Liberty Mutual Home Protector Plus Review

March 19, 2012 1 Comment »


Well, strike up the band! Liberty Mutual is now offering their “Home Protector Plus™ program,” which…wait a minute…after careful review…is a home insurance policy that offers the same basic coverage as just about every other standard home insurance company in the United States.

When it comes to insurance these days, it’s all about marketing. The products are all relatively similar, so you’ve got to get pretty creative when differentiating yourself from the “other guys” out there.

It looks like Liberty Mutual’s Home Protector Plus program is the latest example of such advertising. At least they are not using cartoon animals (Geico Gecko) or 80’s rock band lyrics to appeal to us, we guess…

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All that said, let’s take a look at this program to see why Liberty Mutual believes it stands out in the insurance marketplace as the best option for you.

What Do You Get With Home Protector Plus?

Leave it to TTAI to remove all of the grandeur and emotion evoking images of the television advertisements and just deliver you the facts.

We’ll focus on the actual coverage benefits and features of the “product” you’re considering for purchase, instead of getting caught up on the gimmicks.

So, what are we really looking at here? Let’s break down the highlights of Home Protector Plus to determine if it is indeed a “plus.”

Expanded Coverage

Replacement cost home insurance policies are typically mandatory if you have a mortgage. While many people feel their home is insured for “way too much,” the reality is that rebuilding your home and purchasing everything you own is probably much more expensive than you may think.

Liberty Mutual is offering “expanded” coverage for your home as part of this program. You may have heard of this referred to as “extended replacement cost,” or “increased replacement cost on dwelling.”

This coverage basically adds anywhere from 15%-100% extra coverage (beyond what your home’s value is listed for on the declarations page) to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss, assuming your expenses to do so are more than what you’re covered for.

Personal Property Replacement Service

Replacement cost for your personal possessions, listed as “Contents” on your declarations page, is also offered on this program…as it is on nearly every home insurance policy sold today. In fact, if you don’t already have this on your current policy, you may want to fire your agent.

While this coverage is entirely common, be sure not to give it up when calling your “chain” captive agent to reduce your insurance premium. Removing this coverage and/or increasing your deductible is one of the (NOT RECOMMEDED) ways you can reduce a home insurance premium.

An actual benefit to Liberty Mutual’s Home Protector Plus is their “Personal Property Replacement Service,” which is a service designed to help you replace your damaged property after a loss.

Of course, just like auto insurers who have “preferred” vendors to repair cars, Liberty Mutual likely has agreements with several companies to get your replacement items at a much lower cost than if you were to go out and buy them yourself.

However, this is a good thing because the more money Liberty Mutual saves on paying out insurance claims, the cheaper their homeowners insurance rates will be in the future. As long as you get your “stuff” replaced, you shouldn’t really care either way.

Additional Living Expense

Again, nothing earth shattering here. Additional Living Expense coverage is a basic piece of the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. No matter who your insurer is, you will likely see this coverage listed as “Coverage D” on your current declarations page. It may also be referred to as “Loss of Use” coverage.

This is the coverage that provides money to you for the increased cost of living you would incur as a result of a covered property loss.

For example, your mortgage may be $1,000 per month, but if your house burnt down, you may have to spend $1,500 per month to live in a hotel. This coverage pays the difference between the two…or the extra $500.

It isn’t designed to pay all of your bills, as your insurance company expects you to go on with your life after the loss, and continue working and paying most of your bills as you were.

Most insurers provide anywhere from 15% of your “Coverage A Dwelling” amount for this coverage, up to two full years of additional living expense on a basic policy form.

24-Hour Emergency Repairs

Now we’re on to something that not every insurer offers. Claims don’t typically happen between 9-5 when most companies are open. And when they do occur, you’re not likely the world’s foremost expert on who to contact to get immediate repairs made.

Enter Home Protector Plus. Liberty Mutual has a 24/7/365 emergency services program you can access to get the immediate help you need in the event of a covered claim. This service is not available in all states, so be sure to ask them if your state participates in this program.

24-Hour Claims Assistance

Believe it or not, not every insurer has a 24-hour claims assistance hotline. Some insurers require you to leave a message on Saturday afternoon if your water heater blows a pipe and dumps 30 gallons of hot water in your utility closet.

While this may seem shocking or appalling to you, keep in mind that your insurance policy requires you to take the first steps when you have property loss.

And they don’t have teleportation devices that allow them to show up at your home at 2:30am Sunday morning to make repairs or bring you a bag of cash to give to a repair company.

A few well placed phone calls to the types of companies that fix water heaters will have someone at your home quickly to make repairs. These companies “know the drill” and will typically only ask to see a copy of your insurance declarations and/or a credit card number to begin fixing whatever went wrong.

Contractor Network Referral Program

That said, Liberty Mutual’s “Contractor Network Referral Program” may be a huge benefit to you, as they will be able to make some of the arrangements for your repairs with contractors they know and trust.

You certainly don’t have to use one of their contractors, but they sweeten the pot by offering a one-year guarantee of workmanship if you do.

Again, this is not available in all states so be sure to ask when you are on the phone with them.

In a Nutshell

There are definitely a few advantages to Liberty Mutual’s Home Protector Plus program, none of which are unheard of among other insurers.

But be sure to do your due diligence when shopping for home insurance (or any other type of insurance for that matter).

A 24-hour emergency service hotline may not be worth paying an extra $200 per year for home insurance coverage, especially if you never get a chance to use it.

As we learned from the Home Protector Plus, it might just be basic policy coverage advertised to appear as something more.

So at the end of the day, make sure you’re actually getting something worthwhile for your money, not just a fancy name.

To help evaluate the bells and whistles each insurer offers, it is recommended that you speak to a local independent insurance agent after gathering several insurance quotes online.

(photo: rbrwr)

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