Monday, January 5, 2015

Insurance company sleaziness

Right after Christmas, I received a letter (dated December 23) from State Farm, the insurance company that carries my homeowners policy.  North Carolina law requires that the insurance company notify you if it is going to increase your rate by more than the amount that the North Carolina Rate Bureau has approved.  That sounds good to me, a nice bit of consumer protection.  This letter notified me that State Farm was going to be raising my rate by one dollar more than the approved amount.  Sending a letter just to make a buck doesn't seem worthwhile, but the letter was, under the guise of alerting me, actually doing something rather sleazy:  It was giving State Farm a way to raise future rates without notifying me.

After the language about the current rate change, the letter included this lovely section:

I also understand and agree that this form shall remain effective for all future terms regardless of whether the premium charged to me at renewal is based on a rate greater, less than or equal to the rates applicable in the State of North Carolina.  I also understand and agree that this form shall remain effective for any continuation, renewal, reinstatement or replacement of the policy with another Homeowners policy issues by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, except as provided by law.
Translation:  By acknowledging this tiny rate increase, I also had to release State Farm from telling me about any future increases.

Of course, I didn't have to sign this form, but if I did not, State Farm would not continue to offer me coverage.

What's sad for State Farm is that until I received this letter, I was actually pretty happy with them and had no plans to shop around.  Now, though, I trust them less than before and so will, when renewal time comes, check out other options.

Poorly played, State Farm.


Rosanne said...

I needed to get one month of activity on a site, and if I had not read the fine print, the account would have been on auto-renew. There is an email address where you can tell them how they can improve, and in an email containing quite a few caps, I stated my thoughts. I was assured that my account had now been set to be active for one month only.

I'm still going to check and make sure.

Mark said...

That is always a wise choice.


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