I am currently paying about $425 for a one year Homeowners Insurance
policy. I just got my renewal notice, and they have increased the
policy cost to about $500, for the same exact coverage.
Therefore, I decided to shop via the Internet for different quotes for
my Homeowners insurance. As expected, the quotes I got were all over
the place, from about $390 all the way to about $650.
However, one quote stood out.........it was for $169. The fees were
itemized, and indeed did add up to $169 for a 1 year policy. The
coverages were what I asked for. So that "lowball" quote was
evidentally not a typo.
OK......so I am suspicious. What could be some logical explanations
for this extremely low quote? Any chance that it is legit? I've not
yet talked with the agent offering this policy. What questions should
I ask this agent? How can I assure that I would be safely covered by
the policy this agent sells?
The agent is Colorado Insurance Sales and Service, located in
Littleton Colorado.......the Insurance company represented is Colorado
Thank you...... Lee Carkenord
On 7 Sep 2004 11:08:52 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Lee Carkenord)
I'd call the agent and simply ask him or her how the cost can possibly
be so low. Ask 'em "what's the catch?" Keep asking until they answer
to your satisfaction. You sure don't want to get an insurance policy
that has some hidden reason not to pay out. And read the final policy
before you hand over a check.
I have another homeowners insurance question.
Suppose I took out 2 policies from 2 different companies simultaniously?
I hear a few horror stories about how homeowners insurance never makes one
"whole" again. But 2x the payout oughta solve that issue.
you can double insure, but i'd bet they'd only pay off one (one has to be
primary) and the other would cover the deductible. your contract typically
has something about other insurance in it, and to not tell one about the
other, is called insurance fraud. they all report to the same database for
covered claims against a house, so it's not like they won't find out about
Insurance companies have clauses to coordinate benefits. If you have two
policies, their combined payout won't be any higher. Each will pay half of
what one would normally pay and you will have paid twice for no additional
coverage. On the application form, they will ask if you have any other
insurance on this property. Better to pay for one good policy that covers
full replacement value with no deductible.
Home insurance companies are out there to make money.
They have a fair amount of math, experience, and science involved
in setting rates that pretty much guarantee that, in the long run,
in aggregate, you will pay them more than they pay you.
Even if you could successfully collect on two simultaneous policies,
all you're doing is doubling your investment in something with a negative
On 7 Sep 2004 11:08:52 -0700, email@example.com (Lee Carkenord)
Some insurance companies are better than others when you have a claim.
Consumer Reports has an extensive article about buying insurance, what
you need to consider, and the ratings of insurance companies. I'd
stick with a well-known company. Also, a few insurance companies will
give you an initial low premium rate for the first year, then jack it
up when your policy expires. Getting several quotes is a wise idea,
then get a couple new quotes every year after that.
This happened to us recently. We decided to shop around and found odd
pricing. also. Keep in mind this home is new.
What we found. The bigger insurance companies quoted the price to rebuild
our house if it burnt to the ground in 2004. We paid 205,000 for our house
and the bigger insurance companies quoted like $320,000. I guess this was
the price to have a custom home builder come in and rebuild our home from
the ground up.
The smaller simply quoted us the current value. $216,000. If you call the
company and speak to the agent they will likely quote you a higher price.
Insurance companies like to quote based on so called "replacement"
value. What usually fails to be taken into account in that equation is
the fact that even if a F-4 tornado swooped in and cleaned the lot
your house is on and removed even the foundation, you still have the
land. It was not destroyed. A real replacement value policy would take
this into account and not insure you to replace the ground your house
is built on. So if you have a quarter million dollar home I'd guess
the lot is worth somewhere around $50,000 to $80,000. That really
ought to be removed from the policy as the land cannot be destroyed in
any conventional way. Your home insurance policy ought to be for
somewhere in the neighborhood of $185,000 as that is what it may cost
to merely replace the house.
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Let me step in here on the "replacement" policy value. Replacement means
that if your house burns down and it is 35 years old and codes have changed,
it will bring your house to code.
Ask the people in San Diego whose houses burned a year ago about their
nightmares of being underinsured because of no replacement coverage. Codes
have changed to require tile roofing, which means re-engineering the
structure, and since it is tract work, the as-builts exist for these homes.
The insurance companies are paying off of these plans, but the homeowners
are out 10's of thousands of dollars for the roof changes.
Homeowner insurance from the cheapest carrier is a BIG gamble, in my 30
years of homeowner insurance experience. It has paid everytime to not have
a hassle with the carrier.
Please heed the advice on making sure the agent can sell in your state, that
the carrier is licensed to do business in your state and that it is AT LEAST
an A rated carrier. All this info can be had from your state's insurance
How many homes have your personally built with your own hands? How
many homes have you personally repaired and taken apart and put back
together? Changes in foundation specifications and other code
requirements are not that big of a consideration when thinking of cost
of building. Sure, these items will drive up costs some, but not in
any truly drastic way, especially when you realize that most of us
don't live on tectonic plate fault lines or on volcanoes in flood
plains or in the path of every hurricane that comes along.
Replacement value means exactly that. The cost to replace your home
with a new home, and yes, up to current code, that was pretty much
just like your old one, on the same lot.
Then there are people like me who can built a house from the ground
up. My cost to replace my house would be far less than yours because
I'd be doing most all the work myself, and yes, it would be up to
code, and more importantly to me it would be built to my more exacting
requirements which, if you had a house built just like it would
probably cost you almost double what I'd spent. Why should I have to
carry the same replacement value on my house as my neighbor who may
have the exact same house in the same exact condition since my cost
would most likely be less than his?
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
John, you seem to be the exception, not the rule. You can't really
give very good advice on how to insure a home if you would do most of
the reconstruction work yourself.
By the way, replacement policies I've owned take into account the
differences between the market value of the home, the value of the
land, and the cost of rebuilding the structure (and the cost of
replacing the contents, don't forget that).
The problem comes in when the so-called "replacement" policy actually
stipulates the maximum cost of rebuilding -- in other words,
essentially sets a cap on it.
While this is not a new wrinkle, a lot of policies here in the US that
were originally written with no "cap" are now being renewed with a cap
built into the new policy, generally without any clear notification of
this change. I'm told that most policies in the USA now have this
limitation. This protects the insurance company -- if the amount is
higher than your policy states, they won't pay the extra amount. If
the amount is lower, they still collect the fee for the higher
The problem for homeowners and even for agents is deciding what is a
reasonable dollar amount for this rebuilding value and making sure the
policy states at least this value. Then as the cost of rebuilding goes
up, the policy has to keep up with the increases. My policy has a
built-in percentage added each year to keep up with inflation and
building cost increases. The land is not insured. I've noticed that
the percentage is generous enough that it now slightly exceeds what I
think is the reconstruction cost. And of course, I pay for this with a
I could reduce the amount of the coverage, of course, and lower the
premium somewhat. But do I, a mere homeowner, really know what it
would cost to rebuild if my house was burned to the ground? Doubtful!
So like most of us poor saps, I am forced to keep the amount somewhat
larger than I think I really need -- or else get some sort of
re-appraisal every year, which I doubt anyone would do. And how would
you know if you can trust the construction estimate if you got one? If
you have ever dealt with construction, you know that the cost always
exceeds the estimate.
Actually, that's what some insurance companies now do -- instead of
storing a preset dollar amount in their computers and increasing that by
some blanket percentage every year, they're storing dozens of data points
on the home and running a new replacement cost estimate every year at
renewal. Most don't invent the formula themselves, they use Marshall &
Swift/Boekh or the like, with regional factors for labor and materials
costs. This does require the insurance company to know more about your
home, but it also allows a more accurate increase in cost for different
styles of construction. And it helps avoid E&O claims when you have a
total loss and discover your automatic increase was indadequate.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
Maybe that's the formula mine uses. I don't actually know what method
they use for their yearly escalator. The amount always seems a little
high to me -- but as I said, I still don't know what the real amount
should be and have no convenient or trustworthy way of finding out. I
think it is prudent to be conservative on this issue, so I let the
higher figures the company provides stand. I am sure that their figure
is not too low, at least.
The policy also has replacement value insurance for the contents of
the house, too. This also rises yearly by some escalator, although it
does not rise as rapidly (which makes some sort of sense). Of course,
there is no way for the insurer to know if we have bought new
furniture or not, or how much the value of our antiques has risen.
What I think is that basically a "replacement policy" is no longer
really a replacement policy. No matter what formula or percentage is
used, setting the upper limits is still conjecture and knowing what
the replacement value is still boils down to negotiation after a
disaster. Fortunately, my insurer currently has a very good industry
reputation, and friends of ours whose home unfortunately burned to the
ground were quite satisfied with the eventual settlement.
3 water claims - 1 vandalism - hose through the cat door at full speed -
water up 5 inches inside part of the house, 3/4 carpet removed; 1 broken
toilet tank upstairs in a townhouse, that ran ALLLLLLLLL day with asbestos
in the acoustic ceiling; 1 undersink hot water supply line that decided it
was old and tired. 1 fire claim - minor damage - just hassle; 1 liability
slip and fall at a party. Then there is the car insurance with the same
carrier that lowers the premium overall, which was nice to have when someone
decided that my front end was in their way.<SIGH> I love Allstate and AAA,
not the cheapest, but talk about no hassle - including setting me up with
somewhere to live and boarding for my cat.
And I are an insurance agent - altho life, health and disability - I
wouldn't sell casualty if it was the last job on earth.
With all the insurance I have - home, car, health, disability: I am ahead
about 20X for premiums paid vs. benefits received.
And I did take Allstate on for their replacement cost assessment, for which
they just lost a huge class action suit in California. Because it wasn't
going to cost no $200/ft to replace my single story, slab constructed house
in Sacramento. The deal we struck was they would write me a check for full
value if the house was a total, and I got to pocket the difference. All of
a sudden the replacement cost of the house changed to a way more reasonable
$130/ft and I would still come out ahead with primo everything.
So YEAH I know more than the average bear about insurance, altho not a whole
heck of a lot about plumbing. ;-)
I just did a little "googling" on Colorado Casualty Insurance. They
sound legit -- one of the Liberty Mutual Group's regional property and
I think one of the important things to check out is an insurance
company's financial ratings from A.M. Best, Moody's, and Weiss.
Here's a page that includes info, including financial stability ratings,
on Liberty Mutual. Colorado Casualty is mentioned as one of Liberty's
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