San Jose

Lower Insurance Bill, Yet Homeowner Cancels Policy


Consumers generally seek our assistance when a bill is headed higher.

But not Sorin Damian. He complained to us about a bill that is headed lower: his home insurance.

"I had to read everything [in the policy]," he said.

Like the many trees in his yard, Damian’s loyalty to his homeowner’s insurance company bore fruit. A notice offered renewal plus a $56 savings.

But instead or renewing, the retired Romanian businessman questioned the math. He calculated that his premium is falling 12 percent and then discovered that The Hartford is cutting his coverage about 20 percent.

He asked: Where’s the other 8 percent?

"In somebody else’s pocket," he said. "Don’t tell me whose."

Damian said The Hartford told him he needed less coverage because the cost of rebuilding his San Jose home in the event of a disaster has declined $75,000, from $392,000 to $317,000.

He doubts that drop is accurate. But even if it were, Damian believes that a 20 percent cut in coverage should yield a 20 percent cut in price – a one to one ratio.

The Hartford told him that’s not the way it works.

"They said, 'it’s our calculation,'" he said. "And they put it writing."

A spokesperson for The Hartford declined to address Damian’s policy case. She would only speak in broad terms.

"A decrease in the amount of replacement coverage for the home, does not always correlate to an identical decrease in price," she said. "There are a variety of factors that contribute to the cost of an insurance policy."

We asked for details but didn’t get them.

None of this sits well with Damian. He feels misled by a company he trusted.

"Come on," he said with a sigh. "What’s going on?"

Damian said he eventually dropped the Hartford. He said he found better coverage at a better rate.

That’s savvy advice for all consumers: Regularly reconsider your insurance needs. And shop around for the best premium – whether it’s headed up or down.

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