We recently received the renewal policy declarations for our homeowners insurance from Allstate. The premium is a 48% increase! Seriously. With a zero claim history, unchanged coverage, and a positive payment history. Are you kidding me?!
A call to the agent proved fruitless. First, given my policy number, they still got me mixed up with someone else with my name. Then, when I asked if this high jump was across the board, I was told no. “Let’s look at it. Oh, yes, that’s correct! We don’t set the rates; “they” restructured the policies last year. But if you moved your auto insurance policy over to us, you could get a big discount, about 15%.” That isn’t going to happen, because their auto rates are twice as much as our current coverage elsewhere. And it wouldn’t make a big enough dent to keep me. I asked how else we might adjust our coverage to bring the premium down, and was told, “There’s not much you can do.” Really? That agent clearly did not want my business, so I will gladly take it elsewhere.
So I did some research (as I am prone to do). I started with a call to USAA. We have our auto insurance there, and used to have homeowners insurance there, as well. Why we made the change is a long story, but the short version is that they made some bad-for-us decisions in adjusting their coverage offerings, so when we refinanced, we switched. A couple of years ago, they made some really good changes, including in customer service, I’ve discovered. (Note that USAA reps do not get commission.) As I knew, there are always ways to reduce premium by changing coverage (deductibles, riders, etc.). I am able to get better coverage, for only $25 more than what we paid last year. And, if we increase the deductible, we can lower it 35%. I wonder what other rates I can get to compare? More research to be done!
But I was starkly reminded by the USAA rep why policy review is so important. In the past, whichever insurance company we used at whichever home we owned, coverage for computers was usually at an extra premium, on a rider or endorsement. Now, companies typically include computers as personal property items, and theft or peril loss is covered (less deductible). We don’t need no stinkin’ rider! Not only that, but with the boys older now, breakage and risk of loss are less, so we might do better with a higher deductible. We don’t make pittly claims, so it would be a major loss, anyway, if we did make a claim. Something to think about.
If you pay home insurance through escrow to your mortgage company, you don’t want to be switching insurance companies often. It isn’t worth it, imho, for payments to be sent to the wrong company because of notice timing, etc. But if, like us, you make your own payments, reviewing carriers every few years can be a good thing. A reputable carrier will notify your mortgage carrier of new coverage before the old carrier is even aware that you stopped paying premiums at renewal.