Shopping for Homeowners Insurance
April 29, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Homowners' Insurance Filter: Should I stay with Hanover or try another agent and keep shopping?

Our homeowners insurance is up for renewal in May; current homeowners is with Hanover, auto is with another company. I was a bit stunned when I received the renewal quote for our homeowners' insurance this year - it was twice of what we'd payed last year. My insurance agent is telling me that we need to combine our home and auto coverage to be able to get rates comparable to the rate we paid last year for our home. The lowest quote my insurance agent can get me is if we switch our car over to Hanover and stay with them. I'm trying to decide whether or not to keep shopping. Two questions:

1. I have no idea how insurance agents work, so does her representation that I need to switch our car insurance over to get comparable homeowners' insurance (i.e., something less than DOUBLE what we paid last year) seem accurate and/or reasonable?

2. Have any of you filed either home or auto insurance claims with Hanover, and if so, how was your experience?
posted by Dr. Zira to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Why don't you figure out what your car insurance company would charge you to also insure your home, then use that to try and negotiate a lower rate from Hanover?

It's not uncommon for insurance companies to offer volume discounts when you do more business with them, but that doesn't explain why your rate jumped so much.

If your agent realizes she's more likely to lose you than generate a bunch of new business (by also getting your car insurance policy), she may be able to find a better solution for you (she may also have more leverage if there's someone at Hanover who'd need to authorize a special deal for you). And if she can't, then at that point I'd guess you really are getting Hanover's best offer, so having some other quotes might be helpful for comparison.
posted by _Silky_ at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2011

It certainly can't hurt to shop around, if you have a few hours to deal with it. You may find a better deal, you may not. You're not going to know for sure until you get quotes from a variety of places.

Our homeowners insurance company was always harping us to change our auto coverage to them -- but when we sought out the particulars it turns out it was more expensive than staying where we are.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2011

Best answer: From Ms. Vegetable, who works for a large insurance company:

1. Insurance companies want to get your business - ALL your business, so home and auto together are very profitable for them. I doubt that you can get your HO insurance that much lower, though.
2. Your particular agent isn't working for you. Hanover uses independent agents, which means they have contracts with multiple insurance companies and can sell coverages with different ones. Why your agent is pushing bundling HO and auto with Hanover - instead of looking out for your best interests and finding you quotes for his/her other companies for both home and auto - isn't so obvious to me. (Well, the more premium you pay, the higher the commission to him/her, but besides that.)
3. I'd find another insurance agent.

If you want more info, let me know.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:01 PM on April 29, 2011

Best answer: Google AMICA. Number 1 on J. D. Powers for the last 9 years running, auto & home. We switched.
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:46 AM on April 30, 2011

Best answer: You probably won't be able to "negotiate a lower rate" because your agent does not have the ability to change the price of the insurance. Her underwriting department will be setting the rate. The agent will be able to offer discounts if you have multiple policies (or for other reasons), but probably won't be terribly flexible on pricing simply because she doesn't have any ability to change the pricing. So her representation does seem accurate.

I'm not familiar with Hanover, but if what a robot mad out of meat says is true (as far as Hanover using independent agents who are able to get a contract with multiple companies), then she should be able to offer another company that is more reasonable price-wise. She should be able to offer you quotes from multiple companies. It is generally not the case that all insurance companies raise their rates so much over the same time period, so you should be able to find something cheaper.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:06 PM on April 30, 2011

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