The Cool House: Allstate: Those hands are mighty expensive

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Allstate: Those hands are mighty expensive

I'm looking at the slightly bedraggled pink peonies I picked out of the yard today. The ones that were knocked to the ground by the 5 minute tempest that blew through last night. And I'm trying to stay calm because in front of them is this year's house insurance bill from Allstate.
The insurance firm's desire to get out of property insurance in certain states has been well-documented - see here, here and here and most damningly here, and they are not writing any new policies on Long Island. If you go online to get a quote from them this is the message you receive "We cannot currently provide an online property insurance quote in the county you have indicated. For more information please contact your local Allstate Agent".
But just refusing to take on new customers isn't enough for Allstate, if you want out there are ways. NYS law doesn't allow insurance providers to cancel more than 4% of their policies in any one year so I'm convinced that they are trying to get existing policy holders to switch to another provider by pricing them out.
Existing home owners would include us. We've been customers for 8 years. Our premiums rose a little for the first four years. Then the increases started to get really big. For the coming year the policy will go up by 30%. Not 3%, which would be in line with inflation, and in other countries where policies are index linked is mandated by law, but THREE ZERO PERCENT! This means that in the four years we have lived here the premium has increased 100%. It's gone from shocking to outrageous to unaffordable.
So what happens if you contact your Allstate agent to complain? He tells you that for the last two months almost every call has been from policyholders complaining about the increase in their premiums. He looks at your deductibles and informs you that there is nothing he can do: you have taken the maximum allowed. He suggests you shop around, because he knows no-one else will take you on as a customer.
So you sadly look at the peonies, feel grateful that this was the only damage sustained yesterday, work out ways you can decrease your outgoings to pay for the insurance and, should there ever be hurricane damage to your house, the $40,000 you will have to pay upfront before Allstate will cut you one check to start rebuilding.


Jen said...

That stinks.. Insurance companies of all type have ya' by the kahoonas, and they know it, and take advantage of it.

Jean Martha said...

Ouch. Sorry.

One of my co-workers' house was totalled in that storm last night and a tree fell on her car. I was driving in our little Toyota and could feel the air pressure sort of lifting the was very "something wicked this way comes"...

us said...

Oh good God - I have them too! Scary

Joanne said...

All I can say is ouch; insurance companies suck.

modernemama said...

Of course if you default on a payment they can stop insuring you. And you are legally bound to be insured if you have a mortgage.
I'm sure adding this to the fuel and food price hikes will cause the housing market to crunch even further.
My slogan suggestion for insurance companies was: “Insurance: If you can get it - you don’t need it.”
The Allstate specific one: If you have it, you can't afford it".

SmilingJudy said...

Yeah, that sucks. Good call on taking the max. deductible though. A large branch fell on my house during an ice storm. Luckily, the damage was fairly minimal. After my $500 deductible, my ins. co. only had to pay out about $400.

The next year they TRIPLED my rate. That's when I learned to "self-insure". Take the highest deductible you can and only file a claim if you have a major loss. We have gotten used to using insurance as a service rather than a safety net and I think we need to shake that.