Why are our home insurance policies so damn high in the Bay Area?

May 16, 2023

Glad you asked. Take a seat and read about the history of insurance reform in Texas.

Many years ago I was a consumer activist advocating for consumers with a construction defect in their new homes. I volunteered my time and money beginning in the mid 1990’s up until 2011. During that time I saw the Texas Legislature usher in home insurance reform with promises of lower rates and fair marketing practices. At the time Governor Rick Perry issued this statement:

“This comprehensive reform measure will stabilize the home and auto insurance market, rid the insurance industry of fraudulent practices and ensure Texans have access to fair rates offered in a competitive market,” Perry said during thesigning ceremony at a home construction site in Temple. “For some Texans that will mean significant rate discounts. For all Texans it will mean rate practices that are transparent and fair.”

That was 20 years ago. So how did that work fer ya cowboy?

In the beginning, or about in 2002.
In 2002 insurance rates was a huge campaign issue. Rick Perry won reelection promising to reform insurance, releasing the power of the free market to do their thing. Prior to 2003 insurance companies had to justify rate increases prior to raising rates. They also had to provide all inclusive policies covering fire, water, wind, storm etc. For consumers it made it easy to compare rates.

Then 2003 happened
The state decided to change to a file and use system where companies filed their new rates and started using the new rates immediately. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) could, after the fact, challenge the rate increases. TDI challenged few if any. They also let insurance companies offer just the basic policies that cover only wind, storm, and water events. Some how they let them adjust the cost to rebuild the home which in my case increased by 50% in one year causing the premium to skyrocket. They let the companies remove coverage such as foundation, water, and sewer damage but they didn’t have to adjust the premiums to account for the lost coverage. In my case I had to actually buy it back.

20 Years later
Just look at your policy. We are getting royally screwed. Premiums have skyrocketed. Companies have left the area. Deductables are so high you wonder why you have insurance in the first place! Again in my situation I eventually left USAA after they raised my premiums from $4000 to $5000. The cost to rebuild is over $440,000 making my deductible $8800!!!! I have documented most of the years from 2000 to just a few years ago. You can see that information below.

Politically speaking
Our State Representative Dennis Paul is on the insurance committee. You might want to ask what in the living hell he has bee focusing on besides insurance rates in his district. Maybe he is too busy protecting guns, praising god, and limiting the rights of gays.

My Premiums Before and After Insurance Reform of 2003:

2000: $783\year $500 deductible HOB policy all inclusive.

2014: $3800\year $4800 deductible HOA with foundation, water, and sewer optional

Historic Increases of my Premiums Since 2000:

2000$783.00$500.00 0.00%Before insurance became an issue
2001$862.00$500.00 10.00%Removed mold coverage but did not decrease premium
2002$1,060.00$500.00 22.90%Became an election issue
***2003$1,375.00$500.00 29.70%Includes a 7% reduction and use of HO-A Policies
2004$1,589.00$500.00 15.40%Insurance reform in 2003. Had to add back water, foundation and sewer coverage
2005$1,352.00$500.00 -14.90%No change in policy
2006$1,363.00$2,400 <1%Deductible increased
**2007$1,600.00$2,400 15.10%Rebuild cost 50% higher
*2008$1,900.00$2,400 18.00%Tier II classification
2009$2,300.00$2,400 21.00%No change in policy
2010$2,800.00$4,800 24.00%Doubled deductible.
2011 $4,800 No change in policy
2012 $4,800 No change in policy
2013$3,300.00$4800 No change in policy
2014$3,800.00$4,80015.00%No change in policy

*Reclassifying your home in a “tier zone”. This resulted in an 18% increase to my rates in 2008. The TDI had no comment when this was brought to their attention. Next year USAA could create yet another type of tier zone and the TDI will do nothing.

**Using a different system to determine the cost to rebuild a home. 
This resulted in an increase of 50% in the cost to rebuild my home, and a 15% increase in premiums. This new cost to rebuild the home was based upon a “new” method created by USAA. 

***Removing protection. USAA changed to an HO-A type of policy making sewer, water, and foundation damage optional to save money for those who do not want or can’t afford the coverage. Unfortunately, when they removed the coverage, they did not reduce the rates. When I added the coverage back into the policy it resulted in an 29% increase.

Damn lizard. GEICO raises premiums by over 50%

January 13, 2023

I can’t wait to see my homeowners renewal. That will come in another post.

A few years ago I dumped USAA after being an ignorant loyal customer for over 20 years. They raised my home insurance by over 25% and I had to start looking. You can look at the increases from 2000-2015 here. I eventually found a new policy that was actually better and much less expensive. I also gave GEICO a look for my auto insurance for a lower rate and to take advantage of the USAA Subscriber Savings Account.

USAA has a savings account for all insured members. When you leave the insurance portion of USAA they send the balance of this account to you after 6 months. At that time mine was one $12,000. I gladly left and built a patio in the back yard. If you are currently a USAA member you might want to call them and ask about your “Subscriber Savings Account”. It is different than the yearly check they send you based upon their activity over the year.

Back to GEICO. GEICO has been a pretty good insurance company until now. There is absolutely no way to justify a 50% increase in premiums. Nothing changed on my side. Of course GEICO is using inflation as their reason to increase premiums. It’s a fad. I think it is bullshit.

So I’m off to look for better coverage. Again.

What Beto has to say tonight

September 30, 2022

The time for screwing around is over. Beto needs to hammer Abbott, challenge his lies, and remind voters of his record.

In tonight‘s debate Beto should start every sentence with the following “you’ve been in office for eight years and yet you still haven’t accomplished anything on [the issue being discussed]”.

Beginning a sentence with this phrase can remind voters that after eight years Abbott is still complaining about immigration. You would think after 20 years of republican rule in the state he would’ve found a solution especially since they had a republican president and congress.

The cost of college education has skyrocketed. The cost of a home insurance and health insurance is also through the roof. After eight years of Abbott being governor our state brings up the bottom on education, teacher retirement, teacher healthcare, and quality of life. Texas is ranked number one for mass shootings. We are ranked number one in the number of rapes in the state. We are number one in the number of uninsured citizens.

Abbott has a record of incompetence and failure. Beto needs to say it. Over and over.

Texas by the numbers. (it ain’t pretty)

September 5, 2022

Greg Abbott has begun his campaign attacking Beto O’Rourke. It’s all he has. Abbott can’t run on his record but Beto can and probably will. After 20 years of republican rule in Texas with 8 years as Governor, here is Abbott’s record:

Don’t Move to Texas

August 24, 2022

It’s hard to disagree when Texas leads the nation in mass shootings (8), is the easiest state to get a gun, a state where anyone can walk around in public with a loaded AR15, a 100 round barrel clip, a silencer, and wearing body armor. A state with out of control property taxes, electricity rates, college tuition rates, home prices, and home insurance premiums. Texas ranks 49th in benefits for teachers in the nation, 45th in education. Texas teachers are underpaid, under appreciated, and under attack. Texas doesn’t take too kindly to gays, muslims, Mexicans, or anyone who even looks illegal. Texas has flooded the streets with unlimited guns putting our law enforcement under constant stress to keep us safe. And Texas is ranked 48th in quality of living

In short, Texas sucks. Do yourself a favor, Don’t Mess Move With To Texas.

I need to do something! How do I get involved?

August 12, 2022

Electricity prices, property taxes, housing costs, college tuition, and home insurance are out the roof in Texas. Gun violence is out of control. Texas ranks 45th in education. Women’s rights have been slashed and you are telling yourself “I need to do something!“. Well you have about 2 months to do something to correct the direction of our State. It’s up to you to get involved. This is how.

Volunteer with a campaign. Find a campaign to work on. Sign up. Volunteer.

Volunteer with our clubs. The Bay Area Democratic Movement, Bay Area New Democrats, and the Bay Area Association of Democratic Women has opened a joint headquarters and will be campaigning for all of our Democrats across the Bay Area including Beto, Lina Hidalgo, and Adrian Garcia. We are located on the corner of Diana and Bay Area Blvd. 1215 Bay Area Blvd. We are open 11-6 Monday – Saturday. Closed Sunday. (Times will change as we get closer to the election.) We will be a one stop shop for signs, phone banking, block walking, rallies, and more. Sign up here to get periodic news on our HQ. Our phone number is 346-384-0387.

Phonebank. Phonebanking will be conducted throughout the day and evening. We will be calling voters in our own neighborhood. Our phonebook system is easy to use and does not require your personal cell phone! We will provide training. Again, join our newsletter to keep informed of when we will have training.

Block Walk/Literature drop. We will have our own door hanger available to leave at a door advocating for all of our candidates. Volunteer to work your own neighborhood. We will train you. It’s easy and great exercise.

Put a sign in your yard. Come by the HQ and get a sign for your candidate. (Donations greatly appreciated!) Show your support and enthusiasm for changing our State. Signs will be available soon. We will also be putting out signs in the district. If you have a business or property we can get a large sign for you. Once again, sign up here to learn when we get Beto signs!

Donate money. If you can’t talk, or walk, then donate! Our headquarters would greatly appreciate a donation to our HQ! The money will be used for rent, utilities, phonebanking, and literature. Donate to the HQ here.

Get involved! After 30 years of republican rule we have an excellent chance of a lifetime to finally put our state on the right track. DO SOMETHING! NOW!

WTH is wrong with Texans?

February 3, 2022

You’re freezing your butt off. You’re paying a tax for the electrical grid upgrade that was supposed to have happened in 2003. You’re paying high electricity prices due to deregulation in 2003. You’re paying outrageous home insurance prices due to the failure of insurance deregulation in 2003. You’re paying some of the highest property taxes in the country. You’re paying high college and trade school prices ever since Abbot and company deregulated college tuition in 2003. 

And over 75,000 of friends, family, and fellow Texans have died from COVID partially due to Abbott’s politicizing of COVID.

Yet you’re still voting for him? WTH is wrong with you?

My outdoor covered patio paid for by USAA

March 9, 2021

We just completed an outdoor patio. The contractor did a GREAT job! If you are in the Clear Lake area and are interested in his contact information email me at johncoby@sbcglobal.net. His crew was fast, very professional, and the results are fantastic! So how did USAA get involved? Glad you asked.

Ceiling fan, lights, power for a TV.

Paving stones, stones around the base

Last year USAA raised my home insurance from $4000/year to $5000. I have been with USAA for over 25 years so it was difficult to leave because I believed they would always take care of their members of the Armed Forces. I was wrong. I eventually found a better policy for $3000/year and I also switched my cars to GEICO for another substantial reduction. 

When I joined USAA they created a Subscribers Savings Account for me. Periodically they would send a check from this account during years of low activity. Members do not put money into this account, USAA does. Mine grew to over $14,000 after 25 years. Six months after I left USAA sent me the balance of this account. I used it to buy the USAA patio.
So raising my rates by 25% was actually a good thing. In a strange way.

#NoPlaceButTexas is no longer a slogan. It's a joke.

March 7, 2021

Texas has a history of cute sayings such as “Come and Take it”, “We do things bigger in Texas”, “Don’t Mess with Texas”, “Thank god for Mississippi”, and my favorite “No Place But Texas”. 

No Place but Texas was once a slogan celebrating the unique qualities of living in Texas, although I question if we are really unique. Much like every other state in the country we band together to help each other during times of need. We help neighbors rebuild fences after a hurricane. We provide supplies to those in need. We donate money. None of that is unique to Texas. 

Now No Place but Texas is nothing but a joke. Looney Louie Gohmert, #CancunCruz, Trump Wannabe Greg Abbott, indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton, leadership failures, science deniers, guns on demand, no place but Texas. Literally. 

Recently the “Energy Capitol of the World” was plunged into darkness during the winter storm of 2021. While the rest of the country was hunkered down enjoying their power and water, most of Texans were freezing their asses off unable to flush the toilet. Over 50 died. Republican elected officials were silent before and after the freeze leaving the Democrats to help those in need while #CancunCruz fled the state to weather the storm in Mexico with his hot wife and loving 10 year old whining brats. Yep. No Place But Texas. 

From Reuters

In 2003 besides deregulation electricity, which brought the freeze higher electricity rates for consumers, Texas deregulated college tuition and home insurance. Like electricity rates the cost of college skyrocketed and home insurance is out the roof. No Place But Texas.

Recently Greg Abbott has ended the mask mandate and will fully open the State 2 months too son, just like he did last summer which resulted in over 45,000 Texans losing their lives. His failures reminds me of another saying “All hat and no cattle”.

Luckily for the Republican Party, who ushered in this Texas sized stupidity, “We do things bigger in Texas”. We have the biggest idiots in the country who will forget about how they froze their nuts off or how much they are paying for electricity or tuition or home insurance. They will forget about the 45,000 who died of COVID or the 50 who froze to death. In 2022 they will again vote for the very people who did this to them. Again, No Place But Texas.

Well as the saying goes in Mississippi, “Thank god for Texas”.

USAA members. Do you know about your "Subscriber Savings Account"?

October 28, 2020

Last year USAA increased by home insurance premium by 25% from $4000 to $5000. I had been a member of USAA for over 25 years. Obviously loyalty means nothing to USAA. This increase was enough to consider moving away and it came with a surprise.

If you decide to leave USAA insurance the balance of your “Subscriber Savings Account” is returned to you after 6 months. If you have been with them for as long as I have, 25+ years, that could be a significant chunk of change. In my case it is paying for a family trip to Italy with money to spare. (If we can ever get past this virus!)

If you are considering moving and getting much better rates, call them and ask what your balance is. It might help you make a decision. USAA may be competitive in other areas and their service has always been outstanding but it is not worth that much. Many people in the Clear Lake area has dumped USAA because their premiums are just so out of touch with the industry. It seems like all they want to cover is the areas that are safe. BTW. I moved from USAA last year. Saved $3000 a year with the SAME coverage. Moved my home insurance and auto insurance. GEICO was actually much cheaper. They will have to find someone else to donate to pay for their 18% bonuses to their employees.

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