Hippo Insurance says it’s taking a fresh approach to home insurance. So, just how fresh is it?
As more and more tech companies enter the insurance industry, it’s hard to know who’s doing it right. Hippo Insurance spent two years laying the groundwork for a revolutionary home insurance experience, and its customers (so far) seem to be loving it. The modern website makes purchasing easy, and customer service is available by phone every hour of every weekday.
For customers looking for a more traditional experience, Hippo probably isn’t the best company. It doesn’t have in-person agents, and there won’t be an office nearby. But for tech-savvy customers looking to save some time and likely some money, Hippo may be a good option.
What is Hippo Insurance and how does it work?
Officially launched in spring 2017, Hippo Insurance was founded to disrupt the home insurance market. The ideas, though ambitious, were pretty simple:
- Reduce costs to the customer
- Make the quote and buying process faster than ever before
- Get customers fully covered for everything they need
How Hippo accomplishes (or attempts to accomplish) this herculean task is multi-pronged.
For starters, Hippo is a tech company. As such, the developers there aim to stay on the cutting edge, whether this means gathering aerial photography or property history from a myriad of sources or using feedback to improve customer experience. Customer service lines are open 24 hours Monday through Friday, and they’re available by email and Facebook Messenger.
Another key to the Hippo puzzle is its partnerships with insurance providers. Policies with Hippo are underwritten by Spinnaker and TOPA insurance. Additionally, the world’s largest reinsurer Swiss Re provides further support.
What is a reinsurer? A reinsurer acts as a financial safety net for insurance companies that carry more risks than it can handle. To be able to reasonably live up to the policies it’s already written while taking on new business, an insurance company transfers some of its risk to a reinsurer.
In addition to the network of partnerships, Hippo offers some bells and whistles not usually seen. The perk that stands out the most is complimentary home monitoring by the “Smart Home Sensor Kit” provided by the company. Customers who sign up to receive one also get a discount on their insurance policy.
Hippo Insurance Locations
Hippo Insurance is currently licensed in 20 states. These are:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
Hippo Insurance does not currently have any brick and mortar offices, with no plans as of this writing to build local offices.
Hippo’s Online Experience
Three questions and 60 seconds to a home insurance quote is no small feat, yet this is what Hippo both promises and delivers. In addition to using the website, customers can also receive a quote over the phone or via Facebook Messenger.
I decided to try the online form, so I opened the Hippo homepage and started my stopwatch. With an admittedly poor internet connection, I received a three-tiered quote in 82 seconds. The information was relatively easy to understand, though I wasn’t entirely sure about what was included versus what wasn’t included.
Each coverage component is given a dollar amount below it, or it says either “included” or “not included.” When the dollar amount stands alone, it isn’t entirely clear if that makes it “included” or “not included.” Furthermore, these coverages fall under a heading title, “Hippo exclusive enhanced coverage,” making it hard to tell if these coverages are enhanced add-ons or enhanced standard offerings exclusive to Hippo.
Even so, it didn’t take long to discover that all the coverage components are included unless otherwise noted. It was also easy to compare how much coverage was being purchased within each category, making it simple to find what was actually needed.
Hippo Insurance Coverages
- Personal liability coverage
- Medical payments
- Loss of Use
- Water backup
And a few unusual standard coverages:
- Home office equipment coverage designed to go beyond the usual coverage of personal property
- Domestic worker’s coverage for people employed to work in your home
- Equipment breakdown coverage for home appliances
Other riders can be added to policies for an additional charge depending on homeowner needs. Many can be very advantageous to policyholders, such as replacement cost coverage. Coverage options can also be adjusted easily after purchase.
Other insurance products from Hippo
More than home and condo insurance, Hippo offers policies and extra riders to help customers get fully insured. These include:
- Earthquake coverage, underwritten by partner Palomar
- Flood coverage, underwritten by Neptune Flood and the National Flood Insurance program
- Investment properties, aka Landlord insurance
- Vacation homes
While no announcements for specific insurance lines have been made, the customer service line “just tell us what you’re looking for” suggests that Hippo Insurance is researching, planning, and developing for future lines.
Coverages not offered by Hippo
At this time, Hippo Insurance does not write policies for:
Discounts from Hippo
Lower rates are available to people with high credit scores, which is relatively standard. In addition to possible local discounts, policyholders can receive the following rate cuts:
- Purchasing a policy more than seven days before the beginning of the policy term
- Soon-to-be new or new homeowners discount (for policyholders either in the process of their buying their first home, or who purchased their new home in the last three years)
- HOA discount for homeowners who are members of a homeowners association
- Mortgage-free discount for homeowners who have paid off their mortgages
Hippo Insurance Reviews
The customer service at Hippo tends toward high marks, especially during the buying process.
Customers even write positive reviews for the claims process—quite a feat for an insurance company, as across the board, the industry gets very low marks during insurance claims.
And even when policy terms go awry, customers site that customer service members seem dedicated to making things right.
But not always.
Two complaints top the charts for negative reviews of Hippo Insurance. One source of confusion and frustration by customers is the lack of clarity concerning underwriting partners. Several negative reviews suggest that customers were not aware of the underwriting process at Hippo.
Another source of confusion is one of the features that sets Hippo apart: the Smart Home Sensor Kit. Customers who purchase a policy receive a kit and a discount on their policy. However, they must also activate it to continue receiving the discount. This has sometimes caused confusion:
Want to know if Hippo has the best rate for you? Check out Insurify’s rate comparison tool and get quotes from Hippo (if available in your state) and other top homeowners insurers today!
More about Hippo Insurance
Hippo Insurance was launched in 2015 by co-founders Eyal Navon and Assaf Wand. It has received investments from GGV Capital, Horizons Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Iconiq Capitaland FinTech CEOs/investors Pete Flint (Trulia) and Matt Humphrey (LendingHome), among others.
|Customer portal||Click here|
|Headquarters address||191 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94041
|Customer support phone number||1 (800) 585-0705 Monday-Friday 24 hours a day|