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Homeowners insurance blues!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MJ5150, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    OK...so my truck gets broken into last night. I get a bunch of stuff ripped off. No one thing worth more than about $200. Altogether close to $800. I call my PEMCO agent, and I receive no condolensces for my loss. No concern whatsoever about how I am doing, or my family.

    Instead, she proceeds to tell me I need to carefully think out my decision to file a claim. She tells me I have been claim free for ten years, and if I file a claim I will lose that status, and my discount for NOT filing a claim. She tells me it may cost me MORE in the end to file a claim. She tells me I need to make sure the value of my items are much more than the increased premium I will have for the three years after the claim is filed.

    Then.....to top it off.....she advises me that I can also be cancelled for filing a claim. She goes on to tell me further that if I file a claim for something small like this, it could ruin it for me if I file a "legitimate" claim later. Excuse me lady, but the stuff stolen from my truck was "legitimate" to me.

    Is there a bigger scam than the ones the insurance companies are running? I have been paying my $400 a year for almost 10 years now. I want about $800 back to cover the items some dirty scumbags (another topic for another day) decided they needed more than me. Can I file a claim? Sure I can. Will I get screwed by my insurance company? Sure I will.


  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Wow. I had no idea they actually admit to being scammers when you call them. Sorry to hear about this Mike!
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA

    Yes, you are correct. But please don't call me Shirley. :)

  4. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Seems like your company is crap, Mike. I'd move your policy to a nice company, who will probably uphold your 10 year no claims bonus if you get the right deal.
  5. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Dang Mike, That sux. If it was me I'd:
    1. Got get my money
    2. Change insurance companies
    3. File a complaint with the insurance commisioner.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    WOW! Sorry to hear about your losses!

    IMO, there's no point to having insurance if you can't use it. I'd shop around immediately, then file a claim with your current company.

    It seems to me that because the stock market has been performing so poorly (which is where insurance companies keep all their money), they're tighter than usual with their cashflows.

    Look for a "triple A" rated company with a great reputation. Talk to friends and family to see who they use. No insurance company is great, but some are less horrible than others.

    And, IMO, an $800 claim should have NO impact on your status and future premiums. It's not a significant enough amount to a company that's probably worth billions of dollars!:(

    EDIT (comment): If you really want to stick it to 'em, tell them of your intentions to shop around, cancel your policy voluntarily, THEN file a claim for your losses. All they can do is "take it".:)
  7. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Wouldnt your car insurance cover that?

    I got jerked around on a car insurance claim years ago. My car was stolen, and it got stripped and dumped. When the insurance company got to look at the car I was informed that "in the condition the car is in, we can give you $250 for it." When I pointed out that I wasnt the one that beat the snot out of it, and that book value was $1200, I was basically laughed at. We went back and forth for awhile and I eventually got $750 out of them (which didnt cover the race parts in the trunk that got swiped).

    A month later they made up some cock and bull story about my Blazer, that being it had 33" tires it was "obviously used for off roading, and they didnt feel it fit within the guidelines of what they should/shouldnt insure." Then they told me I would be better off to take my business elsewhere. So basically they dropped me.

    I invited them to bite me, and found another insurance carrier.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    If it's anything like it is in Texas, no.

    My minivan was broken into in my church parking lot 2 years ago. My car insurance company would have gladly paid to replace the window glass, if it had exceeded my deductible.:rolleyes:

    So I had to file a claim with my homeowners carrier for the stuff stolen out of the van.

    My company laptop(not covered because it belonged to my company), my Eden Metro, and my 'gig bag' with all of my straps, cables, tuners, stompboxes, tools, and 20 years worth of sheet music and chord charts.

    When my homeowners insurance carrier saw the amplifier and music gear on the claim form, they advised me that if I had ever made a dime playing music, the insurance wouldn't cover any of the stuff.

    So I had to lie( :( ) to get them to pay for the stuff. Still lost $1000 on the deal, because of my homeowners deductible, and another $150 on the busted glass on the van.

    Insurance companies suck.
  9. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    ....any one that whines about homeowner's insurance and DOESN'T live in Florida needs about 20 lashes with a wet noodle...



    (...seriously though, we're about to get the wet noodle [and any blount objects the insurance companies can lay hands on] inserted in our rectal orifice without the courtesy of any lubricant after the hurricane season we just had...)
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    My auto insurance gladly offered to help out. They gladly offered to help out because I HAD NOTHING TO CLAIM WITH THEM. No damage to the truck, and no stereo equipment was stolen. I have a Sony CD player that my uncle gave me when I graduated high school in 1989. Not worth stealing, they left it behind. I'm not into booming car systems since I only drive my truck maybe 30 minutes a day.

    I called around some insurance companies this afternoon, and the first thing most of them asked me was if I have had any claims in the last three years. I described to them what was going on, and they said they would have to take the claim into account if I make it. So, I am SREWED. Some rat-bastards made off with a whole bunch of my stuff and not a single thing will happen to them. Here I sit trapped by my own insurance company that is SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING ME OUT WHEN THIS CRAP HAPPENS.

    I am starting to understand why some people "go postal". I am going to stay up all night tonight waiting to see if these buttholes come cruising through my neighborhood again tonight. If I find them, I'll get my $800-1000 out of their hides.

  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, except maybe the 3,000 families whose houses burned down in SoCal last year.
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    Right idea. If it were me, I'd try to take a negotiating stance. I'd target "brokers" instead of going directly to the providers. Walk into a broker's office and tell him'her you'll go with whichever company will preserve your status, and still deliver a reasonable rate. They'll do some kind of screening on their computer, selecting those companies that probably list keywords in specialty areas, or whatever their search criteria are. Then let them do the work, to figure out who the candidates are. Oh and, file the complaint "after" you get the new insurance, that way if anything goes wrong they'll have to document just cause. Good luck.
  13. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Sad to say, she's right. (That doesn't make up for her attitude.) You have a discount for not filing any claims - if you file a claim, you’ll lose that discount.

    Companies look at loss frequency and severity when they select, price, and underwrite risks. Unfortunately the industry has gotten to the point where they have almost no tolerance for claims! It sucks, and it goes against the basic principles of insurance, but there it is.

    She was telling you that your "little" (as opposed to a major fire) claim would count against you as badly as would a $100,000 loss. That doesn't make it right, but it is legal - and she was doing her job as an agent of telling you about it.

    Don't shoot the messenger (her). Instead, look for a company that has more enlightened underwriting of losses. nonsqtr has a good idea about using a broker (a broker works for you; an agent, for the carrier). Also, look at "mutual" companies - they will tend to give you a fairer shake than a "stock" company, since a mutual is technically owned by the policy holders.

    Also, you really don't have any basis for an insurance department complaint at his time, IMO - they haven't done anything to you yet! If it were me, I'd file the claim, and then make a complaint if they take action beyond dumping your claim-free discount.

    Also, one last thing - almost all companies will disregard losses below a certain dollar amount when it comes time to re-underwrite the risk. Call your agent and find out what the amount is - there's a good chance that a paid loss of (say) $500 will be below the amount that will cause you to lose the claim free discount. If you have $800 in losses, and a $250 deductible, you’re very close to that $500 point which is used by many companies. Maybe you can settle for less and keep the discount.
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Ken....the one thing I DID appreciate was the upfront honesty from the agent I spoke to. I suppose she could have let me file the claim, go through the process, and then be shocked when renewal time comes and I get my rates raised, or even have my policy cancelled.

    My problem has been with my insurance company, PEMCO, from the start. Besides her lack of concern, I have no problems with the woman I dealt with.

    Thanks to everyone for the solid advice. I am going to check out Philbiker's link, and it looks like I will take my money somewhere else. I use GEICO for my auto insurance, anyone try their homeowners?

  16. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Car insurance is designed to cover the car. Homeowners insurance covers your home and your personal property.
    Most homeowners policies have deductibles of $1000 or more.
    Insurance is great for covering the large losses like the folks down in Florida have experienced, but not so good at responding to smaller losses; it's more cost effective for most people to absorb or "retain" these smaller losses on their own.
    The extra premium you pay for a smaller deductible isn't worth it over the long run. As far as insurance companies go, there are good ones and bad ones, I know, I worked for a BAD one for 13 years. In the last few years I was there, they started treating EVERYONE like garbage, customers AND employees. I voted with my feet, and walked off the job. the moral to the story is shop around, and if you have not been treated fairly, take your business elsewhere.

  17. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    That's the insurance company that jerked me around.
  18. My insurance company fed me this same line, only a little further. They said if I played outside of my house at all, for money or not, my stuff wouldn't be covered. I've been thinking about purchasing insurance from an underwriter that covers musical equipment. I know they exist, but the name escapes me. Time to do a Google.
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I have inlaws whose neighborhoods were ravaged by hurricanes this year, and they all say the same thing: their deductibles are 5% of the value of their home...if they have a $400K home, their deductible is $20K.

    It takes a lot of damage to exceed $20K!!!
  20. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    You'd be surprised at how fast you could spend $20k when talking about
    water damage or a new roof. a 5% deductible is small compared to earthquake insurance deductibles out here in California, which run 15% with high premiums. The Northridge quake out here 12 years ago put several insurance companies out of business and the Department of Insurance suspended others from writing new business due to reserves being reduced to the point that they would not be able to pay future claims obligations. Even in the absence of major catastrophes, most insurance companies pay out more in claims that they receive in premium dollars. It's not uncommon for insurance companies to pay out $1.15 or more for every dollar they get in premiums. With the tough stock market and all the catastrophes lately, the insurance business is a tough place these days.