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Old 11-28-2012, 07:54 PM
189 posts, read 386,063 times
Reputation: 68


We are finally moved back into the area. Now we are getting close to our closing date and the homeowners insurance rates are coming in. Who is a good company here for Homeowners? I have the best quote from Safeco thus far but I am not sure on how they are. I currently have USAA but the rates are going to be very high here compared to NC. I was paying around $450 per year there and USAA wants $1300 here for the same coverage on a less expensive house! Any advice on who to use or get quotes from? I have also gotten a quote from American Family and they are HIGH on the auto's! I want to do a package deal house and auto.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:29 PM
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,358,349 times
Reputation: 1919
Take a look at Nationwide. They are an Ohio company and a mutual company (no stockholders). Many years ago we switched our homeowners and auto insurance from Metropolitan to them. Maybe not the cheapest but very effective, any claim we have had has been promptly and efficiently taken care of, no complaints.

As we have aged, we put very few miles on our vehicles. We currently have a 1999 Dodge wheelchair conversion mini-van and a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis sedan. The Dodge has 70,000 miles on it and the Mercury less than 50,000. I intend to drive both of them several more years.

But I also realize due to age the blue book value is low. So several years ago I dropped the collision coverage on both of them. I realized the cost of collision coverage does not go down in proportion to the reduced value of the vehicle. Why is that, ask your insurance agent? But at any significant collision they would declare the vehicle a total and give me the blue book value minus the deductible. When I equated it to an annual cost per year per thousand of value it was very expensive insurance. So I carry nothing but liability on the vehicles.

For the homeowners I require them to give me a statement saying I am insured for replacement cost. Also, there are clauses as to covering costs of living through reconstruction, etc. I totally anticipate if a tornado roared through here tomorrow and totally demolished the house, the first call I would make would be to a lawyer, not the insurance agent. But there are certain things you want to see in the homeowners policy. Phrases such as insured for total replacement cost, includes any costs for demolition and site preparation for reconstruction, includes a cost of living stipulation for housing during the reconstruction period.

Several years ago I had a family relative whose house was demolished by a tornado down in the Blue Ash area, east of I-71. Fortunately none of them were injured. But the house was a very old house, one of the original farmhouses in the area built on a stone footer. In addition to the house my relative had a large panel truck parked alongside the house which effectively housed all of the equipment for his traveling business. It was also demolished.

The insurance company was very fair. Obviously reconstructing a couple of hundred years old farmhouse on a rock footer is not practical. But the old farmhouse and its large rooms was perfectly suitable for my relative's family until the tornado leveled it. The insurance company agreed to build a much more modern house on the same property which would be suitable for their needs.

Prior to the house reconstruction, they made an agreement on his work truck which had been demolished plus the equipment it contained. This was easier to replace, buy a new truck and the equipment. The amazing part is they did not even attempt to nickel and dime over reduced value due to depreciation, etc. They just plain replaced it. So he was back in business even while living in a motel while the house was being rebuilt.

He will be the first one to tell you my insurance company saved us. They not only saved and rebuilt our house they saved and rebuilt my business. I should remember but do not remember who the insurance company was.

So I remember my dad's saying insurance is nothing but an outgo until you need it. When you need it there will be either a payoff or you will realize you have been had for many years. One of the few times in life you can say how smart you are or crawl away into the bush.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:25 AM
2,886 posts, read 3,949,834 times
Reputation: 1499
My husband and I have been happy with Liberty Mutual, although we have not had an auto claim and have had only one claim on our home. We didn't even have visible damage to our roof from the hurricane a few years ago, but a friend suggested we have it inspected anyway. Liberty Mutual sent an adjuster promptly, and without any prodding from us or dispute on price, paid for a replacement roof. The roof was 15 years old, we have a replacement cost policy, and we essentially recouped everything we had paid in premiums over the 10 years we owned the home.

Over the years, the automatic adjustments on the insured value of our property had been creeping up to the point we thought we were over-insured. A simple phone call was all it took to adjust the coverage and premiums down.

Liberty Mutual does offer discounts for multiple policies.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:16 PM
Location: Philaburbia
31,164 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52030
I've been with Erie Insurance my whole life. The rates are competitive and the service is first-rate.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:56 PM
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,358,349 times
Reputation: 1919
I feel a number of insurance companies are quite reputable. I prefer a mutual company since it is literally owned by its policyholders, not separate stockholders. But there is still the question of who is in charge of the major decisions for the company. Obviously we policy holders are not.

As I stated earlier, the proof in the pudding is when you need them and hopefully you never will for a major loss. Unfortunately it is not until you need them when you find out how wisely you have spent your money or not.

Some basic things to watch out for.

Homeowners insurance - you want to see statements such as fully insured for replacement value. In addition you want statements such as demolition of destroyed property and site preparation costs for replacement included. Also, costs for temporary housing while home reconstructed included. There any many circumstances when some of this must be described custom, not just a blanket statement.

For example, a very old property purchased and rehabbed for living. Insuring that for replacement cost may be totally idiotic, you simply cannot afford it, let alone the fact it cannot be replaced today. You need a specific clause identifying this fact and what the insurance coverage is. But be careful that it is explicitly stated the difference between a total and a partial loss. Otherwise something like a kitchen fire and they can declare a total loss. Also be careful as to who has the salvage rights to the property. If they declare a total loss do they get rights to the property? I woild definitely say no to this.

Another factor is the insurance for content. I remember one specific incident in Clifton where the family purchased an old, but large 3-story frame house. It was on a large lot and suited their purpose. They then proceeded to fill the entire house with priceless heirloom antiques. The wife's fur coat collection alone exceeded the value of my house.

My father bid on painting the exterior of the house, but he said he would not do the south side as the siding was dry-rotted. He recommended a carpenter to replace the siding. The owner of course did not like this kind of expense. So he contracted another painter to remove the existing paint from the south side using what was callled a torch. He further made the mistake of not confirming this business had sufficient liability insurance. One night we were watching the nightly news and saw the entire house going up in flames. The other painter was of course responsible for burning down the house since as a professional? he should have known better than to ever put a torch on that siding. But in addition, he was woefully under-insured.

The owner's homeowners policy paid only a fraction of the cost to purchase another house of the same size and age. Forget rebuilding, not even close to that. In addition the expensive antiques, furs, etc. which had not been declared separately were a total loss. Quite frankly the owners lost their collective shirt.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:24 AM
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,725,886 times
Reputation: 2058
Cincinnati insurance company is supposedly one of the best ones around -- Cincinnati Financial Corporation: Home, Auto, Business, Life Insurance -- but not the cheapest
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:21 PM
Location: OH
688 posts, read 862,989 times
Reputation: 364
I'll contribute this little anecdote as a tidbit of information when choosing a homeowner's policy. A former colleague, who ironically now works at Nationwide, had his house burn down as a result of a faulty dryer. He had All State or State Farm at the time (one of the big boys with 'state' in the name). His claim was denied because the insurance provider accused his family of arson, despite no legal case being filed by law enforcement, citing a pile of clothes near the dryer on the floor in the laundry room (isn't that where you'd expect to find them?). He sued and recouped some of the value but some technicality resulted in only partial payment. During the legal proceedings his attorney who had been involved with hundred of insurance cases said two companies are known in the profession for being generous with their claims payouts - Nationwide and Erie.

I've been told by countless friends and coworkers that Nationwide is rarely the cheapest but this one former colleague who works at Nationwide swears that if you need to file a claim they won't be the ones giving you flak like some other insurance companies.

Something to keep in mind.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:37 AM
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,358,349 times
Reputation: 1919
In the event of a true disaster the homeowner's policy is definitely the more critical. I have not had the disaster, but from what I read Nationwide is very reasonable in their settlements.

Car insurance appears to be the epitome of how to get shafted. I can't believe the number of TV commercials on cut-rate car insurance.

I do believe in getting homeowners and car insurance from the same company. They will give you a break on the combined policies.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:38 AM
Location: Philaburbia
31,164 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52030
I've never filed a homeowner's claim with Erie -- and hope I never have to -- but I've had mixed interactions with them over auto claims. Sometimes the process has been smooth and easy, other times I've had to cajole them a little into seeing things my way.

The occasions when my parents have filed homeowner's claims (fire, tornado ... little things ), they've never had a problem with filing, repairs, or repair costs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:30 PM
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 2,222,089 times
Reputation: 893
State Farm...

The premiums are about 30%-40% higher than the estimates that Nationwide keeps periodically mailing us. But we had some wind damage on our roof (according to our contractor) - a few shingles were bent upward, breaking the adhesive seal between the top layer and the courses below it and potentially allowing water through. State Farm paid most of the roof replacement, less about $1000 for depreciation - and to my best knowledge the old roof job was 16+ years old. (!) That was a $5K claim.

Also I've hit deer twice - they paid right up - and once for a chipped windshield from driving !@&( I-95 in Rhode Island.

They've treated *us* right but I have read anecdotal horror stories about them, too. Due to loyalty I am keeping my policies with them for the time being.

YMMV, etc etc.
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