Insurance Filter
September 21, 2016 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Mrs. Ivan and I need new insurance on our home and autos. I'm in Oklahoma, and trying to dodge the "Actual Cash Value Endorsement" scam. I'm really looking for help in research: looking for best value/best coverage for the dollar, of course. Any recommendations as to research avenues?

Like everyone else in the world, we hate our insurance company. But there has to be one out there that is better, we believe. We need help from the hive mind...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you talking to insurance agents or insurance brokers ? (Generally, a broker will have more to offer, and will answer your questions).

And you're free to say "no, I want replacement cost" as the endorsement, not cash value, and walk away if they won't. (A good broker will show you the cost differences and/or risk associated with either/or)

That said, we left State Farm after 18 years (and two claims - windshield crack and hitting a deer, no house claims) for a different place (more local) via a broker.
posted by k5.user at 9:26 AM on September 21, 2016

I haven't started looking yet, other than AAA (after which I've read that they are terrible in homeowners payouts), and I'm looking for some global wisdom (like use a broker rather than an agent--thanks!) and some granular detail advice if the hive mind can provide it. Very dissatisfied with State Farm, our current provider, btw...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:44 AM on September 21, 2016

"Price Optimization" is a real thing and it pisses me off. Many insurance companies will raise your rates for no reason other than they know you are complacent. It looks like that site,, is also recommended by Consumer Reports for researching insurance. It is interesting because NPR reported about it and listed Progressive as a "no price optimization" company, but Consumer Reports has them listed as a "no comment" company. State Farm is listed by both as a company that does not do Price Optimization, but it sounds like you aren't happy with them.

I have not had to file any insurance claims for years, so I can't help you with that part.
posted by jillithd at 9:59 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm actually a fan of State Farm in terms of their claims handling. They slightly low balled us on the third auto claim (which, incidentally, was the only total loss of the three), but negotiating it up a couple thousand to something a bit more reasonable was super easy.

Our rates didn't even increase in any meaningful way until said third claim despite all three being at fault. Claims were super-easy every time and involved zero hassle in getting the repairs paid for and completed by a shop of our choice.

A friend of ours had an excellent claims experience on her home policy when her neighbor's house caught fire, which spread to her house. Her agent was out there at 11:30PM with cash in hand to get her through the first few days. After she decided to stay with us while her house was being repaired they insisted on paying us for rent, even.

To more directly answer the question, the easiest way to compare is to use an independent broker. The other option is to call up an agent for each of the companies you are considering and ask for a quote. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes per company. When we were shopping around we had them supply a quote for specific coverage we knew we wanted and a couple of alternative levels of coverage that they thought were appropriate. That gives you an apples-to-apples comparison but also gets you options/coverages you might not have considered.

In our case (in Tulsa) State Farm was cheapest overall. They were a bit higher on homeowners than Farmers and whoever else we got quotes from, but the auto coverage was significantly cheaper, especially after the discount for having homeowners with them, so the total cost was the cheapest by far. That was with replacement value on everything and liability limits on the auto coverage that would have paid for any car on the road. (Oklahoma's minimum required liability is criminally low, IMO)
posted by wierdo at 10:25 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

If there is a remote possibility that you qualify for USAA, it's worth a phone call to check on your eligibility. When I called, they looked up all of our parents to see if any had USAA coverage at any point. It's worth having them search for all parents - we qualified under the one parent I was sure would not have had USAA. It's consistently a low-cost, high-quality standout on the Consumer Reports ratings. If you qualify, getting a quote from USAA is a good place to start.

If you don't qualify for USAA, then Amica is another Consumer Reports favorite.
posted by 26.2 at 11:24 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was also going to recommend USAA. They've been great since a tree fell in my roof a few weeks ago during Hermine and while we were all ultimately disappointed in the payout after Katrina flattened my parents' house my mother nevertheless described them as a "class act". I've never made an auto claim however.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:35 AM on September 22, 2016

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