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Weigh All The Facts Before Buying

The Bottom Line Make sure you have all the facts and figures in front of you when shopping for quotes.

I recently changed my homeowners insurance due to skyrocketing rates of my previous insurance company. (I've had homeowner's insurance for over 15 years and have yet to file a claim.) It was a wakeup call for me.

Not always the most recognizable name in insurance is the best company to go with. Case in point:

In the last year this area has been hit hard with rain storms and ice damming up under roof. Therefore there were a lot of people calling their insurance company and making claims. Now I know that's what we buy insurance for, but do people realize how roofing companies jack up estimates when they realize homeowner's insurance is paying for this?? Case in point: My neighbor last year has his house roofed, which is almost the same as mine square feet and everything. He had previous layers ripped off and a new roof put on. His insurance company paid $4300. Ok we call the company that did his roof and one other. They started at $3200 when we told them that we were going to pay for it ourselves instead of $4300. We eventually got them knocked down to $2300 and probably could of gone $100 lower if we had waited one more day. My point is that using the insurance company for repairs is not always your best option as it jacks up the price of your insurance (In fact, three of the insurance companies I called for new rates asked how old the roof was!) and probably your neighbor's insurance down the street up the next year.

The more name brand your insurance company is the more likely your rates will go up next year because of all the claims filed in your area. Ours was the well recognized Farm Bureau. The rate shot up $130! from the previous year. I live in a nice neighborhood so that was not a factor. It was the fact that so many claims had been filed in our area and we were being penalized. We now have American Family insurance.

When shopping for insurance, make sure you have a copy of your previous insurance declarations, so you can zip right through those question about deductibles, what dwellings are covered, and medical liabilities. This also helps in making sure you have as much coverage as before.

Also pay attention to that inflation cause which may not be good in some respects as it will cause your insurance to go up every year even if your house does not appreciate every year.

Realize that the insurance company will send some one out to take photos of the property, so don't fib about what you have or don't have on the property. If you have 2 trained attack pit bulls in the back yard, you better make sure the agent knows that. It will make a difference in your rates and coverage.

Also some companies may run a credit bureau report and investigative consumer report (checking out your general reputation)on you if you are new to the area.

These items are not covered by most insurance companies unless asked for by the customer:

* Mine subsidence, this when you or previous owners may have given permission to a mining company to strip mine so many feet under your property and something happens to your house because of this.

* Sewer back-ups are often not covered unless asked for. This includes if you have a sump pump or sewer backup from city lines.

* Flood and earthquake are not usually covered unless asked for.

One of the things that the internet has made possible is the vast capabilities of searching out different insurance companies and their rates. You can now type in a company name and if there is a local agent in your area. Sometimes you can get a rate quote over the internet.

Happy insurance hunting!!


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