Sutter Insurance is a small privately-run insurance company based out of California, it provides a multitude of insurance options for customers in the Western U.S., and the company has been in business for over 40 years (since 1975). Stutter Insurance is currently licensed to provide insurance in 4 Western states: California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The bulk of their clients are located in the California area, and the company has kept a low profile and focused on a few key states where they provide auto and home insurance options.
Sutter Insurance offers very few residential and automotive insurance policies. Sutter’s residential policies are for homeowners, condo owners, and renters, while their automotive policies are offered at exclusively commercial transport entities such as truck companies (for truck insurance) and commercial auto insurance. Sutter Insurance does not offer private auto insurance, however, the company does offer homeowners insurance plans. Their mixed product offerings make them a unique company as their automotive focus is exclusively commercial while their residential focus is mostly for private owners.
Sutter Insurance does not sell insurance policies directly – clients have to reach out to agents in the state they reside in (they offer services in CA, NV, OR and WA) and independent agents can reach out to clients with a quote. Sutter Insurance is located in Petaluma, CA.
Sutter Insurance homeowners policies are available for the following:
- Homes in CA, NV, OR and WA
- Condominium units in CA, NV, OR and WA
- Rental units in CA, NV, OR and WA
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Sutter Insurance has very few financial ratings due to its low-profile. Sutter has only been rated by a single major financial institution – A.M. Best. Sutter Insurance is not listed on the Better Business Bureau and there are very few complaints because the company seems to attract a few customers. A.M. Best downgraded their financial rating from “A-” (Excellent) to “B-” (Good) in 2014, and their finances were downgraded from stable to average.
A.M. Best still rates Sutter Insurance a “B-” company for finances due to its underperformance as the company started degrading since 2014. This came about as a result of multiple bad decisions in the company’s management, namely they experienced severe losses in their business over the last 5 years, and the company didn’t have a history of structured spending. Sutter’s risk capitalization has also seen a dip over the last few years, therefore A.M. Best’s rating has remained unchanged.
Sutter is not listed in the Better Business Bureau (BBB) index and the reason why is lack of verified information – which is highly unusual for a company with a certified track record of operating for 40 years. The company claims their small size and anonymity is an advantage over large insurance companies because they are not “crippled” by the bureaucracy which takes them a long time to respond to claims. Sutter claims that their customer support is better-able to storm the weather of market fluctuations and that their small size makes them different.
Sutter’s main homeowners insurance policy is its HO-3 policy: available for homes in CA, OR, NV and WA with a minimum property value of $75,000. Sutter takes very high-risk clients including clients that don’t have a perfect credit record, clients that have been dropped by their previous insurer or clients that come from unconventional mortgages. Their main requirement for the HO-3 policy is that the home value exceeds $75K.
Sutter’s HO-3 program includes all replacement/repair costs if the home is damaged, while personal belongings and liability (medical expenses) can be added as an add-on. Sutter Insurance is available to all homeowners who don’t qualify for conventional home insurance or have been declined by other insurance companies. Sutter accepts high-risk homes such as homes built before 1945 or homes which are deemed too risky for other insurance companies. Sutter Insurance even takes wood-shake roofs and homes that have pools with diving boards.
- Minimum home value: $75,000
- Maximum home value: $1M (additional coverage can be added)
- Accepted: old/high-risk homes, clients who have had their previous policies revoked, and more
Sutter offers an alternative to their main HO-3 plan. If customers are not eligible for the HO-3 plan (mostly due to the architecture style or protection class the company deems inadequate)Sutter’s HO-8 policy provides coverage for homes valued at least $50,000, up to $300,000. Sutter pays out the cash value of the damages in case of a claim.
Dwelling Fire DP-1 Policy
Dwelling Fire DP-1 is another alternative to the standard HO-3 plan, but it’s focused on even more high-risk properties that are not inhabited by the owners. These are usually low-value investment homes or rented/seasonal homes, which the owner does not occupy as a primary residence. Sutter insures these homes on the same cash-value principle, and the DP-1 policy is available for homes worth at least $35,000 up to $300,000.
Add-On: Personal Liability
Sutter can add personal liability to any plan – in the event of an accident the company will not only cover the repair cost of the building but if the owner is injured they will bear the medical costs as well. This is available as an add-on for every homeowners plan.
Sutter Insurance received negative customer reviews – the company has very few customers, and those customers report receiving poor customer service; i.e. having to call one person which takes a long time to respond. The small size of the company is rated as a negative by most customers who do not receive adequate service.