Insurance

Frustration with insurance agent and pricing homeowners insurance- a few questions

My homeowners policy has gone up every years (as expected), and I’ve been with the same company for 4 years now. My understanding is that it is advantageous to shop around every few years.

I contacted my agent to let him know I’d like to do that, and he said “ok, we’ll get you ‘rerated.'” I wasn’t familiar with that term so I asked him what it meant and he said it means getting a quote from the current company as if I were a new customer. I told him that was fine, but asked whether it wouldn’t make sense to look at other companies while we were at it.

He became a little bit evasive at that, saying that he preferred to keep people with my current company. When asked why he mumbled something generic about “better product” or something.

I interpret this to mean that he is getting a good commission from my current company, or has some kind of production target or something. I can’t imagine my current company’s insurance is so far superior to other companies that it wouldn’t be worth shopping around.

So my questions are thus:

1) Am I off base for thinking its strange that the agent is reluctant to shop around?

2) Is there a relatively easy way to calculate what is a reasonable amount to be paying? Every place I try to get quotes online tries to get me to give my name, birthday, SS #, phone # and email address. I’d love to have a ballpark idea of whether I’m overpaying, but without having to subject myself to endless spamming.

Any input would be great!

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6 Comments

  1. * Am I off base for thinking its strange that the agent is reluctant to shop around?

    I wouldn’t say you’re off base, but it is entirely possible that your agent is helping you by making sure you’re with a good insurance company. Agents have insight into how a company pays claims, and what kinds of losses they will cover. It is also possible they get some incentives from the company you’re with, it’s not uncommon for companies to do that for agencies with a lot of business with them. On the third hand, any agent would rather have a customer than not have a customer, and you’ve already expressed your desire to shop around. It would make sense from the agent’s POV to try and get a lower rate with the company you’re with (if they do have better claims/coverage) and then as a next step look at other companies if there’s nothing they can do about the rate.

    ​

    * Is there a relatively easy way to calculate what is a reasonable amount to be paying?

    Not really. There’s a lot of data that goes into it, they just use things like your address to pull it so that you don’t have to answer questions about your square footage and construction type. The best thing to do to get a feel for the market is reach out to a couple independent agents, and a couple direct writes like Nationwide or State Farm etc. Calling the actual agencies means you’re less likely to end up getting a ton of spam email, they might follow up with you a couple times but if you tell them you’re happy where you’re at/got a better deal, that usually ends the process.

  2. 1) You could be correct that he wants to keep you with a certain company. It is impossible to know the reasoning, but they may know that company better suits your needs. Without knowing any specifics, it is impossible for us to weigh in on the reasoning. There are defintely better companies than other for certain individuals, as some companies offer more and better coverages to more desirable clients.

    2) You can avoid that by getting an agent, which you already have done. If you feel you are being mistreated, you are not obligated to stay with that agent. Either ask for your account to be handled by someone else, or go to a different agency.

  3. How much is your premium? It is very likely the commission is super small by the way and your agent knows best for you but let’s see how much we are talking here.


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  5. 1. While it can seem odd as others have said it might be best to stay with that company. The agent likely knows that a lot of people look at price only. Some will consider specific coverages, but if it’s it’s price thing it makes it hard when company x is giving you say 2000 a year but company y is saying 1800. People will often go to company y no matter what. But what people don’t understand is company x is way better and faster with handling their claims where company y could be a nightmare. The real test of a policy isn’t the price it’s when you have a claim. Of course this is assuming all things are equal between company x and company y, there could be a lot of differences between the two policies. Which by your post where you are saying you want to make sure you aren’t over paying, could be an indication you are the person who is focused on price.

    2. There are so many factors that go into insurance that even going of the few things they ask for isn’t really a good metric. This is where independent agents and brokers come in, call around ask for quotes.

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