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Hi Experts,

My husband and I own our own home plus three rentals on one lot and also have three vehicles. Currently we have all of these things insured with Farmers in California.

We had a really bad experience a few years ago and had to jump ship from our 40 year company, Allstate. They, at the last minute before our policy was due to be paid for the year, asked us to move our propane container farther from the house than local regulations, cut trees near our house and trim all other trees up 6 feet from the ground... then send them pictures to prove we had done that. At a big cost in labor, chipping and time, we did all of this within one week and sent them our pictures by email. They cancelled our insurance saying that their inspector could not visit our property quickly enough to verify what had been done. We went into town and got Farmer's Insurance and then called and lodged a complaint with the State of California. The next day, Allstate called to reinstate the insurance. We told them no thanks!

It is now renewal time again and we have gotten an increase of 7.21% on our premium, but one thing has changed drastically on the policy... Adjusted Estimate. Last year it was $471,000 and this year it is $393,000. We once knew what Adjusted Estimate is when we were sitting in the insurance office, but today we don't.

Should we continue with Farmers or should we shop around. Our concern is that many companies are getting out of insuring homes, especially when the home is in a forested area. What are the best and most customer friendly Insurance Companies for us in California in the forest? How do we get a Glossary of terms? How do we know how much insurance to carry... is it always by the cost of rebuilding, so much per square foot? How do we know that cost in our immediate area? Is it possible to not rebuild and take the money to do something else? We are getting older and may not want to spend a year or so rebuilding...

How do we negotiate the unknowns?

Thank you, Anne
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