Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In$urance

I hate dealing with insurance salesmen. You always wonder, in what way will they be screwing us over, either now or later? We've had the same Homeowner company/policy for a few decades. The houses have changed twice, but we just wanted good & fair coverage if something happens to this long term investment, we call home.
You can imagine my shock, by way of a notice from our mortgage company, asking for additional  $300+ "escrow" money. What? We are paying down our loan, and we we have a fixed mortgage, so there should not be such blips. So we investigated.
Turns out our homeowners insurance, Allstate, raised our rate by-- 73%.
Clearly, if they sent us a straightforward invoice showing the rate change, we would have responded accordingly-- pitched a fit & dumped them post haste.
But what they did was send us some fine print gobbeldy gook, and called us to "help find ways to lower our rate" (read a sales pitch).... never up front saying they'd jacked it up so much.

We've had no claims, the payments are made by the mortgage company, so no delays w payments.
When I called to ask/complain about it, the freakin' clerk had the gall to try to sell me more product.

Seriously? You just about doubled the price & you want to talk about buying more products from your company???
I cut to the chase-- Please don't waste your time, or mine- do NOT try selling me anything right now.
What I need is to speak with a manager.
No manager available today.

My friend Lisa said it best:

A 73% rate increase is 100% unacceptable.

I called this morning, and my agent's office is not open till 9 AM, so I spoke with "Jimmy", he was located in India. He confirmed our rate did jump by 73%. However he did not have the number to a regional manager. I want to talk to MY agent's boss. Think in the New Delhi accent "I am not able to provide you with a number", so I asked for a supervisor, & spoke "Nancy" in India, I ask to be transferred to a regional manager in Oregon. The call is forwarded to Jill in North Carolina. I asked to speak to a regional manager in Oregon. The call is forwarded to Cedric in Illinois. He gives me the same story... they don't have a number of a regional Manager in Oregon. I asked him to transfer me to a supervisor, but instead, he dumped me into a generic voicemail. Damn! Jimmy, Nancy, Jill & Cedric could not help me, in this global telephone trot.  So I called corporate headquarters & spoke with Jack, who gave me the Bothell Washington Regional Office. If this run around is any sampling, I suspect I will be chatting with so many more Allstate employees or subsidiary call centers, in a global way. My local agency manager is not in today, but the clerk Kara, explained in a lecture format, how insurance works. So many claims. Ugh! I wish I had a violin! But my point is we've been customers for over 20 years & have not made 1 claim. Not one. Kara gave me the number to the marketing manager, whose voice mail says he's out for the week of the 27th. I did at least learn that we can cancel the policy & get a full prorated refund. I feel like I've come full circle. Maybe later, I'll be in the mood to talk with the Washington Regional guy, but my time would probably be better spent calling other insurance companies for a quote.


Meanwhile the health ins company (different company) sent notice they have discontinued a med I take from their formulary, or I could pay a $50 per month co pay. Great! $600 a year for one medication. As an aside, there were no pay raises whatsoever, in 2010 to help cover this expense.

Remember all that fussing they did about health insurance reform & adding kids over age 18 to 26 to health insurance?
We now have the honor of paying $143 a month for the privilege. There went $1700 bucks.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm glad to have health/dental/vision insurance, but it is a whole lot of money, plus co pays & for me an additional 20% of medical bills.


What's your insurance story?

5 comments:

D.K. Raed said...

insurance companies and banks ... they got all our money and make us suck for their services!

your homeowners ins idea of "notifying you of a rate increase" seems like good grounds for complaint to your state ins commission. they did not notify you in any meaningful way. calling you to discuss ways to lower your premium is NOT a notification of impending increase. an actual notice would spell out $$$ and effective date, thus giving you at least 30-days to make other arrangements.

In getting competitive quotes, make sure you get it writing (email or fax), make sure your coverage dates overlap, and fergawdsake, don't cancel your current ins until you have at least a valid binder from the new insurer. I'd even wait for the actual mailed policy, but most are available online now.

We once got caught up in an insurer backing out of his binder within 30-days of issuance. We'd already cancelled the existing policy. It was then much harder to get insurance since we technically were uninsured. After that fiasco, I don't cancel existing until I'm sure the new binder is gonna hold up and issue an actual policy.

as you know, we've been through the mill this yr with our ins trying to double our rates. they decided our vacant home for sale had to be reclassified as a rental home ... good thing the home just sold and we can get a pro-rated refund ... of our own money ... buzzards!

nonnie9999 said...

don't even get me started on insurance companies! i had allstate for my house and my car for 10 years. the cancelled my auto insurance for no good reason. i had to scramble to find another company, where i had to pay ridiculous amounts of money, because insurers didn't want to be in floriduhhh. it wasn't long before that company went out of business, leaving me stuck again. that was many, many years ago, but i never forgot that allstate screwed me. more recently, allstate sent me a letter saying they were cancelling my home owner's insurance (after 20+ years). they just randomly picked a lot of floridiot policyholders to cancel without rhyme or reason. homeowner's insurance is hard to come by in floriduhhh, so i got stuck paying more than 3 times as much for really shitty coverage. the kicker? the company is owned by allstate! ever since, the premiums have gone up a few hundred dollars annually. now, i constantly get letters from allstate telling me how they'd love to sell me car insurance. i should write them back and tell them that i'd love for them to kiss my ass.

Liberality said...

Our home owners policy goes up every year but only by a few percentage points--still, it irritates me. They say the value of our house is increasing and we need to make sure we are completely covered. I say house values have gone down quite a bit recently so will there be a corresponding decrease in insurance? Fat chance that!

Fran said...

DK ~ They are constantly on the hunt to increase their profits.
I wound up closing the local agency conversation saying

"If your goal is to make good clients take their business elsewhere, you are doing a great job!"

Overlap of coverage will be mandatory.


Nonnie~ Allstate pulled a similar stunt on us-- we had earthquake ins on the house for 10 years, then one fine day they simply announced they no longer offer earthquake insurance... I don't think they even adjusted the rate.

A friend recommended we join AARP & use the discount, get Hartford ins.

I have to do my homework, but what I learned is insurance companies now do a "soft credit check" & ins claim history check before they will give you a quote.

Wow! GMAC told me unless I consent to allow a 3rd party to run the check, they could not give me a quote.
What a load of crap.
I walked. But I see Liberty Mutual does the same thing.

AARP will get back to me.

Lib~ Sure a small increase is reasonable-- but this jump was unwarranted.
Sounds like they are more interested in completely covering their shareholder's profits!

Funny how they jack house values around....
low for selling, high for taxes.
Whichever way the wind blows?

Anonymous said...

I lost my insurance because it became illegal after the new laws. It may not be something that worked for everyone, but it worked for my family. So much for keeping our insurance if we liked it.