How our Home Quote Process is Different
Our home insurance ‘quoting’ process is different than most. The major differences are 1) the information we gather at the beginning of the process and 2) how we present our options to make sure we discuss the most important limitations, exclusions and optional coverages.
We ask nearly all the rate and eligibility questions that would be needed on an application when we do our initial estimates. We also ask questions which may not be on the application, but COULD have an effect on your eligibility or require you to make changes to the house after closing. This means, we cover UP FRONT all the potential roadblocks or issues that might come up when finishing your application. This means it takes us more time upfront to run quotes (before we’ve earned the business) but it means our estimates are more accurate.
Many agencies only get the bare minimum information needed to run a “quote”. Then, after that “quote” has been accepted by the home buyer, the typical agency then goes and asks the other questions needed for an application. This can be an issue if you have a situation, discovered by those questions, which causes your rate to change or your eligibility for that particular company’s policy.
We also ask questions about additional issues that might come up AFTER closing once the insurance company does their inspection. For example, we ask “is there anywhere with 3 or more step/stairs outside the house without handrails?” Almost no insurance company APPLICATION has this question, but nearly ALL will require a handrail at exterior stairs with 3 or more steps. And they will find out after their exterior inspection. They will require you to add that railing AFTER you’ve already signed your application and closed on the house. Again, we don’t like surprises and we wouldn’t want our grandmother treated that way, so we ask and discuss those situations up front. We’re doing our best to look out for you to make sure you understand the potential situations you could run into after closing. We know this takes more time up front and means more work on our part (and in some cases will lose us the sale), but it’s how I would want to be treated and the right thing to do. Taking care of our clients is more important to us than the sale.
The Discussion of Coverages/Limitations/Exclusions
Most agencies focus their entire sales process entirely on 2 or 3 of the basic coverages, (dwelling amount, deductibles, for example) and price. This would be akin to buying a car and only comparing the color, number of doors, and price. Obviously NO ONE would do that. You may have wanted a Ford Explorer SUV and end up with a Honda Odyssey Minivan. (But hey, at least it was the right color.)
When we complete and send estimates, we provide a price range to show the difference between those with just “basic” coverages and those with several of the most important additional coverages. We will then take the appropriate time to review those with you and help explain them in understandable terms. Our process also makes sure we cover the most important typical limitations on a policy. For example, the standard homeowners policy limits theft of jewelry to $1000. May not be a big deal to someone without much jewelry, but to a family who may have accumulated $25,000 worth – it’s a potential $24,000 hole which should be addressed. This discussion and level of attention to detail adds a significant amount of additional time (usually 20-30 minutes to quote and 15-30 to discuss) to our process in comparison to the rest of the industry. However, we operate based on the values and goals of our owners (Michael & Allen), not just on the typical, unimpassioned, corporate, goal of “maximizing shareholder profits.” We want people cared for and looked after in the same manner we would want our grandmother taken care of.