When you’re researching for a homeowners insurance company, the biggest thing you want to take into consideration is how many complaints there are and what type of complaints stand out. Many carriers are going to have a smudge here or there from their policyholders in one category or another due to claims that may not have gone the way their clients were hoping, premiums that the clients feel are a little excessive, or guidelines that are a bit too stringent. But for the most part, folks are fairly happy with their carriers as a whole.
When you shop your homeowners insurance, check out the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) site for consumer information, particularly if it’s a company with a good rate. To save a couple of dollars in premiums is not going to be worth it if you have to go through a big hassle come time to put in a claim. This site is going to give you the national complaint stats for each insurer. If the ratios are high for the company you are checking out, you want to move on.
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Issues and Complaints by policyholders
The NAIC collects complaints through state insurance regulators from consumers. The biggest complaints are always with claim payments – claim delays, denied claims, and settlement offers that were unsatisfactory. These are issues you don’t want to be concerned within a home insurance company.
There were also complaints regarding underwriting – the insurer’s operations involving the acceptance and rejection of applicants as well as setting rates, premiums and canceling of policies making up the median portion of the overall complaints. Let’s break these complaints down just a bit into the most prevalent.
With this complaint, the homeowners insurance company made threats or actually did cancel the policyholder’s contract. According to consumers, reasons for the cancellations ranged from claims the policyholders put in or payments that had not been made which were ultimately overall described as billing errors. There were also instances in which the carriers made threats to cancel if homeowners would not improve conditions with their properties including replacing roofs or updates within the dwellings.
Being able to contact the carrier or your agent is crucial at times, but consumers reported that this is not always a simple process. There is not just the issue of poor communication but also miscommunication such as being told something would be covered when it actually was not or that their rate would be one thing but it was another, lack of communication concerning important information or transitions such as being fitted with a new agent.
Coverage that is not sufficient is a big complaint among consumers who were unsatisfied with their current carrier and would be shopping for new homeowners insurance carriers. This implies their agents could have done a better job of making sure the right coverage was supplied when the policies were drawn up and explained the policy guidelines to the clients from the beginning so there was no confusion.
Claims being denied or unsatisfactory settlement offers were significant. The reasons for the denials often stemmed from carriers citing exclusions in the policies.
Rates would be consumers most common complaint as far as increases or the price of the plans being too excessive. Most of the clients didn’t know why the rates went up, which was a source of frustration. What they may not understand is there could be an increase in severe weather or catastrophic events in the region and a home repair could go up in cost, insurance fraud or even the crime rate may be elevated in the area which would bring about an increase in rates.
You hope that you aren’t going to ever really need your homeowners insurance but it would provide a source of security to know that, if you do, the company that you have is going to give the very best service in every aspect, even if that means higher premiums. You don’t want an agent that you can’t reach or a claim that you have to fight for. Do your research to prevent having complaints later.