When I bought my house, I may have been ignorant, but I honestly thought all insurance coverages were the same.
Unfortunately, that is not true.
Now that I deal with insurance claims regularly, I have learned that some insurance companies are better to deal with when making a claim than others.
When doing a property inspection and I discover wind/ hail Damage I always ask the homeowner to have they filed a claim before? I also ask them who is their insurance company. The second question is usually the more important question because once I find out who their insurance is, I also find out how likely it is that they will approve the claim and how much work will be put into the claim by me the contractor. Some companies are horrible to deal with and others really care about their customers.
So, in my opinion and with my experience, here are my least favorite to favorite starting with my least favorite.
#5. The worst and my least favorite company by far to deal with is AllState
A lot of the policies I have ran into have a building code upgrade exclusion which basically means if the building codes have changed to construct your roof system differently it is not covered by your insurance. For example, in 2019 I did some work for a homeowner in IL. They had existing plywood that was 3/8” thick. The building code was changed to require a homeowner to have a minimum of 1/2” plywood or OSB orientated strand board. The problem is when the homeowner filed this claim for a hailstorm the damage that was covered was the shingles and underlayment only it didn’t cover the newly required decking which cost the homeowner thousands of dollars. Ice and water shield are another very important component of a roof and is required by IRC building codes it prevents leaks and if the house you bought didn’t have it this is an expense you can be liable for paying out of pocket.
Another problem with Allstate is when you file a claim, they often send independent adjusters out which do not work for Allstate and cannot make a decision on if the damage is going to be covered or not. They independent adjuster will often take photos and send them in to a desk adjuster who will make their decision by looking at photos. In my opinion it is better if they are on scene and go on the roof with you. Many claims with Allstate I have had to file for a reinspect and the process just ends up taking longer.
#4. Second worst to deal with would be Traveler’s Insurance. To me it seems
They like to make a contractor jump through hoops. One claim specifically I showed them a document or building code required by the city I was working on that stated they will not allow you to do siding on one wall of the property if the current siding that was damaged is no longer available. This is also a building code in which this case the homeowner had building code coverage. After travelers took their own test to see if the siding was available (which is done by running an ITEL) they came back and gave me a siding color suggestion. I applied for the permit and it was denied for it not being a suitable replacement according to their village code. I sent them documentation of this, and they came back and told me I have to run my own ITEL basically so the same test twice. I did and the suggested replacement came back as the same color. I sent that in and they still had me apply a second time for this permit which again, surprise it was denied. They finally paid for the full replacement of the siding but made me as stated before jump through hoops to get that done.
#3 Third worst insurance company has got to be Berkshire Hathaway guard insurance.
I did three claims with them last year and they were all outsourced to a third-party adjuster called NARS or NARISK. The adjuster there wouldn’t respond for days and when I sent them documentation of the supplements they stonewalled and ignored my requests. One request was for flashing around 4 skylights which is necessary stuff. The adjuster said they will not cover it and after going back and forth with him it was clear to me that he either was purposely not paying what they owed for or that he was just ignorant in the components that made up a roof. They also didn’t pay out for height charges when the roof was two stories and left off chimney flashing on another claim these are obvious things that really shouldn’t be missed if you do this type of work for a living so that’s why I have them at 3rd.
#2 Second, a good insurance company is, State Farm.
When I hear the homeowner has State Farm, I am happy to hear it. It typically means I am going to be meeting with an educated adjuster and I have had to fight with only probably one of them on something. A large percentage of my run ins with a state farm adjuster was pleasure able and their estimates were pretty much spot on in regard to what it took to do the job. I really like and am a strong advocate for State Farm.
#1 One insurance company to deal with is one you might not have heard of it is ERIE insurance
I have never had one claim denied by Erie as long as the homeowner had water coming in, they are also right on with their estimates and very fast as far as getting back to you with correspondence. I would strongly recommend them to anyone considering buying a home.
Hopefully this article is helpful in considering an insurance company and will help
You avoid some headaches should you ever have to file
A claim. This is based on my actual claims that were done in 2020