To whom it may concern:
Please help me! I was with the same homeowners insurance company for 12 years. Upon receipt of my renewal notice, the new policy was increasing the deductible of the hurricane insurance portion of the policy to $4400.00. Since I do not live in a hurricane prone area I did not understand this and was told by a representative upon contacting them that even the areas in NJ that were not in a costal region were affected by the new deductible.
I decided to shop around and immediately found that other insurance companies were not doing this and hurricane damage was all part of the policy for my area. After shopping around I decided to go with Travelers insurance since that is where I have my two cars insured. On my previous policy that I was about to cancel the rebuild amount was going to be $212, 000.00 and the amount I was told Travelers came up with was $381, 000.00. I did question that but the total policy premium was actually $25.00 less so I decided to go with it. The new premium was charged to the mortgage company in the amount of $626.00 and the policy took effect July 05, 2012.
Shortly after the policy took effect I received a letter on Travelers letterhead stating the property would be getting an inspection. The letter clearly stated that, 1-An inspection company representative will contact you within the next few weeks to schedule an appointment, 2-The inspector will visit your property on the date of the appointment to review the INSIDE AND OUTSIDE of your home, 3-The inspector will provide identification prior to entering your home, and 4-We will contact you if the inspection reflects any significant differences from the information we already have about your home.
We did not hear anything until receiving a letter dated July 27, 2012, stating that the inspection was done. Surprise to us..we NEVER got a phone call from anyone wanting to make an appointment. So this means that someone was outside walking around taking pictures of our house without our knowledge. To add to this, the letter informed us that our cost to rebuild would now be estimated at $460, 500.00!!! (Believe me, if this house was worth that much, we would have sold at the height of the market and moved) This increase in estimate caused our premium to jump from the original $626.00 to $786.00. This is based on a walk around the house by the inspector; outside only. They are basing this on pre 1930 materials as our house was built prior to 1930. This is ridiculous as our home is not original materials from then anymore.
We then contacted Travelers' to make sure that the inspector had been to the correct address and had inspected the right house. The very professional, polite, and helpful gentleman then informed us that yes, they had the correct house and yes, that was the estimate. He also stated that he felt we were over insured at that amount as he could see from the pictures that our house was not that large and that he would talk to the underwriter about this. He then promised to send a copy of the pictures and report to us.
He contacted us a day or so later, after talking to the underwriter, but was unsuccessful in having the estimate brought down.
We contacted three other insurance companies for estimates. The Hartford ($242, 000), ESurance ($250, 000), Allstate ($250, 000). All these figures were based on extensive questions asked by the reps from each company to determine the rebuild estimates. Funny how all these are in line with one another and with our old insurance company High Point/Prudential. They all had a good laugh when I told them the estimate from Travelers.
Fast forward to today, 8/6/12, when we received our copy of the pics and report. WELL, let me tell you how unbelievable it was. What stuck out immediately was the "Attempt sheet" where is was stated that the so called inspector had tried on four different occasions to contact us. This is total BS as we have caller ID, an answering machine, and voice mail that will pick up if someone is on the phone and does not switch over to the second call. Oh, and did I mention that I am home 99.9% of the time due to having Multiple Sclerosis and I am on disability?? The report states that there was one time with no answer, two times he left messages and one time called Travelers and that they contacted us for him. NEVER HAPPENED!!!
So, how reliable is this report?? Also the square footage is higher by 200 sq. ft. than is shown on our tax records. He just guessed at pretty much everything. LIAR!! And, my car was in the driveway as shown in the pictures from the inspector, so why didn't he ring the doorbell and identify himself?
We contacted Travelers to inform them of these problems, however, they informed us that they were not changing the estimate. I asked to contact the inspection company and they gave me that information. My wife contacted them and got nowhere with them. They kept telling her that if there was a problem we had to contact Travelers and Travelers should contact them. LOL So, back to Travelers we go, where the very professional, polite and helpful rep suggested we contact their Consumer Affairs Dept and lodge a complaint; how hopeful are we that something will be done? Not very.
We realize that we have the right to change insurance companies yet again, however, the inconvenience and possible confusion with the mortgage company, payment, refunds, etc just is not worth it at this time. Is it fair that we are being forced to accept what we know is an overpriced, ridiculous rebuild value. A $460, 500 home would not even fit on our property..we would have to build it sideways to fit. We should not have to take this much insurance; if something happens and it only costs $300, 000 to rebuild, are they going to send us a check for the remaining amount???? I think not.
At this point, we feel that if this was done to us, it was surely done to others. This inspection company should be held responsible for the untruths told by their inspector, trespassing and just in general not giving a hoot.
Please help us