Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

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oaktownesq
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:54 am

Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by oaktownesq » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:43 pm

I'm in escrow on a new home in the Oakland, CA hills, and unfortunately, being in a fire zone, I seem to be limited to two insurers: Travelers and Hartford. My current insurer, Amica, who I heart like a lot of people on this board, won't write the policy. I'm looking to combine home, auto, umbrella, and (maybe) earthquake.

Complicating matters is that the local broker (the same guy does both insurers) tells me he can't give me the policy language for the umbrella policy until I purchase the policy / he "writes" the policy. Is this normal? Is this standard?

I don't care so much about the language on the home and auto insurance, because I understand so much of it is standardized, but I see a lot of posts on this board about how umbrella language can vary widely, and to be sure to read the fine print of any umbrella policy to understand how/what/when/why it kicks in.

With a short escrow, I seem to be getting jammed here, but I just can't believe an insurance company can refuse to tell you what exactly they're insuring until *after* you execute a new policy with them. Is that how it works though? Thanks for any thoughts!

boglerdude
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by boglerdude » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:53 am

There was a thread on this but I cant find. Anyway, your agent should be able to explain coverage sufficiently. When you get the policy read the fine print and if he was wrong get rid of him :happy

Most umbrellas are excess liability and only cover risks that are also covered by the underlying policies

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snackdog
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by snackdog » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:50 am

Sounds like his underwriters will reserve the right to customize the language. Ask him to redact details but provide you with a copy of the language on any other recent Oakland umbrella he has written with the understanding yours will be probably different. Alternatively, get him to agree that the umbrella can be canceled if you don't like the language. Don't feel pressured - you don't need umbrella Day 1 in order to close.

gokartmozart
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by gokartmozart » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:17 am

Here's a previous thread on this topic. viewtopic.php?t=270031

I was able to work around the insurer's refusal by going to my state insurance commissioner's website. In my state, insurers are required to file policy terms with the commissioner's office (and get approval for those terms). The website makes the policy terms public. Your state might be similar.

I was left with the feeling that I could not be absolutely 100% sure that what I was reading on the website would be word-for-word exactly the policy I would get but it did give me an idea of what the insurer liked to include and exclude in its terms.

123
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by 123 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:24 am

You have the power of the purse. If the umbrella coverage policy you receive is not to your liking you generally will have the right to cancel it, as well as the other policies, and receive back all the "unearned" premium. Before canceling you should have alternative coverage in place.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

rantk81
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by rantk81 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:28 am

Last year I was interested in an Umbrella policy. I went to my Allstate agent, and they told me that they use a third party for Umbrella Insurance for people in my situation (e.g. I have no car, so no separate auto policy.) I signed up for the policy. But when I received the whole policy document in the mail, the list of exclusions was ridiculous. I couldn't think of a situation under which the policy would pay for anything really. I emailed the agent about it and told them I didn't accept that policy and wasn't going to make the premium payment. They cancelled the policy, and I never ended up owing anything for the premium.

BogleMelon
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by BogleMelon » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:51 am

rantk81 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:28 am
Last year I was interested in an Umbrella policy. I went to my Allstate agent, and they told me that they use a third party for Umbrella Insurance for people in my situation (e.g. I have no car, so no separate auto policy.) I signed up for the policy. But when I received the whole policy document in the mail, the list of exclusions was ridiculous. I couldn't think of a situation under which the policy would pay for anything really. I emailed the agent about it and told them I didn't accept that policy and wasn't going to make the premium payment. They cancelled the policy, and I never ended up owing anything for the premium.
Almost my story except I have cars but a renter. Geico exception list was ridiculous as well, so I canceled it right after paying the premium and got the full premium refunded
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

Topic Author
oaktownesq
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Re: Umbrella Insurance: Refusal to Disclose Language Before Writing?

Post by oaktownesq » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:59 pm

I appreciate all the replies. Sounds like the best option was to just execute the policy and review the umbrella immediately, canceling if need be.

Turns out it worked out a little better though. Despite hearing repeatedly that only Hartford and Travelers did Oakland hills anymore, I called USAA at a relative's suggestion and: BOOM. Cheaper, more comprehensive, more options on the earthquake, wonderful customer service, docs I needed, etc. And given the shower of love for USAA on this board (second maybe only to Amica if I recall correctly), I feel a lot better with them.

Interestingly, the rep's first comment was, "So you're calling cause your current insurer non-renewed you right?" So it's a definite trend out there post-fire in CA that everyone is scrambling, but hopefully USAA sticks with it.

Thanks again all.

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