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Best homeowners insurance providers

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The best homeowners insurance provider is a matter of, well, opinion. Facts can be assembled to demonstrate superior service or rates or coverage. However, in the end, an insurance customer often lauds one company over another because of immeasurable attributes like “friendliness” and “caring.” Neither of those qualities is measurable on a rational scale, yet they honestly reflect how a homeowner has ultimately evaluated his insurance provider.

So “best” is subjective. Yet every homeowners insurance company can be judged according to industry criteria that are purely objective. Pricing is one such criterion. The bottom line is the bottom line and every homeowner looks there first in evaluating an insurance policy quote. A company striving to be the best homeowners insurance provider in an area must be price competitive. The price of a policy can be a little higher than the competitors’ prices, but only if there is perceived extra value in a policy.

The “best” company also will have its act together in providing homeowners billing and processing that is easily accessible, easily understood, and straight forward in its intent. Upsetting small print won’t be found in the policy documents of an insurance provider wanting to be deemed the best. By the same token, a company representative should be easily reached and the company operated transparently. An insurer that operates mysteriously does not inspire confidence and probably will not be forthcoming when disaster strikes a home.

The variety of coverages offered by a company will add to its luster. If choices are few, a provider does not really seem to be in business to benefit homeowners. When customer policies are so rigid as to be intimidating, a company has little hope of winning and keeping the loyalty of homeowners. Only so much flexibility is possible in any financial transaction, but circumstances sometimes require a little more give than take and a “best” company is structured to do just that.

What the best homeowners insurance provider covets is high placement in the category of “Best Overall Satisfaction.” This category of evaluation contains both subjective and objective criteria. It summarizes what customers have concluded about a company—that is, what they think of a company, how well they perceive a company works with them, how they feel—yes, feel—about a company. Good feelings make for good customers, and the best homeowners insurance providers know the feeling.

 

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Citizens to Private Insurance

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida -- Like lots and lots of other South Florida policy holders covered by state-run Citizens Property, I got a letter a while back because of a private insurance carrier informing me make use of them be taking over my policy in 30 days - unless I opt out.  Have other Florida homeowners had this same issue?

Sounds great, I thought, when I received the letter from Tampa-based Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty. Especially after hearing that Citizens ended up being approved for rate hikes averaging above 10 percent next year.

Florida Consumers can't make a confident decision, because these carriers won't answer the actual largest question - about all of the cost of contracts every time they renew next year.

When I called Homeowners Choice, a customer service representative explained my current Citizens policy would remain in force until it lapses next July. She said the business enterprise would mail me a renewal offer in May, but that she couldn't say exactly what the premium might possibly be. Nor could she necessary under some company's current rates to find a policy comparable to my Citizens coverage. And he or she didn't know but if your company has put setting yourself up for a rate increase for next year.

What type system is that? Do you really want to try and find a car or a home with no knowledge of the actual going rate?

My answer: Thanks, but I’ll have to pass on this option.

On Saturday I spoke to company CEO Paresh Patel, asking how consumers should decide with such limited information. He said he understood the concerns, but there is much uncertainty for next year and the carriers aren’t going to try and mislead consumers. The way in which, he was quoted saying, "Our rates are on the same as Citizens." He was quoted saying the company has asked to have an average 6 percent rate increase, but state regulators could require more.

Are you frustrated with the way Citizens conducts business in Florida?  Remember, they are the carrier that is a last resort, and they seem to do the best they can under the circumstances.  If you received this infamous letter from Citizens, comment on our Blog today and let us know how you really feel about this situation.

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Guaranteed Replacement Cost Estimator In Florida

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When independent insurance agents are helping you shop for a new Florida homeowners insurance policy they will most likely be using a guaranteed replacement cost estimator to figure out how much coverage you will need to rebuild just the other structure of your house.  When I chat with consumers and clients they always think that they should have more coverage then they actually need to replace their homes structure because many think that the value of the property is included in the replacement cost.  If your agent didn’t use a replacement cost estimator when they offered to get you a homeowners policy, please give us a call at 800-554-9142 at your convenience.    We would love to run your home through our replacement estimator so you know that your home is covered for the correct amount of protection. 

How does one know how much cover to purchase for a home if they didn’t use a replacement cost estimator?  As an educated consumer, you most know that the first step toward getting a policy to cover home is determining the insurability of your home.  We will either need to get a copy of your current policy to do an analysis or we will have to ask you bunch of detailed questions to obtain the best, most accurate quotes for your home.  Some of the items we will need to ask for in order to build your quote would be the following:

  • What Year Was Your House Built?
  • Have You Replaced Your Plumbing?
  • Have You Updated Your Roof?
  • Do You Have A Hip Roof?
  • How Many Square Feet Is Your Home?
  • Had A Claim In The Past 10 Years?
  • What Is The Physical Address?

The Majority of agents in Florida use the cost estimator tool to understand the estimated replacement of your home in case of a future loss on claim.  This must be used when developing the quotes for your house or condo in Florida.  It traditional name for this is guaranteed replacement cost estimator, but you might see agents just call it replacement cost now. 

Remember our conversation earlier.  An insurer in Florida do not want to insure the ground your home sits on.  If you buy a home for $300,000, it could be that $50,000 to $75,000 is the value of the lot of land.  The other $225,000 to $250,000 would be the estimated replacement cost to build a new home.  Do not try to over insure your home because many of the carriers doing business in Florida do not find that appropriate.  Give us a call today If you want to get an accurate replacement cost of your home.  If you are too busy to call our office, feel free to get FREE online homeowners quote with our easy to use quote engine today!

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