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Actual financial question ahead, sorry for the interruption to our regularly scheduled programming!

We have become increasingly dissatisfied with the cost of our combined auto/home policies.

We will be shopping around, so if anyone has a company they'd recommend (or, a company you want to warn me about), I'd appreciate it.

We have a regular house, and three vehicles.

Thanks!

impolite
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Don't worry about insurance; the Republican party is working on it.

Wally
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Don't just go for the cheapest. Consider the service as well.

That is the reason I stick with State Farm, even though my home insurance goes up every year. So does the value of my home, and since my rate is essentially 1% the value of my home, I'd have to pay them for 100 years with no claims to lose money on it. Living in tornado alley makes that a no-brainer for me.

Personal annecdote: In 1998 one of those mile wide tornadoes came within 3/4 mile of my parents' house. It hit my uncle's. His family stayed with us for the next month. He had Geico because they were cheap. While cleaning up his site, 3 different Geico reps drove by and he flagged each down. All 3 told him he was not on their list and they couldn't help him. He finally had to call the 800 number and after about 3 hours on the phone they scheduled someone to come talk to him "in a few days."

The State Farm reps were on site each day, not only with phone book sized lists of all policy holders (this was pre-laptop-mobile era), but also handing out cases of water and lunches. They were writing out $5000 checks to all policy holders on the spot to give them some operating cash until their claims could be processed. Geico was not doing any of this.

He did finally get his claim settled 6 months later. Luckily he was a bit of a miser and had the cash on hand to buy a brand new house 5 days after the tornado. He commented several times that if he didn't have any money stashed, they would be screwed.

He switched to State Farm to insure his new house.
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I've been with State Farm since I started driving. Good driving record for a long time, so the insurance is pretty cheap. The homeowner's insurance is reasonable where I am.

I concur with RJ that claim service is the key. State Farm has handled all of my claims over the years promptly and courteously; the problems I've had have been with the other drivers' insurance when I wasn't at fault. Based on the claims service, I will never do business of any kind with Liberty Mutual. The other horror stories I have all revolve around drivers whose insurance had lapsed (probably because they were bad drivers, and I had the bad luck to have one of my cars in their way.) State Farm has been good about covering me until the other company pays, and once was able to get my deductible back for me.

Oh, yeah. Once in a while I'll get a quote from AAA or someone in order to get a break on some other price. The quote is always higher than what I'm paying State Farm. I think their business model is to find cheap rates for long term policy holders with few claims. Works for me.

Patzer
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So that's two for State Farm. Thanks guys!

We're with Farmers right now and I have been since I was 16.

Our rates are high compared to other's we've asked; we've had claims that were well handled, so customer service is not a problem - just the rates.

We've been loathe to leave because of the customer service and personal relationship with our agent, but our agent is sliding into retirement so...now seems like a good time to at least round up some quotes.

But as you both indicated, service is still the *most* important factor, so thanks for the warnings against Liberty Mutual and Geico!

impolite
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P.S. And Wally, thanks for the LOL.

impolite
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I have had good experiences/rates with The Hartford (GoMC totaled a vehicle and they were On It: courteous, quick, explanatory and no rate increase.)

Obligatory Anecdote:
State Farm (and this was 20+ years ago, in Colorado) lost me (and every one of my family members, across 3 states, and a few of our neighbors) as a client for the way that a claims agent treated my sister when her vehicle was stolen.
This was after 20+ years with no claims, etc.
Our actual agent was a good enough guy, but the claims agent was not, and our agent would not run interference or assist.
The claims agent (in addition to no-showing 3x; which was 3 days of missed work for my sister) pretty much
*What were you wearing*ed her about her vehicle being stolen... and that was before he started really being a dick.

Anyway, he probably was just an anomaly and isn't even in the business anymore.



peace & Like a Good Neighbor
t
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Anyway, he probably was just an anomaly and isn't even in the business anymore.

Another possible anomaly:
When I was renting apartments in my 20s in Dallas, I always bought renters' insurance. One of my brother's friends from grade school through h.s. was a State Farm agent in our hometown. Our mothers were close friends. I had known him almost 20 years and signed up for renters' insurance with him.

Imagine my surprise when a friend reported old P had just been hauled off to jail and, ultimately, prison for embezzling customer payments and not paying their premiums . . . for years.

That was not entirely State Farm's fault, but it definitely left me with a bad feeling that for quite a number of years I paid for and thought I had insurance and, apparently, didn't.

Chili
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Oh, the anecdotes reminded me: When my daughter moved out and got her first apartment, I gave her the car she had been driving. We went to talk to the State Farm agent about insurance in her name; he proactively pointed out that if she also bought renter's insurance, she would get a discount on auto that was greater than the cost of the renter's insurance.

Don't know how much of that is what they do for everyone, and how much is that they really want to keep my business. The are pretty impressed with how long I've been a customer.

Oh, yeah. When my (now ex) wife moved away, I transferred the policy on her car to her as we had agreed. Different state, different agent, so there was some paperwork to be done on both ends. Apparently she had called and been nasty to the office help at State Farm here. They tried to talk me into not transferring the policy, so that if I ever needed to insure a second car I could just pick it up with the 10 year accident free discount. I transferred it anyway, because that was what I had agreed to do; but if I had wanted to be a dick about it, they would have facilitated karma rolling downhill onto the ex.

Patzer
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I read your post on the best of list and I thought I would add my 2 cents. Your property goes up a one percent per year and the insurance increase a one percent per year. Why does the insurance go up one percent???? Is the dirt, pipes, foundation and in the ground stuff replaced. What is the wood value and the interior value. They have no clue. When a value goes up it's the dirt not the house replacement value. They were going on the purchase price of the house. Is purchase price and replacement price the same, no. I had a argument with a insurance agent about this and he got mad and reduced the premium.
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"Don't just go for the cheapest. Consider the service as well. That is the reason I stick with State Farm, even though my home insurance goes up every year."

Ditto - State Farm is the only insurance company I've ever used for auto and homeowners insurance. I started using them because my parents has their policies with the local agent and I just followed. Service has been consistently excellent during that time, and we have found no reason to change after 40+ years.
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We had been with Geico. We received good service for two auto claims.

However their prices were riding for our home owners insurance. They were basing premiums on total value of property.

We switched to State farm because the total insurance was lower. Auto premiums are higher but combined total is less.
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Based on the claims service, I will never do business of any kind with Liberty Mutual.

I second this one.

We have had 2 experiences with Liberty Mutual. The first was back in 1981 when DH was using them for insurance on his car and motorcycle. He was in an accident where an uninsured out-of-state driver had her left directional on, was just over the line queued up to make the left turn, and he passed her on the right to go into the gas station that was right there. Except she changed her mind and made a right turn. There was a bunch of damage to the bike, and his knee put quite an impression in the gas tank. That knee has not been right since. The cop at the scene cited DH for passing on the right.

Liberty was his insurance company at the time, so they opted to pay the damage claim for the other (uninsured out-of-state) driver, and refused to pay either his medical or for the damage to the bike. He ended up getting a lawyer, beat the ticket (there were several witnesses), and then had to sue his own insurance company since they had not waited for due process. He got more than what was needed for the medical and damage to his bike, and that extra ended up being the down payment on our first house.

The 2nd experience with Liberty was when I was working for DEC, and Liberty had a deal with them where the employees could get insurance and have it deducted from our paychecks. I asked for a quote on our house, and the agent refused to provide it because they said the house was old, and we were better off to burn it down and collect the insurance. I kid you not. That is exactly what they told me. I pointed out that the house was in a Boston suburb where ALL the houses were of that vintage, and it sounded like they didn't insure any houses in the Boston area, which was absurd. That was in the early 1980's.

We haven't looked at Liberty since then.

We use Amica, and have been very happy with the service and the rates, but I don't know if they service your area.
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If you're still looking, try going thru Costco and get a quote from Ameriprise.
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Update - after much research, a spreadsheet (shocked, I'm sure) and talking with several people...

We stayed with Farmer's, but are saving $500 a year with them now.

<shrug>

impolite
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