The Readers Write

Beverly Rosenbaum

I just read the article you (Carla Cawlfield) wrote way back in 2002. I found it very interesting and verrry scary. I am a first time home buyer. I have a contract on a home in the Dallas area. I am presently in Miami - moving back to my home state (yeah!!!) in October.

I have been calling around for insurance rates prior to my closing date - I'm bumfuzzled. I try to compare each quote - impossible. One agent tells me don't accept anything less than an HO3 - one tells me an HOA is the best you can get, and the other guy doesn't know what he's talking about, however he doesn't know what an HO3 is. That's enough to make me be edgy right there.

Anyway my point - do you guys have any updated information on insurance companies you'd like to share?? I'd appreciate anything you could offer besides it's expensive - I already figured that one out all by myself.

Incidentally I used to live in Houston (Westheimer and Gessner) and when I got my very 1st computer I was a HAL-PC member.

Carla's response

Here are some companies that I have heard about recently who are giving competitive rates--AAA, AARP (you may not be eligible), Farm Bureau, and Nationwide. In no way am I endorsing these specific companies, I just happen to know some other people who shopped around settled on each of these this year.

I have been keeping my toe in the insurance debacle for over three years now. What I have learned is each company is different, the info they gave me last year is no longer valid, and the insurance policies and rates they will be offering next year in no way resemble the info they are giving you on the phone thia year. The following is the canned response I gave another HAL-PC member who asked pretty much the same questions you are asking:

"I hate to tell you this, but you are trying to build a superhighway on a bed of quicksand. You are chasing a moving target. The insurance situation changes, so any info given you is subject to being updated.

If you are trying to get a policy on property located in the state of Texas, we are still in a state of flux. I would quit worrying about chasing the “best” and “most” coverage you can get. Settle for reasonable coverage for a few years, until we get some normalcy back into this industry.

Yes, an HOB policy covers more “stuff” than an HOA, and it also costs more. But an apt analogy is that a Lexus is “better” than a Chevy. Do you NEED a Lexus, or will a Chevy do? If you REALLY want technical info, Google for the “Texas Insurance Commission” as they are the governing body responsible for setting the terms of policies.

I would suggest that you give up on trying to figure out which is the “best” agency or company to go with, and see who is still offering the type of coverage you feel comfortable with. Get as high a deductible as you can, like 1% or even 3% if you can get it. (This also lowers your premium considerably).

On a personal note, live in your house as though you have NO insurance coverage. That is, watch for obvious no-no's like greasy rags, overloaded extension cords, hazards that guests might trip over (inside and outside your home), turn off the water to your house when you go on vacation (turn off the water heater, too). Install and keep motion detector security lights going.

It is best if you can refrain from filing a claim. Most companies will no longer offer you coverage if you have filed a homeowner's claim in the last 5 years.

It's a jungle out there. Good luck."

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