Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Other Insurance Issues

This post is about the other insurance problem -- not health, but homeowners and automobile insurance. And I'm almost as disgruntled about the latter as I am with the former.

In 2005, I paid Travelers $1,180 annually for homeowners insurance. In 2006 I probably got an offer letter from Allstate with a sweet deal. That was the year I switched to Allstate for $786 annually. And despite the fact that I have never filed a claim, even when I had flood damage in 2007 requiring carpets to be ripped out of two rooms and replaced, I've seen my insurance rate climb to $818 in 2007, $872 in 2008, and now $961 for 2009-2010.

I recently received an unsolicited letter from Farmers with a quote of $444 for homeowners insurance. Their limit for dwelling is $224,000 compared with $269,000 with Allstate. However, the liability coverage is $500,000 vs. $300,000 with Allstate. It will be interesting to see if I can get equal coverage for not much more than $444 per month. And I will be asking them about packaging in automobile insurance as well.

I switched our auto insurance from Travelers to Allstate at the same time I moved our homeowners policy.

Travelers charged $1,866 per year for two vehicles. Allstate was around $1,400. That quickly rose to $1,600 and I then took steps to lower the premium by making adjustments to the coverage. There are no lienholders on either vehicle. One is 13 years old and the other is 6 years old. We have never filed a claim on either vehicle and we do not commute to work. In fact, one vehicle (the older one) is probably driven less than 1,000 miles a year when I happen to be out of town, or when I need to drive it to keep the fuel from getting old, and to keep the battery charged.

The insurance for the most recent year, 2008-2009 was already up to $1,700 and for the first six months of the 2009-2019 year it's coming in at $798 which translates to about $1,600 for the year if that rate holds for the 2nd six months. We are in a "good driver" program where we get a kickback in rate for a good driving record so that might be why the rate seems to have dropped.

The biggest source of my irritation is that I feel as though I constantly need to be shopping around for a better deal instead of feeling secure in the feeling that I'm being treated fairly as a loyal customer with one insurance company. Perhaps that is the game. They keep raising the rates until you notice; it's money in the pocket for them.

Is anyone else going through this run-around? Would love to hear your stories, especially regarding Farmers. And this is a prime example of why we need health care reform. It's bad enough having to deal with this for homeowners and automobile insurance. For those who select their own private health insurance, it just adds one more layer of hassle few of us have time to deal with these days. But my employer has to deal with it. Hardly a year goes by when we don't switch and the paperwork madness begins again.

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