Which insurance company to go with?

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Hello,
I have done quite some research on this topic and surprisingly I am unable to find a definitive answer with respect to which insurance company to buy my home owner's insurance from. Right now I have my home owner's insurance with Amica. I bought my condo for $494k and my HOA covers all the exterior damage including earthquake and I have to cover for the interiors. However, Amica unfortunately are charging me $573 which is more than double what AllState($273) is quoting. I have read several places on the web that AllState is the worst insurance provider and Amica is rated high in http://www.badfaithinsurance.org/index.html . Wondering if all the bad hype against AllState is true and if sticking with Amica with higher premiums is worth it? I don't want to pay an insurance company for many years only finally to be denied a claim due to some legal technicality.

Here are terms of my current insurance:

A. Dwelling $ 100,000
B. Other Structures $ NIL
C. Personal Property $ 15,000
D. Loss of Use $ 7,500
Section II Coverages
E. Personal Liability $300,000
Each Occurrence
F. Medical Payments to Others $2,000
Each Person

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salilsurendran said:   I have read several places on the web that AllState is the worst insurance providerWorst in what respects ?

xoneinax said:   salilsurendran said:   I have read several places on the web that AllState is the worst insurance providerWorst in what respects ? Worst in the sense that they deny legitimate claims

salilsurendran said:   I bought my condo ... and I have to cover for the interiors$573 seems awfully high for just interior coverage. What does that include, (assuming no wild parties with people falling off your balcony) fire and water claims traditionally?

xoneinax said:   salilsurendran said:   I bought my condo ... and I have to cover for the interiors$573 seems awfully high for just interior coverage. What does that include, (assuming no wild parties with people falling off your balcony) fire and water claims traditionally? Yes it includes fire and water of course. I thought they were the most important things to be covered?

$494k condo and you can replace all of your personal property inside for $15k? You'd know better than me but that seems awfully low.

Jamieson22 said:   $494k condo and you can replace all of your personal property inside for $15k? You'd know better than me but that seems awfully low.

Xbox and Gold membership are cheap.

The terms of your current insurance are totally inadequate- the dwelling coverage is likely excessive and the personal property too low. Also, with a condo you want coverage for loss assessments imposed by the hoa

Say the condo is destroyed , hoa repairs it but it exceeds their insurance . They'll issue a special assessment , maybe $5-50,000 per unit , to share in the costs. You want insurance that will cover a special assessment that is resultant from a covered loss

I'd call both insurers and ask them to review and adjust the coverage . I'd also ask a local independent insurance agent who sells policies from many carriers what they recommend and can offer

Amica has a reputation for good service. You will probably see lots of AllState complaints just because of their sheer volume. Would I pay double to stay with Amica? No way. But you should make sure the policies are (close to) apples to apples. That is a pretty big price difference.

And as someone else mentioned your contents coverage (and your loss of use coverage) looks very low.

Amica does not have insurance agents sitting in local offices like Allstate. They have regional offices and really try to have lower overhead. I've had them for years and have had only one claim. They are excellent. When I renew my policy each year, I am sent a rebate check from Amica. They take in premiums and payout claims. They reward customers via a rebate. If I count the rebate then the cost of the coverage is the same as other companies. does Amica give you a rebate annually? is that included in your comparison?

BTW--I know someone at work that sold their house and rented another house. They purchased a renter's insurance policy. There was an electrical fire and they lost 90% of everything they owned. They never thought that would be possible. Skimping on insurance coverage is not something I would recommend. They have a good policy with MetLife but their claims processes are very slow. It took them 2 months to get into another rental house and they had to live with relatives for a couple of months prior. My experience with Amica is they move as fast as they can and follow up with you often.

Here is what I'm being quoted for a new house I'm purchasing for 650,000. Do I need 'Other Structures' when I don't have a deck or anything besides the home?
Also, I don't have personal property of more than 40,000 so it looks like I may have to reduce that coverage. I will appreciate your analysis or input.

Property Year Built 2012
Property Square Footage 2628
Home Type Primary Residence
Quote Information
Quote Reference Number
Insurance Company Praetorian Insurance Company
Policy Type HO3
Dwelling Coverage $485,000.00
Other Structures $48,500.00
Personal Property $242,500.00
Additional Living Expenses $145,500.00
Personal Liability $300,000.00
Medical Payment $5,000.00
Deductible: Policy $1,000.00

Annual Premium $527.00

If Allstate is only charging $273 for a year premium, including liability, they must not be planning to pay out anything on their policies. The underwriting expense and commissions will eat up a big chink of that premium so what is left to pay claims? I guess it all depends on whether you ever plan on filing a claim. If you don't ever file one; Allstate is the cheaper option. Is the insurance to satisfy a mortgage requirement or do you actually think you might use it?

Homeowner's polices are quite different than auto. Larger companies will write their own policies and remove or limit coverage for the things that cost them the most money. Just eliminating coverage for long-term or hidden plumbing leaks, roof leaks where there is no visible wind damage to the roof, along with mold will save the carrier a lot of money. Ooops, that water leaked inside your wall for two-weeks before it exited the wall and you discovered it; that's a complete claim denial. You can also change theft coverage to burglary so the insured has to prove forced entry. I am sorry sir but you have to prove they picked the lock and you didn't forget to lock the door.

I have been adjusting claims since 1996. I was more than happy to pay close to $700 for my brand new Amica policy based upon their reputation even though I have never adjusted a claim with them. Smaller companies are more likely to use standard industry policies like the HO-3 for homes or the HO-6 for condos and townhouses. Any company that switches to a write your own policy has most likely done so to cut claims costs and most of the time that means limiting or reducing coverage. Allstate is not charging less because they found some magical way to repair your house for less money than Amica. They just found a way to pay you or the contractor less; if they pay on the claim at all.

As a licensed claims adjuster in California who has been adjusting homeowners claims since 1996; there are a lot of ways I have seen to reduce claims costs that are perfectly legal and don't result in wrongfully denying claims. The easiest way is to reduce exposure to water damage by adding exclusions for long-term or hidden leaks that occur over a period of a certain number of days and getting rid of mold coverage. Many plumbing issues originate hidden in walls, in ceilings, behind shower enclosures or inside cabinets. They can add "we don't cover plumbing leaks over 14-days in duration" to the policy and it doesn't matter whether you knew about it or not; coverage is denied for the entire claim. 14-days sounds reasonable to you; some have lowered the number of days to 7-days and perhaps even lower. After that, carriers can reduce your exposure to roof leaks by excluding any leak where there is no wind-created opening in the roof. If the carrier is paying too much on thefts they can change the policy to burglary only so you have to prove forced entry to your home to have the loss covered.

I would stick to smaller insurance companies that don't have a room of MBAs sitting around wondering how they can shave another penny from every claim to justify their existence. The smaller companies are also more likely to use standard HO-3 policies for homes and HO-6 policies for condos that are generally more broad in coverage. I would still be careful about anything that they attach as an endorsement to the HO-3 or HO-6 as water damage is again often taken away in the endorsements. The larger companies could also use the standard polices but generally choose to write their own policies incurring additional underwriting expense. They rarely do this to make a policy more broad in coverage.

I just purchased my first condo and chose Amica based upon the Consumer Reports ratings. I don't do claims for them but I have heard only good things about them.

Do you actually believe Allstate charges less because they have a magical way to restore your home to the same quality for less money? Or have they found a way to pay less or less frequently?

Is this your first year with Amica?
-Amica will refund you some money at the end of year.
-After that refund, your Amica Premium should be similar to Allstate quote (+$50 may be).
-Amica is very good so $50 is for extra protection.

Also you need to adjust your coverage as suggested by others but with or without adjustment equation should be:
"Amica premium - refund at the end of year = Premium with other company + approximately $50."

BTW I have renter insurance with Amica and they don't refund me anything still I am sticking with them.

Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

iseetrails said:   If Allstate is only charging $273 for a year premium, including liability, they must not be planning to pay out anything on their policies. The l.
$273 isn't unusual for a condo policy , ESP one as barebones as op posted . His amica quote is quite high for the coverage posted

wizardking said:   Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

Ditto for State Farm. Had a hail storm, wanted to pay for shutters on one side of house, not the other 3 that were as damaged; shingles that were broken, not whole roof; etc. Had lawyer call them, they paid for all after that, but why should you have to do that?

raspino said:   Here is what I'm being quoted for a new house I'm purchasing for 650,000. Do I need 'Other Structures' when I don't have a deck or anything besides the home?
Also, I don't have personal property of more than 40,000 so it looks like I may have to reduce that coverage. I will appreciate your analysis or input.

Property Year Built 2012
Property Square Footage 2628
Home Type Primary Residence
Quote Information
Quote Reference Number
Insurance Company Praetorian Insurance Company
Policy Type HO3
Dwelling Coverage $485,000.00
Other Structures $48,500.00
Personal Property $242,500.00
Additional Living Expenses $145,500.00
Personal Liability $300,000.00
Medical Payment $5,000.00
Deductible: Policy $1,000.00

Annual Premium $527.00


Your house costs 650 but only insured for 485?

xit said:   My experience with Amica is they move as fast as they can and follow up with you often.As I've previously posted, one of my good friends has Amica and has had good experience with it until now. Our state requires insurance companies to compensate vehicle owners for post-accident diminution of value and there is a more or less precise procedure for doing so. Amica has actually been playing games with it and refused to abide by a previously issued directive from the state's department of insurance. As a result, in response to his complaint, the state's department of insurance has taken a highly unusual step of actually referring the matter to its enforcement division so that they can consider legal action against Amica.

For whatever reason Amica has never offered me a competitive quote, even though we always qualify for the ultra-preferred rates at every other carrier. After hearing my friend's story, which is still ongoing, and seeing the correspondence, I am actually happy that I am not with Amica.

iseetrails said:   If Allstate is only charging $273 for a year premium, including liability, they must not be planning to pay out anything on their policies. The underwriting expense and commissions will eat up a big chink of that premium so what is left to pay claims? I guess it all depends on whether you ever plan on filing a claim. If you don't ever file one; Allstate is the cheaper option. Is the insurance to satisfy a mortgage requirement or do you actually think you might use it?Respectfully, this seems like a very strange way to evaluate insurance. The premium that you pay actually has absolutely nothing to do with the service that you get. Your premium simply reflects each company's risk assessment calculations. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong; sometimes one company wants to increase its market share in something and another one doesn't, etc... None of it has anything to do with the way that they handle claims.

By the way, condo policies are always cheap, as they don't insure the actual structure (this is something that's insured under HOA master policies). Instead, they insure your contents, provide liability coverage, loss of use and HOA assessment coverage. We pay Travelers $104/year for a fire-dwelling coverage (a landlord policy) on one of our high end rental condos, and this includes $300K in liability to provide seamless coverage with our Travelers umbrella policy, covers us for any loss of rental payments due to a covered eventuality, provides HOA assessment coverage, etc...

saladdin said:   raspino said:   Here is what I'm being quoted for a new house I'm purchasing for 650,000. Do I need 'Other Structures' when I don't have a deck or anything besides the home?


Your house costs 650 but only insured for 485?


I guess that is what it would cost to replace it. Do I have to insure it above 650? I have never done that. But I will like to know what others do.

OP, I just bought a condo so had to look into a H06 policy as well. 15,000 would not go very far if a fire wiped everything out and you spend 1/3 of that just on appliances, leaving you 10K to replace everything else. I found that some companies (like Geico - not that I'm recommending it) charge only a few bucks more for each 5K increase in Personal Property.

Let us know what you find out and finally decide.

I found that Costco's insurance, though Ameriprise insurance was by far the cheapest.

saladdin said:   raspino said:   Here is what I'm being quoted for a new house I'm purchasing for 650,000. Do I need 'Other Structures' when I don't have a deck or anything besides the home?
Also, I don't have personal property of more than 40,000 so it looks like I may have to reduce that coverage. I will appreciate your analysis or input.

Property Year Built 2012
Property Square Footage 2628
Home Type Primary Residence
Quote Information
Quote Reference Number
Insurance Company Praetorian Insurance Company
Policy Type HO3
Dwelling Coverage $485,000.00
Other Structures $48,500.00
Personal Property $242,500.00
Additional Living Expenses $145,500.00
Personal Liability $300,000.00
Medical Payment $5,000.00
Deductible: Policy $1,000.00

Annual Premium $527.00


Your house costs 650 but only insured for 485?

Your insured value has no relation to what you pay for your house. The insurance is calculated based on cost to replace the structure . It does not include the land value

This works both ways - in areas where home prices (and land value ) are expensive , your insured value is typically far less than market value

In cheap areas, rebuilding cost may exceed property value. So the insured value will be far higher than purchase price

We just dropped Country companies because of the lack of transparency with the coverage. After we dropped them they sent us a bill for dues owed, I said What F#@#@in dues, well I guess, not known to me , that you have to be a farm bureau member to have country companies insurance. What a crock of dung! Even after all of this they sent the bill to the creditors for not paying the dues. Unbelievable! What a crappy insurance company and a crappy insurance guy.

So my 2 cents STAY AWAY FROM COUNTRY COMPANIES!!!!!

Mickie3 said:   wizardking said:   Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

Ditto for State Farm. Had a hail storm, wanted to pay for shutters on one side of house, not the other 3 that were as damaged; shingles that were broken, not whole roof; etc. Had lawyer call them, they paid for all after that, but why should you have to do that?
Along a similar note, don't go with AAA if you want claims covered either. Hail-damaged roof and AAA has the adjuster claiming that it's not hail damage (it obviously is).

psm321 said:   Mickie3 said:   wizardking said:   Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

Ditto for State Farm. Had a hail storm, wanted to pay for shutters on one side of house, not the other 3 that were as damaged; shingles that were broken, not whole roof; etc. Had lawyer call them, they paid for all after that, but why should you have to do that?
Along a similar note, don't go with AAA if you want claims covered either. Hail-damaged roof and AAA has the adjuster claiming that it's not hail damage (it obv
iously is).


thats when you hire an attorney for bad faith claim denial, and youll get your claim paid

AMICA and USAA are the top companies. I have had AMICA since 1980. Absolutely look at their rates AFTER dividend, which varies by home, auto, etc. Some state differences. Overall AMICA beat USAA on price fir me across home, auto, and liability. Best service.

Mickie3 said:   wizardking said:   Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

Ditto for State Farm. Had a hail storm, wanted to pay for shutters on one side of house, not the other 3 that were as damaged; shingles that were broken, not whole roof; etc. Had lawyer call them, they paid for all after that, but why should you have to do that?


This is standard across the board. I am not sure about every state but the ones I have dealt with do not require the insurance company to replace anything beyond the damaged elevation.

iseetrails said:   Mickie3 said:   wizardking said:   Stay away from nationwide. My a$$ is still sore. Had a bad hail storm come into town. Two of the 4 sides of my house had hail damage to the aluminum siding. They would only pay for two sides to be replaced, and there is no way to match siding like that. So I had to eat the difference, or not replace the siding.

Ditto for State Farm. Had a hail storm, wanted to pay for shutters on one side of house, not the other 3 that were as damaged; shingles that were broken, not whole roof; etc. Had lawyer call them, they paid for all after that, but why should you have to do that?


This is standard across the board. I am not sure about every state but the ones I have dealt with do not require the insurance company to replace anything beyond the damaged elevation.


Huh? Which states allow a company to only replace 20 damaged shutters our of 80 damages ones? Also, what states allow companies to only replace broken shingles only and not all damages ones?

Just thought that I would mention that there are also 2 different types of home insurance -- named perils and all risk policies. Named perils policy covers only the risks named in the policy; whereas all risk policy covers everything that is not listed as an exclusion.

Insurance defense attorney throwing my two cents in the ring here.... Any standard carrier is fine. Amica and USAA are good companies, but you do pay a little more... If you have medical insurance, drop med pay. (If you get hurt, you use your own medical insurance, if someone else gets hurt it goes on your liability. If you have considerable assets (not exempt from bankruptcy) you should get an umbrella policy, which is easily the best bang for your buck in the entire insurance game. Different states/companies have rules on how much you can drop your auto/homoeowners (liability) limits before buying an umbrella.

iseetrails said:   As a licensed claims adjuster in California who has been adjusting homeowners claims since 1996; there are a lot of ways I have seen to reduce claims costs that are perfectly legal and don't result in wrongfully denying claims. The easiest way is to reduce exposure to water damage by adding exclusions for long-term or hidden leaks that occur over a period of a certain number of days and getting rid of mold coverage. Many plumbing issues originate hidden in walls, in ceilings, behind shower enclosures or inside cabinets. They can add "we don't cover plumbing leaks over 14-days in duration" to the policy and it doesn't matter whether you knew about it or not; coverage is denied for the entire claim. 14-days sounds reasonable to you; some have lowered the number of days to 7-days and perhaps even lower. After that, carriers can reduce your exposure to roof leaks by excluding any leak where there is no wind-created opening in the roof. If the carrier is paying too much on thefts they can change the policy to burglary only so you have to prove forced entry to your home to have the loss covered.

I would stick to smaller insurance companies that don't have a room of MBAs sitting around wondering how they can shave another penny from every claim to justify their existence. The smaller companies are also more likely to use standard HO-3 policies for homes and HO-6 policies for condos that are generally more broad in coverage. I would still be careful about anything that they attach as an endorsement to the HO-3 or HO-6 as water damage is again often taken away in the endorsements. The larger companies could also use the standard polices but generally choose to write their own policies incurring additional underwriting expense. They rarely do this to make a policy more broad in coverage.

I just purchased my first condo and chose Amica based upon the Consumer Reports ratings. I don't do claims for them but I have heard only good things about them.

Do you actually believe Allstate charges less because they have a magical way to restore your home to the same quality for less money? Or have they found a way to pay less or less frequently?




Coincidentally we have Amica and they just paid out a claim to us this past year for water and mold damage due to leaky pipes under a crawl space in a rental. We didn't get an argument from them at all, just a check.

jerosen said:   
Coincidentally we have Amica and they just paid out a claim to us this past year for water and mold damage due to leaky pipes under a crawl space in a rental. We didn't get an argument from them at all, just a check.


Renter's insurance or home owners? Either case, did your premium go up due to your claim?

vagrants said:   jerosen said:   
Coincidentally we have Amica and they just paid out a claim to us this past year for water and mold damage due to leaky pipes under a crawl space in a rental. We didn't get an argument from them at all, just a check.


Renter's insurance or home owners? Either case, did your premium go up due to your claim?



Its a policy on a rental property we own. Its not renters insurance.

We lost the discount for having no claims and I think that discount was saving us in the range of 10-20%, but they didn't jack the rates up otherwise.

jerosen said:   vagrants said:   jerosen said:   
Coincidentally we have Amica and they just paid out a claim to us this past year for water and mold damage due to leaky pipes under a crawl space in a rental. We didn't get an argument from them at all, just a check.


Renter's insurance or home owners? Either case, did your premium go up due to your claim?



Its a policy on a rental property we own. Its not renters insurance.

We lost the discount for having no claims and I think that discount was saving us in the range of 10-20%, but they didn't jack the rates up otherwise.


Thanks! Good data point.

Wondering if anyone has had Progressive? They were 2/3 the price of Amica, very similar numbers for dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss of use, personal liability, and offer a substantial rebate on my auto policy as well. $1457 Amica vs $1,040 Progressive

Edit: Also got an All State quote with nearly identical numbers for ~ $1350. Looks like Progressive it is...

RobInBoston said:   Wondering if anyone has had Progressive? They were 2/3 the price of Amica, very similar numbers for dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss of use, personal liability, and offer a substantial rebate on my auto policy as well. $1457 Amica vs $1,040 Progressive

Edit: Also got an All State quote with nearly identical numbers for ~ $1350. Looks like Progressive it is...


I do, for both auto and home. What do you want to know?

Are you satisfied with Progressive? Have you filed any claims, and if so, how was the process and time period for getting reimbursed. If you never have a claim then I guess its hard not to like your insurance company, as long as rates are low.
I currently have Progressive for auto and they are by far the cheapest company around.
Liberty Mutual was about $150-$200 cheaper, with similar coverage, so its a toss up right now.

Skipping 12 Messages...
samko said:   You may be paying too much for your furniture. Though this is not the highest end, you can get some fairly good stuff here: http://www.shopurbanhome.com/ for less than what I listed. The prices I listed are not that far off from the least expensive stuff at Pottery Barn (certainly not cheap).

I didn't know CL and Goodwill were that expensive as I have never purchased furniture from either. I believe the only thing I've ever bought from Goodwill was a framed Chagall print for $10. I'm not sure why you think cheap furniture does not holding up. When I first moved out, I bought IKEA furniture that easily lasted 10 years before I got rid of it. Ikea is about as cheap as you can get.

BTW, I checked my policy and I'm covered for $37,000 with a $500 deductible. The lowest for personal belongings is $25,000 and that only saves me $52 per year. I'll see if I have $37,000 worth of personal belongings. If it only costs $52/yr for an additional $12,000 of coverage, I would agree that the OP should up his coverage just to be safe.


That place is on the west coast and never heard of any of the brands they sell there. Not everyone buys Stickley, I agree, but like cars, there are some that want Yugos and some that want E350s, personal preference.

As to insurance amounts, since have not seen prices on furniture drop in my lifetime for same brands, would always recommend to make sure that inflation is taken into consideration on limits (though no need to over-insure either.)



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