I recently made a switch to a different company for my homeowner's insurance (details after the jump about why). I fear I may have made a big mistake, but I honestly don't understand ANYthing about insurance and the more I try to read about it and look at my policies, the more confused I get. It's like someone's speaking Mandarin to me. I feel like a colossal idiot and I have no one to ask anymore now that my dad, whom I relied on to help me with this kind of stuff, is gone. I'm wondering how much I messed up here, and what I should look for to fix it.
posted by emcat8 to home & garden (14 answers total)
I'm afraid that if my house burns down, the coverage I have won't even pay for the frame, let alone the lovely remodel and addition I did a few years ago. Former insurance company drove me crazy for years for a bunch of reasons, and they kept being bought by someone else and changing names, so I wanted to get a different company that would actually not keep fucking up my records and that I felt would pay out if my house burned down without giving me crap. I'd seen some friends get fucked over and so I did some research to find a company with a really high customer satisfaction rating -- I was more interested in good customer service than in cost and willing to pay a bit more for that.
My Former Insurer re-up due date came up, so I called New Company and went through the whole enroll questions with a person on the phone, and they said that since my Former Company insurance had lapsed, they had to send an inspector over to check the house. OK, guy came and said the big issue was moss on the roof, which I knew I had to deal with but had just not gotten around to it. They sent me online forms and I filled those out, and sent them a receipt for a fine jewelry item that I needed to add. Moss got taken care of two days later.
But the more I thought about, the worse I felt -- my previous coverage had replacement cost at $189,000, which is... really ridiculous when I think about it, because remodeling the house six years ago cost only a little less than that. If the house burns down, replacing it for that in my market would be really hard. But the New Company is giving me only $129,000 -- a few more if I get a new roof in the near future (I don't need one, the moss didn't damage it yet, but they want that). There is just no way I could rebuild my house for such a piddling amount. I couldn't even put drywall in for that amount.
I'm not sure how this works, anyway. I mean, if my house burns down or pieces of the space station crash into me, they would just give me $129,000 and then I'd have to pay the rest of whatever it cost to put in even shitty builder grade materials? What's the point in even having house insurance if they don't pay you enough to rebuild your house?
My dad was always the one who helped me with this kind of stuff since it is so hard for me to understand. And he was definitely a Depression-era kid who had umbrella policies and such -- I'd been considering one, even without really understanding the necessity, but I'm not sure I want to pay out $$ when I'd need every penny to rebuild in the event of a catastrophe. He passed his "plan for the worst at all available costs" mentality down to me, unfortunately. And this has been making me stress-sick and depressed, because I miss him and my sister and my mom, all of whom I could have talked to, and now I have no one to talk to about these things.
I haven't made my first payment yet (and it's less expensive, but wow, I'd rather pay more to feel like I'm covered). My Former Company has cancelled the old policy. It's been about two weeks, and I'm in sort of limbo, but I feel like I did a really stupid thing here. Can I actually get closer to the value of replacing the house? Is it standard to only have the replacement cost basically be piddly and not enough for a full replacement?
Not sure if these details are necessary but I'm single, female, in my 50s, work from home (but don't see clients, I'm a freelancer), have a perfect driving record (I've been torn about having my car policy there since it's a lot more than my current, but that's another subject) and have never made a homeowner's claim; I own the house outright and do not have a mortgage or loan.