these two (especially state farm) might win on price. State Farm's big thing is they have a gigantic tenure discount. If you stay with them for 10-15+ years, they start piling on the discounts because they have made the decision that they REALLY don't want to lose old customers, at all. However, State Farm also dings you pretty heavy for claims.

Nationwide/Allied and Travelers are highly aggressive in price segmentation. Their rates for a given risk can be wildly different from their competitors. Any time you quote them, there's a good chance that they will either give you a super-low jackpot rate or a super-high "wow, thats not even in the ballpark" rate. Because of that, if you are shopping on price, you should probably always quote Nationwide/Allied and Travelers just to see if your home is one that they like. Both of these insurance groups (again, except in CA) love people with good credit. Both of these insurance groups also tend to give big multi-policy discounts, so quote your car with them too.

However, that is just price. I have no idea on service or likelihood of paying claims without hassle compared to other companies, because I'm a corporate spreadsheet monkey. I don't answer phone calls from customers. However, even I know that USAA blows everyone out of the water on all the J. D. Powers awards. USAA is the gold standard for customer satisfaction in casualty insurance. If you qualify for USAA, and if their rates aren't too terribly high, you may want to stay with them.

alnorth
10-07-2011, 08:25 PM
Got no disagreement here, just a couple comments.

As someone who has sold and has seen the inner-workings of State Farm insurance in the past, I can honestly say that I would go with State Farm. I'll give you several reasons:

1. In the state of Kansas, there are three "forms" that Homeowner's Insurance can be written. Most insurance providers write Homeowner's that says something to the extent of "We'll cover you if this, this, this, or this happens." State Farm, on the other hand, uses the "broad form," meaning "We'll cover everything EXPECT for this, this, this, or this." The difference being State Farm offers a broader form of coverage in comparison to most others. I think Farm Bureau might also use this form.

Most insurance companies sell the broad form, but make all 3 available. However, I imagine some agents, especially if they know you are price shopping, might not bother explaining the advantages of the broad form and will just quote people for coverage on a named peril basis just to quote a cheaper rate and bind the customer. To State Farm's credit, I believe you are correct that they only sell the broad form.


2. With State Farm, if you insure your home to 100% of the estimated replacement cost (the cost calculated to replace your home in the event of a total loss,) they add an additional 20% on top of that. For example, if the estimated replacement cost of your home is $100,000, and you opt to cover your home at 100% of that, you'll actually get $120,000 in coverage (because of the added 20%)

I whole-heartedly agree with getting coverage for higher than 100% replacement cost. Unfortunately, a lot of customers insist on only getting insurance for what the home is worth rather than the replacement cost (and think the agent is trying to rip them off if they try to talk them into more coverage), much less actually buying more than replacement cost, so it can be tough, but getting 120%, 125%, (some even offer 150% or unlimited), etc dwelling replacement cost, if it costs anything extra, is dirt cheap.

The reason why you want it is for demand surge after a catastrophe. If your home burns down in a big town and a lot of out of work contractors are desperate for work, then sure maybe you wont need the extra coverage. However, if you have a Joplin situation where half the town suddenly needs to be rebuilt then the laws of supply and demand kick in, and what would have normally cost you $X to rebuild the home, now suddenly costs more than $X, unless you are willing to wait a while. People with the extra 120%+ replacement cost coverage get their homes rebuilt first.

Sometimes it doesn't take a major disaster. If the insurance company just flat-out blew it and guessed way too low on how much it would cost to rebuild the home, guess who gets stuck with the difference?

ThatRaceCardGuy
10-07-2011, 09:20 PM
I sold insurance, and I work in the claims department for a major insurance company. Some insurance companies offer different endorsements, but they all cover pretty much cover the same basic perils. Most prices will be relatively the same , the real difference comes after you file a claim. The claims service is what separates insurance company A from insurance company B...do some consumer research regarding how companies handle claims , along with pricing.

RedandGold
10-07-2011, 09:24 PM
As someone who lost his home in the Joplin tornado, and has had friends and neighbors go through the same, State Farm and American Family are the two companies that really stepped up down here. The people that I know with Shelter have had a terrible time dealing with them, and they all plan on switching after everything is settled.

We have AAA for our home, and they have been more than fair even though it took a while to get the contents settled. We also have State Farm for our Auto Insurance, and they have been oustanding. If AAA hadn't taken care of us after the tornado, we would have taken on the extra cost and switch the homeowners to State Farm as well.

chiefzilla1501
10-07-2011, 09:27 PM
As someone who lost his home in the Joplin tornado, and has had friends and neighbors go through the same, State Farm and American Family are the two companies that really stepped up down here. The people that I know with Shelter have had a terrible time dealing with them, and they all plan on switching after everything is settled.

We have AAA for our home, and they have been more than fair even though it took a while to get the contents settled. We also have State Farm for our Auto Insurance, and they have been oustanding. If AAA hadn't taken care of us after the tornado, we would have taken on the extra cost and switch the homeowners to State Farm as well.

A good point. Look up the AM Best financial rating of the insurers you're looking into. Especially for homeowners. I believe there are several smaller insurers that are struggling to keep their promises after the recent string of disasters. You want to know your insurer has the financial strength to be prepared for the absolute worst.

alnorth
10-07-2011, 09:42 PM
A good point. Look up the AM Best financial rating of the insurers you're looking into. Especially for homeowners. I believe there are several smaller insurers that are struggling to keep their promises after the recent string of disasters. You want to know your insurer has the financial strength to be prepared for the absolute worst.

well, this may sound odd, but you probably don't really need to check AM Best ratings unless you are in Florida or if you get insurance from some obscure company that you have never heard of before. Every major insurance company is A or stronger. Many are A+. If it is A rated, you are good.

If you live in Florida and want hurricane insurance, you will probably not be able to insure your home with an A rated insurer, or even a B+ insurer (unless you are grandfathered in to a big insurance company that has closed itself to new business). In Florida, at least try to find someone with a B- rating.

alnorth
10-07-2011, 10:00 PM
I'm bored, so I'll look most of the big home insurance companies up now. Keep in mind that an A rating is good enough to pay out claims even for a year that is the worst hurricane/earthquake/storms/snow/wildfire combined year in modern american history, anything higher is essentially for bragging rights. An A++ company might get wiped out by a freakish one in 100,000 year type of biblical disaster.

A.M. Best rating (not including Florida subsidiaries if they have one).

Company - rating (outlook, which basically means probability of a one-notch downgrade next year)

Shelter - A (stable)
Nationwide/Allied - A+ (negative)
Travelers - A+ (stable)
State Farm - A++ (stable)
USAA - A++ (stable)
Safeco - A (stable)
Allstate - A+ (stable)
Hartford - A (stable)
American Family - A (negative) (huh, didn't think I'd see this, one big insurer might slip into A-, which is still pretty good)
Liberty Mutual - A (stable)
Chubb - A++ (stable)

Rukdafaidas
10-07-2011, 10:07 PM
As someone who lost his home in the Joplin tornado, and has had friends and neighbors go through the same, State Farm and American Family are the two companies that really stepped up down here. The people that I know with Shelter have had a terrible time dealing with them, and they all plan on switching after everything is settled.

We have AAA for our home, and they have been more than fair even though it took a while to get the contents settled. We also have State Farm for our Auto Insurance, and they have been oustanding. If AAA hadn't taken care of us after the tornado, we would have taken on the extra cost and switch the homeowners to State Farm as well.

I live in Joplin as well. We didn't have any claims from the tornado, but know a few that did. My sister-in-law has had some problems with State Farm. They have asked that she itemize everything that was in her house, down to the spices in her cabinet. After working her tail off to complete all of the forms, they came back and offered half of the amount that she was insured for to deduct for depreciation. After 4 months of negotiations and hiring an attorney, they came to an agreement.
Meanwhile, a good friend of mine that lived next to the high school had his insurance adjuster come out days after the tornado and wrote him a check for the maximum coverage...pretty much no questions asked, no itemization, nothing. My friend was thrilled at the check amount. He had American Family and said he would never switch.
I currently have State Farm and I'm thinking about switching to American Family after all of this. The people around here are definitely learning about insurance coverage.

SLAG
10-07-2011, 11:30 PM
I have Shelter and when I lived in JOCO I had my home owners with them (now I rent the house and its not full homeowners but covers the house but not my tenants stuff from what I understand) and I still do.

They replaced my roof when I asked them to come check out the gutters and were very helpful and worked with me quite a bit when a pipe burst in my house last winter.

I have them for my auto as well even after I moved to IL.

My dad has had them as long as I can remember and my grandparents too.

check em out

Mojo Rising
10-08-2011, 12:53 AM
We used to be big fans of USAA, but they were absolutely terrible to work with when we refinanced our mortgage a couple of years ago, and we're now wrestling with them over the water damage from our water line break. We're not too far from pulling all of our insurance from them and going somewhere else.

My comment to you regarding the refi is that insurance companies are good at insurance, banks are good for lending, investment companies are good for investing.

The Glass Steagall act allowed companies to cross sell and offer all services for a convenient one stop shop of financial needs. I dont know if it offered that?

I lived in my first house for almost 10 years that was built in '29 in SF. I only filed 1 minor claim. I have lived in my fiberboard house in OC for 2 years and have 2 major claims and they have exceded my expectations in all cases.

IA_Chiefs_fan
10-08-2011, 08:06 AM
We had a house fire a year ago.

STATE FARM was amazing!

They have a customer for life. They treated us with respect, made sure we had everything we needed, and never once even thought about playing hardball. I was ready to "do battle" with the insurance company, but that was not needed in the slightest.

We actually switched to State Farm to save money. Now I would pay twice as much to keep them. There were a lot of people at State Farm who genuinely cared and took care of us. My wife and I were able to spend time with the kids through a fairly rough period because State Farm took care of everything for us.

STATE FARM

Earthling
10-08-2011, 12:48 PM
I pay slightly more for USAA and it is worth it. I filed 2 claims in the last couple of years and their service is excellent.

Did your rates go up after the claims? Just curious as I had $750 damage to a neighbors yard/small trees/ irrigation pump earlier this year. Our deductible was $500 so I figured that instead of making a claim and saving $250 I just paid out of pocket to keep our policy un-marred by any claims.

Old Dog
10-08-2011, 02:05 PM
Did your rates go up after the claims? Just curious as I had $750 damage to a neighbors yard/small trees/ irrigation pump earlier this year. Our deductible was $500 so I figured that instead of making a claim and saving $250 I just paid out of pocket to keep our policy un-marred by any claims.

Can't speak for him, but mine didn't go up.

RedandGold
10-08-2011, 03:04 PM
I live in Joplin as well. We didn't have any claims from the tornado, but know a few that did. My sister-in-law has had some problems with State Farm. They have asked that she itemize everything that was in her house, down to the spices in her cabinet. After working her tail off to complete all of the forms, they came back and offered half of the amount that she was insured for to deduct for depreciation. After 4 months of negotiations and hiring an attorney, they came to an agreement.
Meanwhile, a good friend of mine that lived next to the high school had his insurance adjuster come out days after the tornado and wrote him a check for the maximum coverage...pretty much no questions asked, no itemization, nothing. My friend was thrilled at the check amount. He had American Family and said he would never switch.
I currently have State Farm and I'm thinking about switching to American Family after all of this. The people around here are definitely learning about insurance coverage.

We had to go through the itemized contents list as well, and even though it was a complete pain, AAA gave us a fair depreciated value (roughly 80% of limit). They outsourced the contents costing to a company out in California, and they have been VERY slow to process the replacement reimbursement. The people that we knew with Shelter were getting offered less than 50%, and most people that we knew had to itemize their contents as well.

The ones with State Farm and American Family that had a total loss received checks for their limits within days after the adjuster looked at the property, and that was why I made the statement that I did. With the way the housing market got ridiculous, the people that received the limit checks up front were able to get in to some decent places, and by the time we were in a position to make a serious move, the value was gone.

We're finally in the process of rebuilding, and for the way the market in Joplin is now, we would have to pay a minimum of 20% more to get into the same house in a location we liked less.

jiveturkey
10-08-2011, 04:06 PM
Holy crap man do you live in a tornado/hurricane zone or something?? I think my policy on a typical ($350kish) bay area California house is about $900 a year total..

I use state farm currently but like to shop it around every couple years....I have my cars, some life, several fire polices and an umbrella with them.

They've been decent so far. And competitive price wise...I'm paying $1400/year now in Overland Park. USAA is $2400/year.

Again price isn't the main sticking point for me. I want a good balance of price and quality. I'm guessing that there's some middle ground and I'm just going to have to shop around and find that balance.

There's been a lot of useful information in this thread already.

Earthling
10-08-2011, 04:28 PM
Can't speak for him, but mine didn't go up.

Cool. :thumb:

R8RFAN
10-08-2011, 04:44 PM
Does anyone have any good recommendations for home owners insurance?

I use USAA for our cars but they're $1000 a year more than our current insurance on the home side. It's still something I'm willing to consider though. We've been with the cheapest for a while (SafeCo) and I'm slowly realizing that cheap isn't the way to go.


If you are in Kansas that would be Mobile Home Insurance wouldn't it?

Pawnmower
10-08-2011, 06:06 PM
I'm paying $1400/year now in Overland Park. USAA is $2400/year.


Ouch...

I guess thats because there is more storm damage there and earthquake damage is not included in standard HO policies in california. I guess If I added EQ coverage it would probly be about that much....

I guess its a needed thing though...

Good luck with your search...seems like you are being thorough about it and so you will end up happy.

Mojo Rising
10-08-2011, 08:55 PM
Did your rates go up after the claims? Just curious as I had $750 damage to a neighbors yard/small trees/ irrigation pump earlier this year. Our deductible was $500 so I figured that instead of making a claim and saving $250 I just paid out of pocket to keep our policy un-marred by any claims.

Don't know yet, policy comes due in February. One thing I read recently that was very timely is that when you impound your HOI you are usually not aware that they raise your rates. The notice is sent to your mortgage servicer and you pay a little more each month and aren't sure why. It is on my calendar to call and inquire in January.

markd2000
10-08-2011, 11:28 PM
Do yourselves a big favor and ask for a rate quote from Electric Insurance Co, owned by GE. If you combine with auto, rates are very competitive and service is top notch. When I mention EIC to insurance brokers who try to sell me, their response is oh... Quoted a car for my daughter on Allstate and their quote was double EIC's. Good luck.

hometeam
10-08-2011, 11:57 PM
I use Missouri Farm Bureau, I would think that kfb would be along the same lines.

I am paying about half of the next closest bid, which was state farm.