Unless you own a mobile home or recreational vehicle, you may never have heard of Foremost. Founded in 1952, the company carved out a name for itself in the newly-created mobile home industry. It was instrumental in creating the standards for the first homeowners insurance policies for mobile homes.
In 2000, Foremost was acquired by Farmers Insurance Group, allowing the company to expand its offering into auto, home, marine and other types of coverage. Today, it still excels in writing policies for all types of mobile homes, travel trailers, fifth wheel and luxury motor coaches, as well as for those with unusual homes or circumstances.
|Best for||Mobile home owners, motorhome owners, those with hard-to-insure homes|
|Not for||Those looking for discounts and budget prices|
|States served||All 50 states plus Washington D.C.|
|Discounts||Multi-policy, high deductible, claims-free, 50 years and older|
|AM Best Rating||A|
|Standout features||Specialists in mobile home policies|
RV and motorhome policies available
Insure those who have been turned down for conventional policies
Foremost claims to give you “a better insurance experience,” especially if you have uncommon circumstances — such as a low credit rating — that don’t fit in with standard homeowner insurance. The company specializes in insuring everything from snowmobiles to vacant homes, but their core business is manufactured and mobile housing.
Is it true?
Basically, yes. Foremost isn’t like the mega-companies that control much of the insurance market in the U.S., like State Farm and Allstate. In fact, the company specializes in homes that the big guys won’t touch. If you’re living in a Civil-War-era home, for example, you’d have a hard time getting insurance at a regular company due to the age of the building, but that kind of home is right up Foremost’s alley.
Foremost also works with individuals whose creditworthiness makes it hard for them to get insurance from a regular carrier. If this is you, you may not get the cheapest prices on the market with Foremost, but they’ll be willing to write a solid policy for you.
As a company founded to work with the nascent mobile home industry back in the 1950s, Foremost is well-equipped to handle the special insurance needs of trailers, mobile homes and recreational vehicles that straddle the line between home and car.
As to whether your insurance experience really is better, though, there’s room for the company to improve. Foremost isn’t big enough to be ranked by J.D. Power or Consumer Reports in their customer service listings. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners gives it a ranking of 1.6 on its Company Complaint Index, where anything over 1.0 means more complaints than average.
Foremost home insurance coverage options
As we mentioned, Foremost is a specialty insurer that provides coverage for uncommon housing types. The company offers two basic policy options:
- A lower-cost policy that provides actual cash value for your dwelling and personal property, along with optional replacement cost coverage for personal belongings.
- A more extensive plan that gives you replacement cost insurance on your dwelling, actual cash value for personal belongings and optional replacement cost coverage for personal belongings.
There are also several amendments, or add-ons, that can help you customize the policy to your specific needs, including extended replacement cost coverage, additional living expenses, additional coverage for jewelry or other pricey items and business property coverage. The extended replacement cost gives you an additional 25% of the insured amount to replace your home and is not available in all states.
Foremost also has policies tailored to landlords, renters, seasonal homes and those with vacant homes they need to insure. These policies feature elements that are specific to the situation — for example, vacant home coverage includes vandalism and malicious mischief coverage, which is far more likely to occur in unoccupied properties.
Foremost home insurance discounts
The discounts available through Foremost vary with the type of property you’re insuring, though in general, the company is not as generous with discounts as some of the larger insurers. Since the website doesn’t list discounts, you’ll need to talk to an agent to find out which you might be eligible for. They include:
- Multi-policy: If you bundle your homeowners insurance with vehicle coverage
- Senior discount: For those 50 and older
- Age of home: Newer homes are eligible for higher discounts
- Location of the home: For mobile home owners who are in approved parks
- Insured by USAA: A discount for those who are also insured by USAA, with whom Foremost has a partner agreement and AARP, which works with Foremost for mobile home and motorcycle insurance
- Claims-free: Those who are claim-free may be able to earn a reduced rate
Foremost home insurance rates
Certain factors go into the decision-making process for all insurers. At Foremost homeowners insurance, the underwriters will look at the following to determine what your rate will be:
- Your credit rating: Anything in the upper 700s and 800s is considered excellent. As a specialty company, however, Foremost will consider you even if your rating is considerably lower, though you may pay more.
- The age of your home: Foremost will insure homes that are quite old, but your rates may reflect the fact that repairs are a way of life for older homes and thus you may have more reason to make a claim.
- Your location: Homes that are in a low-crime area often merit lower rates, since there is less likelihood of vandalism or theft.
- Condition of the home: If you have maintained your home to perfection, even if it’s older, your rates may reflect that. A home that’s badly in need of a new roof and updated wiring, for example, means more expense for the insurer, and that means higher rates for you.
- Proximity to a fire hydrant and/or fire station: Closer is better, for obvious reasons. Related to that is the fact that you may see a slightly higher premium if you own a wood stove.
- Your claim history: insurers like to work with people who don’t make claims very often, if at all.
- Your deductible: It’s a general rule of thumb that the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. But having said that, it’s a mistake to choose a deductible that is higher than you’d comfortably be able to pay just to save on premium costs.
Other ways to save money on Foremost home insurance
If saving money is your most important goal, there are a few options you can consider with Foremost homeowners insurance. First, as we mentioned above, consider a higher deductible to keep your monthly costs down — just don’t go so high that you wouldn’t be able to manage paying it in the event of a claim. One idea? Put the money you’re saving in your premiums into a savings account to use as your deductible payment in the unlikely event that you make a claim.
Discounts can also lower your cost and some of them are fairly easy to earn. A multi-policy discount, for example, can save you significantly. Since Foremost is owned by Farmers Insurance, you have the stability of the larger company to ensure that your policies are comprehensive and financially stable.
You may want to consider a lower-priced policy with actual cash value (ACV) payment as opposed to the more expensive replacement value. But be aware that this may leave you short in the event of a disaster, especially if you own an older home that isn’t worth as much, meaning it might be hard to replace with a new one if it was destroyed by fire or another peril.
Another specialty homeowners insurance company, Assurant writes policies for manufactured homes in all states except Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The policies are underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company, which has been in business since 1947. Like Foremost, Assurant has an “A” rating with A.M. Best, meaning it’s financially stable and able to pay out on claims. Unlike Foremost, however, it does not have a range of policies and is mainly limited to manufactured housing.
Another specialty company, American Modern also writes HO-10 (specialty) policies for homeowners who have special conditions: they’re older, for example, or have a few claims that disqualify them for standard coverage. It offers other non-standard policies as well, including a DP-1, which is often used for rental or seasonal homes, and a DP-3, a slightly more comprehensive version of the DP-1. American Modern also writes policies for manufactured homes and landlords with a minimum of ten rental properties.
Gieco is not, of course, a specialty insurer, but there is some overlap in coverages between it and Foremost. If you are not sure whether you need the services of a specialty insurer, it makes sense to talk to agents at regular companies that may be able to offer you a better and more discounted price. Both Geico and Foremost offer landlord, mobile home, renters and condo/co-op insurance. It’s also worth noting that both companies work with FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, and can write you a flood insurance policy if you are in a flood zone or other low-lying area.
Aegis Security Insurance Company
Aegis is another company that focuses on houses that regular insurers won’t touch. Aegis has an “A-” rating from A.M. Best, which is good, but indicates a bit less financial stability than Foremost. It focuses on mobile homes and low-value dwellings that are primarily located in rural areas. It also covers travel trailers, construction and supply bond and health and accident insurance. Aegis’s website makes special note of the fact that owners with dog breeds sometimes considered dangerous and uninsurable, such as pit bulls, are acceptable risks for the company.
What others are saying
- “The AARP® Mobile Home Insurance from Foremost offers members specialized protection designed for nearly every type of mobile and manufactured home, lifetime renewal and 24/7 claim service.” — AARP website
- “Foremost Insurance Group won two prestigious industry awards at the annual Insurance Marketing and Communications Association (IMCA) conference and competition showcase recently held in Philadelphia. Foremost submitted four entries this year and was awarded a ‘Best of Show’ and an ‘Award of Excellence’ at the conference.” — GlobalNewwire.com
The bottom line
If you have an average home, a decent credit rating and no pit bulls in the backyard, you probably don’t need a policy from Foremost. But if your circumstances — or the circumstances of your home situation — are unusual, Foremost Insurance should be your first stop when hunting for a comprehensive insurance policy.