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Published: Monday, November 25, 2019 @ 8:00 AM
Kin Insurance is one of several new financial technology companies that takes a digital-first approach to the process of shopping for homeowners insurance.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how Kin works, where you can buy a policy and how much a typical policy costs, among other things.
Traditional homeowners insurance often relies on your ZIP code as a big factor in what you pay for your premium. But Kin promises to use the power of technology to give you a better — and hopefully cheaper — quote.
Kin is one of a new breed of insurers that has no physical offices. Everything is done online. Doing it that way helps keep overhead low so they can pass the savings along to you.
Here’s what you need to know before getting a quote…
Kin Insurance has simplified the process of getting a quote online. You simply go to Kin.com and enter your address. Their system will pull public record data points to generate a quote for you in minutes.
Included in the data deep-dive are things like real estate listings, building records and even satellite and drone photography of your home. All of that means you don’t have to struggle to remember what kind of shingles or siding you have on your home.
Put simply, Kin eliminates the need to spend an hour or so filling out a form online or talking to an insurance agent over the phone.
If they can’t immediately pull together a quote when you enter your street address, you’re just asked to enter a few additional fields to get the quote process going.
Kin’s main business is selling home insurance policies in coastal states where potentially catastrophic weather is a real possibility.
In addition to regular home insurance, the company sells five kinds of related policies:
Kin currently sells insurance policies in four states:
Meanwhile, a launch in a fifth market — California — is imminent. The company is just waiting on regulatory approval to get the ball rolling.
Kin says embracing the challenges of operating in disaster-prone areas throughout the Golden State, which has dealt with a rash of wildfires in recent years, is core and key to its mission as an insurer.
“We are entering California because of its wildfire exposure, not in spite of it,” Ruth Awad of Kin Insurance tells Clark.com. “Similar to our approach in Florida, Kin is committed to serving catastrophe-prone areas where homeowners need reliable, affordable insurance products the most.”
Speaking of Florida, Kin recently launched its own home insurance carrier called The Kin Interinsurance Network in the Sunshine State. That means the company underwrites its own policies in Florida.
“Our carrier is structured as a reciprocal insurance exchange, which is something we’re pretty excited about,” Awad says. “It’s customer-centric by design because policyholders technically own a piece of the carrier.”
Meanwhile, Kin uses a different business model in Alabama, Georgia and Texas, where it operates as a broker. That means it doesn’t underwrite the policies it sells in those states. Instead, Kin partners with carriers like SageSure in Texas and Homeowners of America in Georgia, according to Awad.
Kin hasn’t been around for very long. The company only started in 2016.
Because of its relative youth, it hasn’t yet been rated by A.M. Best. Nor its underwriting partners like SageSure and Homeowners of America aren’t rated by A.M. Best, either.
CLARK TIP: A.M. Best is a credit rating agency for the insurance industry that money expert Clark Howard consults often. He relies on it as his go-to source for understanding a company’s strength and likely claims-paying ability down the road.
But while Kin isn’t yet rated by A.M. Best, it is rated with an A/Exceptional by competing insurance rating company Demotech. Homeowners of America also gets an A. SageSure, meanwhile, isn’t rated by Demotech.
This blurb from the Demotech website helps put an A/Exceptional rating into context:
“Regardless of the severity of a general economic downturn or deterioration in the insurance cycle, at least 97% of all the insurers countrywide receiving a Financial Stability Rating of A are expected to have positive surplus as regards policyholders as of eighteen months from the initial date of rating assignment.”
Finally, you can see the full spectrum of Demotech financial stability ratings here.
Unlike some other insurance companies, Kin doesn’t make any promises as to how much it can save you on premiums. The property we quoted for was a single-family home in metro Atlanta:
Kin Homeowners Insurance Coverage and Quote for 12 Month Policy With 2% Deductible
|Loss of use||$34,000|
|Medical payments to others||$5,000|
The deductible is 2% of dwelling coverage (aka Coverage A). So in this example, you would have a $3,400 deductible. As a reminder, Clark Howard recommends raising your deductible as high as your insurer or your mortgage holder will permit.
Of course, you’ll want to compare Kin’s quote to what you’re currently paying for homeowners coverage. Whenever you’re getting quotes, remember to pay attention to the coverage levels that we’ve listed above — not just the premium in bold. This is especially important when you’re considering making the switch to a new insurer.
When you have a quote like this in hand, review your current policy to make sure you’re purchasing the same level of coverage with the new policy that you were getting with your old policy. That way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.
Kin Insurance has partnerships with several providers to offer policyholders deals on hardware and services that keep their homes safe.
Such partnerships include discounts on home security systems from Brinks Home Security and discounts on wind mitigation inspections from Don Meyler Inspections. The latter could lead to premium discounts, according to Kin.
“In fact, Florida requires insurers to offer discounts to homeowners who have wind mitigation measures in place,” Awad says, “so we streamline the inspection process and make it easy for customers to reduce insurance costs.”
Insurance is one of those industries that remains tradition-bound. If you’re the kind of person who likes to sit down in your insurance agent’s office should an issue arise, then Kin Insurance probably isn’t for you.
While Kin does make agents available online, there’s no face-to-face interaction. You’ll have to settle for phone or online chat with a Kin agent.
If that sounds good to you, you may want to give Kin a try. Just be sure to read the online reviews first.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to be sure to check out our guide to the Best and Worst Home Insurance Companies before making any decisions.