Homeowner insurance coverage

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bankerbilo
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Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by bankerbilo » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:48 pm

My first post here, be easy :)

Purchased a brand new home 5 years ago at around 1M. This is in Silicon Valley and mortgaged at 80%. Current value of the home is around 1.5M. Structure has around 2000 square feet and has two floors.

I was reviving my coverage and wonder if I need some items. Here is the coverage details:
SECTION I:
Dwelling $694k --> I think this is reasonable; replacement cost of the house
Dwelling Extension $69k --> We don't have anything that needs to be covered by insurance outside the house. Nothing worth 69k. I need to check but fence is covered by HOA.
Personal Property $520k --> This seems excessive. I don't have anything that cost that much in the house. Furniture, computers etc. should cost less than $10k
Loss of use: Actual loss sustained --> what does this mean?
(Deductible is $3470)

SECTION II:
Personal liability $100k --> I read that 1/3 of the claims was due to dog bites. We don't have any pets. I also don't think any of our guests will sue us:)
Damage to property of others $500
Medical payment to others $1000

PREMIUM:
$603 / year. Statefarm.

REDUCTIONS:
Utility rating credit, Sprinkler, Home/Auto, Claim record*
Had no claim in the last 5 years.

My Question:
1) Do I need the "Dwelling Extension" coverage?
2) Do I need to "Personal Property" to be that high?

Thank you all.

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:40 pm

As a general rule (and I am pretty sure SnakeFarm observes this) the "dwelling extension" coverage is just an automatic percentage of the actual dwelling replacement coverage; IOW, it isn't anything that costs extra on your premium. All of the H.O. policies I can recall I have had used that same 10% figure. Now, in the case of people who did have expensive and elaborate outdoor features they would want to INCREASE that coverage.

As for the contents, again, that is usually expressed as a percentage of the overall dwelling value; however, in your case, it sounds on the high side. Maybe a California thing?

As far as the $100,000 liability - SnakeFarm is famous for that lowball figure here in the East. Years ago, that may have been adequate, but not these days. And, it really doesn't have anything to do with dogs, swimming pools, or trampolines.
Those kind of risks are addressed separately at time of underwriting.

In my recent experience, (having switched HO 3 times in last 4 years, $300K is now the gold standard for liability for either HO3 or HO5 policies written. In fact, the last switch I made (from Cincinnati to Brethren) I received $500K liability coverage at no additional cost So, check around, but if I were you, I would definitely up that liability.

Do you have kids? That can be an almost bigger risk than dogs. (Neighbor's kid is injured somehow while playing in/outside your house, plastic surgeon fees for his face are $70,000, other medical is $15,000, parents claim you were negligent and want $50,000 in damages for pain and suffering, and so on)

Loss of use is what they will pay to put you up at temporary lodgings if your house is damaged so badly it is not habitable while under repairs. Again, it is pretty much a standard clause, not sure if negotiable, but you could certainly ask your agent if you feel it is too low for your area.

FWIW - personally, think you are getting a bargain here for $603 (except for being under-insured on personal liability). I had SnakeFarm HO for over 20 years, never had a claim, got the usual discounts for bundling auto, high credit score, smoke detectors, no smokers, less than 100 feet from hydrant, etc. Yet - at last renewal they wanted nearly $450 a year to insure my house which was approx. one-fourth the value of your house. That is why I dropped them in a hurry and switched.

onedayer
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by onedayer » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:13 pm

I would recommend checking with your agent, but I don’t believe State Farm allows the Dwelling Extension or Loss of Use coverages to be altered. The Dwelling Extension is a standard 10% of the Dwelling Limit, and Loss of Use is “actual loss sustained” up to 24 months. Even if you could change them it probably wouldn’t have a significant impact on the premium.

Your current Personal Property limit appears to be 75% of the Dwelling Limit. No one can really determine how much Personal Property coverage you need except you, but I will tell you that people tend to underestimate the amount of stuff they have in their home. If you ultimately decide you don’t need this much coverage, your agent should be able to reduce the limit to 50-60% which is the most common amount.

Your current limits for Personal Liability & Medical Payments are both severely low. I would carry no less than $300K/$5K, but $500K or $1MM for Personal Liability would be even better. It shouldn’t cost but about $30-40/year to increase liability from $100K to $500K. Another concern of mine would be that your agent gave you these limits in the first place. In my opinion, an insurance agent who gives their customers the minimum liability limits on home or auto policies may not have their customers’ best interests in mind.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:45 pm

You are under-insured on liability - severely so. You own a $1.5M home in Silicon Valley. I'm assuming you make a decent income, let's say its $200K. Now, someone is walking by your home and trips on your sidewalk (assuming you have one), hurts their back, they can't work, they hire an attorney who makes a claim on your insurance for $500K. Knowing you only have $100K in liability, they sue you in court and the court finds for plaintiff. You'd better have an umbrella policy or be sufficiently liquid to pay the claim, otherwise, they can put a lien on your home for the difference of $500K - $100K or $400K and/or garnish your wages (not kidding).

What is a $100K today? In a litigious society, nothing. Look into boosting that liability limit, $500K sounds more reasonable and look into getting an umbrella policy. You may think paying $1-$2K is alot of money, go hire a lawyer and see how much it really costs. That is a cheap price to pay for offloading your risk onto the insurance company. I do not work for the insurance industry. Whomever sold you that policy with such a low liability limit, did you a disservice.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:55 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:45 pm
......is walking by your home and trips on your sidewalk........... Whomever sold you that policy with such a low liability limit, did you a disservice.
Yes.
And I neglected to mention in my previous post that the visiting kid who got hurt and needed plastic surgery: That $70,000 in fees was only for the initial work at time of unfortunate accident. Kid will need follow-up procedures projected for the next 10 years to correct face, judge approves $250,000 award to cover that contingency.

Momus
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by Momus » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:02 pm

100k liability is way too low...

A simple dog bite to the face can run you in $150k up to 2M... Not kidding... Most lawyers will sue and multiple medical costs incurred by 6-7x. A simple face reconstruction surgery (couple stitches) costs 30k, sue for 200k+... That's the common practice. If it's a bad injury, prepare to fork out $500k.

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bankerbilo
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by bankerbilo » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:08 pm

Thanks drawpoker, onedayer and Grt2bOutdoos for replaying! Lots of valuable information, especially on the liability. I will call my agent to increase liability and reduce the personal properly.

To your questions, my income figure is about right and I have 3 kids.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:09 pm

Momus wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:02 pm
100k liability is way too low...

A simple dog bite to the face can run you in $150k up to 2M... Not kidding... Most lawyers will sue and multiple medical costs incurred by 6-7x. A simple face reconstruction surgery (couple stitches) costs 30k, sue for 200k+... That's the common practice. If it's a bad injury, prepare to fork out $500k.
That dog, it was a stray! :twisted: A lawsuit does not guarantee anything except some sleepless nights if you don't have the right protection in place, that's all.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:11 pm

bankerbilo wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:08 pm
Thanks drawpoker, onedayer and Grt2bOutdoos for replaying! Lots of valuable information, especially on the liability. I will call my agent to increase liability and reduce the personal properly.

To your questions, my income figure is about right and I have 3 kids.
If your kids are of driving age, umbrella policy is highly recommended.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm

bankerbilo wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:08 pm
Thanks drawpoker, onedayer and Grt2bOutdoos for replaying! Lots of valuable information, especially on the liability. I will call my agent to increase liability and reduce the personal properly.
Good moves. Before we leave this thread, however, I should caution you about SnakeFarm and their practices. Since you wrote you have been with them for 5 years now you are getting dangerously close to that 6-9 year level where they will pull "price optimization" on you. (Unless your Calif Attorney General's Office has finally put a stop to it (?)

In case you aren't familiar - this is what SnakeFarm (and a few others) does when they cull thru their lists of longtime customers. Using data mining, they focus on identifying those policy-holders who are judged to be "least likely" to resist a big jump in premium. The data they farm is everything from supermarket loyalty cards (hey, this person is still buying a lot of filet mignon and lobster!) to public utility records (this chump still has a landline, and, oh boy, they still have cable when DirecTV has been offering sweet deals)
Compiling a profile "score" for this customer, they then evaluate this person as someone who can be lulled into believing they are somehow still receiving the longtime SnakeFarm customer discount. Despite the hefty hike in premium.

(Do some Googling, when you have time, to really bone up on this unsavory and predatory practice among insurers. So you will know to be suspicious of any large premium increase when there is no apparent reason)

When SnakeFarm did this to me in 2015, I don't know which made me madder - that they thought I was an easy mark, a pushover, a real dumb axhole. Or, when my local agent flat out lied to me and stated, "oh, no, we don't do that price optimization thing, that's what the others do".

When I confronted him later with the evidence, oh, then he changed it to "well, yes, there is some predictive modeling used in setting premiums"
Guess what 5 different state attorney generals in the U.S. give as definition of "predictive modeling"?
Synonym for "price optimization" , that's what.

So, watch out at renewal time. They have richly earned the name of SnakeFarm Insurance.

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bankerbilo
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by bankerbilo » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:51 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:11 pm

If your kids are of driving age, umbrella policy is highly recommended.
Not yet, but thanks for the tip.

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bankerbilo
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by bankerbilo » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:55 am

drawpoker wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm
bankerbilo wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:08 pm
Thanks drawpoker, onedayer and Grt2bOutdoos for replaying! Lots of valuable information, especially on the liability. I will call my agent to increase liability and reduce the personal properly.
Good moves. Before we leave this thread, however, I should caution you about SnakeFarm and their practices. Since you wrote you have been with them for 5 years now you are getting dangerously close to that 6-9 year level where they will pull "price optimization" on you. (Unless your Calif Attorney General's Office has finally put a stop to it (?)

In case you aren't familiar - this is what SnakeFarm (and a few others) does when they cull thru their lists of longtime customers. Using data mining, they focus on identifying those policy-holders who are judged to be "least likely" to resist a big jump in premium. The data they farm is everything from supermarket loyalty cards (hey, this person is still buying a lot of filet mignon and lobster!) to public utility records (this chump still has a landline, and, oh boy, they still have cable when DirecTV has been offering sweet deals)
Compiling a profile "score" for this customer, they then evaluate this person as someone who can be lulled into believing they are somehow still receiving the longtime SnakeFarm customer discount. Despite the hefty hike in premium.

(Do some Googling, when you have time, to really bone up on this unsavory and predatory practice among insurers. So you will know to be suspicious of any large premium increase when there is no apparent reason)

When SnakeFarm did this to me in 2015, I don't know which made me madder - that they thought I was an easy mark, a pushover, a real dumb axhole. Or, when my local agent flat out lied to me and stated, "oh, no, we don't do that price optimization thing, that's what the others do".

When I confronted him later with the evidence, oh, then he changed it to "well, yes, there is some predictive modeling used in setting premiums"
Guess what 5 different state attorney generals in the U.S. give as definition of "predictive modeling"?
Synonym for "price optimization" , that's what.

So, watch out at renewal time. They have richly earned the name of SnakeFarm Insurance.
Thanks. I have auto-insurance with State Farm and have been happy when I moved to them. They have given me lower premium then others and refunded part of my first payment. When I've asked them why they refunded me, they said that after their investigation they concluded that we were not at fault on one of our accidents (don't remember mine or my wife's) and they have reduced the premium. That was a nice surprise.

Last year my auto premium increased and when I called, the agent said the increase was California-wide. I guess it is time to get a quote for my auto insurance as well.

talzara
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by talzara » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:12 am

drawpoker wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm
Good moves. Before we leave this thread, however, I should caution you about SnakeFarm and their practices. Since you wrote you have been with them for 5 years now you are getting dangerously close to that 6-9 year level where they will pull "price optimization" on you. (Unless your Calif Attorney General's Office has finally put a stop to it (?)
State Farm does not do price optimization. They do not adjust individual rates based on your likelihood of switching to another company.
Bloomington-based State Farm, the largest privately held company in Illinois, doesn't use price optimization. “We do not base our premiums on studies that show how much a customer is willing to pay for our products, and we also do not charge different rates for customers with like risks,” the company says in an email.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... timization
We know Allstate does price optimization because they filed a rate manual that calculated the premium by birthday.

We know that GEICO and Progressive do price optimization because they've admitted it.

We suspect that some other insurance companies do price optimization because they've filed their tiers as trade secrets.

None of this applies to State Farm. There's no evidence of price optimization in their rate manual. They deny doing price optimization. Their tiers are not secret.
drawpoker wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm
When SnakeFarm did this to me in 2015, I don't know which made me madder - that they thought I was an easy mark, a pushover, a real dumb axhole. Or, when my local agent flat out lied to me and stated, "oh, no, we don't do that price optimization thing, that's what the others do".

When I confronted him later with the evidence, oh, then he changed it to "well, yes, there is some predictive modeling used in setting premiums"
Guess what 5 different state attorney generals in the U.S. give as definition of "predictive modeling"?
Synonym for "price optimization" , that's what.
Agents rarely know how their company sets rates. They may have some general idea, but very few of them will sit down and read the entire rate manual. If you badger your agent enough, he'll admit to lots of things that the company doesn't do.

One possible explanation for your rate increase is that the company changed its rate structure. When this happens, the premium is no longer calculated by taking last year's premium and increasing it by a flat percentage. It's whatever the new rate structure says it will be.

Sometimes insurance companies will phase in a rate increase, especially if the changes are large. For example, if the new rates say that you should get a 50% rate increase, they may increase your rates by 10% every year for 5 years. This can feel like you're being price optimized, but what's actually happening is different.

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:27 pm

Play around with semantics if you wish. Technically, you are correct. SnakeFarm Insurance is right! When they say they do not engage in price optimization.

They just call it predictive modeling instead. Guess that somehow sends better? Using data mining extensively, they come up with a profile, a number that suggests to them this is a longtime SnakeFarm customer who is likely to meekly accept a big premium increase and not take their business elsewhere.

No matter, the results are still the same. A rose by any name stinks the same.

OnTrack
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by OnTrack » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:30 pm

talzara wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:12 am
drawpoker wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm
Good moves. Before we leave this thread, however, I should caution you about SnakeFarm and their practices. Since you wrote you have been with them for 5 years now you are getting dangerously close to that 6-9 year level where they will pull "price optimization" on you. (Unless your Calif Attorney General's Office has finally put a stop to it (?)
State Farm does not do price optimization. They do not adjust individual rates based on your likelihood of switching to another company.
Bloomington-based State Farm, the largest privately held company in Illinois, doesn't use price optimization. “We do not base our premiums on studies that show how much a customer is willing to pay for our products, and we also do not charge different rates for customers with like risks,” the company says in an email.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... timization
We know Allstate does price optimization because they filed a rate manual that calculated the premium by birthday.

We know that GEICO and Progressive do price optimization because they've admitted it.

We suspect that some other insurance companies do price optimization because they've filed their tiers as trade secrets.

None of this applies to State Farm. There's no evidence of price optimization in their rate manual. They deny doing price optimization. Their tiers are not secret.
drawpoker wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:21 pm
When SnakeFarm did this to me in 2015, I don't know which made me madder - that they thought I was an easy mark, a pushover, a real dumb axhole. Or, when my local agent flat out lied to me and stated, "oh, no, we don't do that price optimization thing, that's what the others do".

When I confronted him later with the evidence, oh, then he changed it to "well, yes, there is some predictive modeling used in setting premiums"
Guess what 5 different state attorney generals in the U.S. give as definition of "predictive modeling"?
Synonym for "price optimization" , that's what.
Agents rarely know how their company sets rates. They may have some general idea, but very few of them will sit down and read the entire rate manual. If you badger your agent enough, he'll admit to lots of things that the company doesn't do.

One possible explanation for your rate increase is that the company changed its rate structure. When this happens, the premium is no longer calculated by taking last year's premium and increasing it by a flat percentage. It's whatever the new rate structure says it will be.

Sometimes insurance companies will phase in a rate increase, especially if the changes are large. For example, if the new rates say that you should get a 50% rate increase, they may increase your rates by 10% every year for 5 years. This can feel like you're being price optimized, but what's actually happening is different.
From Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car ... ance-schmo
"Consider applying for insurance at Amica Mutual and State Farm. Both insurers told us they don't use price optimization, while Allstate, Geico, Progressive, and USAA wouldn't discuss the matter. We found that Amica Mutual and State Farm also tend to charge lower premiums."

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:07 pm

Yes. Of course. Know exactly what you mean.
See, I hate the color blue, don't use it at all. Never. Instead I use indigo.

Here's a very recent piece that addresses the connection of predictive modeling and premiums (price optimization)

SnakeFarm and Amica can deny it all they want. Savvy consumers will dig out the truth.

https://www.datanami.com/2018/06/01/pre ... udy-shows/

talzara
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by talzara » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:13 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:27 pm
Play around with semantics if you wish. Technically, you are correct. SnakeFarm Insurance is right! When they say they do not engage in price optimization.

They just call it predictive modeling instead. Guess that somehow sends better? Using data mining extensively, they come up with a profile, a number that suggests to them this is a longtime SnakeFarm customer who is likely to meekly accept a big premium increase and not take their business elsewhere.
Whatever you want to call it.

State Farm does not adjust your individual rate based on your likelihood of switching to another company. Their rate manual simply does not use this information.

State Farm's tiering structure is very simple. It's based on the number of years you've been with State Farm and the number of claims. The longer you stay with them, the lower your rates get. (Most insurers do the opposite: they give you a new customer discount and phase it out if you stay with them.)

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:19 pm

talzara wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:12 am

.............. If you badger your agent enough, he'll admit to lots of things that the company doesn't do................
Terrific! That's the kind of insider information that goes a long way to inspire confidence in the company, isn't it.

talzara
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by talzara » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:24 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:07 pm
Yes. Of course. Know exactly what you mean.
See, I hate the color blue, don't use it at all. Never. Instead I use indigo.

Here's a very recent piece that addresses the connection of predictive modeling and premiums (price optimization)

SnakeFarm and Amica can deny it all they want. Savvy consumers will dig out the truth.

https://www.datanami.com/2018/06/01/pre ... udy-shows/
That article says nothing about State Farm or Amica. It's about a company that provides predictive modeling services to the insurance industry.

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El Greco
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by El Greco » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:26 pm

FYI, I can attest that Liberty Mutual will stick it to you good for being a long time customer.

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dm200
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:30 pm

talzara wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:13 pm
drawpoker wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:27 pm
Play around with semantics if you wish. Technically, you are correct. SnakeFarm Insurance is right! When they say they do not engage in price optimization.
They just call it predictive modeling instead. Guess that somehow sends better? Using data mining extensively, they come up with a profile, a number that suggests to them this is a longtime SnakeFarm customer who is likely to meekly accept a big premium increase and not take their business elsewhere.
Whatever you want to call it.
State Farm does not adjust your individual rate based on your likelihood of switching to another company. Their rate manual simply does not use this information.
State Farm's tiering structure is very simple. It's based on the number of years you've been with State Farm and the number of claims. The longer you stay with them, the lower your rates get. (Most insurers do the opposite: they give you a new customer discount and phase it out if you stay with them.)
This has been our experience with State Farm Homeowners as well - 40 years of coverage.

drawpoker
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Re: Homeowner insurance coverage

Post by drawpoker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:40 pm

El Greco wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:26 pm
FYI, I can attest that Liberty Mutual will stick it to you good for being a long time customer.
Exactly. Besides the HO, I had SnakeFarm auto continuously for over 40 years through 4 diff. states. Still, they had the nerve to pull it on me, despite my state being one of the ones issuing them a warning just six months before.

Here's a pretty good list of the states that are taking a hard line on these tactics. However, insurance companies are very sneaky, they find a way to evade these rulings by being very adept at hiding things from the regulators. Calling some of the information to be proprietary company they aren't required to disclose.

http://napaausa.org/price-optimization/ ... timization

Also, your friends at Liberty seemed to have made the Hall of Shame list here. In the difference in rates they charge for renters versus homeowners on their auto insurance.

Check out chart in this shocker.

https://lifehacker.com/the-surprising-r ... 1762500010

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