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Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance Review & Complaints: Commercial Auto, Property and Casualty & Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies writes commercial auto insurance, property and casualty, and workers compensation policies. They purchased GEICO in 1996 but continue to write insurance policies under their own name. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate reviews find the company to be a stable provider of specialized insurance products.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 14, 2020

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Berkshire Hathaway is a multi-national conglomerate with holdings in multiple industries – including one of the biggest names in insurance and some lesser-known insurance brands. It is the fourth largest publicly traded company in the world as ranked by Forbes, and it sits at number 3 on the Fortune 500 for 2018.

About Berkshire Hathaway Homestate

Berkshire Hathaway started as the Valley Falls Company, a textiles manufacturer in its namesake city in Rhode Island. A 1929 merger with the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company brought in the first of the current company’s names; the second came from a 1955 merger with Hathaway Manufacturing.

Berkshire Hathaway is owned by famed billionaire Warren Buffett, who started buying stock in the company in 1962. The company first bought a stake in a company then known as Government Employees Insurance Company in the 1970s – they completed the purchase of that company, now known as Geico, in 1996. Geico is the second largest auto insurance company in the country.

Other insurance interests include Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), which writes commercial insurance policies. Other companies under the umbrella include WestGUARD (operating as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD), Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, and United States Liability Insurance Group.

For the purpose of this review, we will provide an overview of the two Berkshire Hathaway branded companies; you can see our review of Geico here.

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Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Products

The two Berkshire Hathaway companies focus on a specific type of insurance, although there is some overlap.

Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies

This group of companies writes commercial insurance, including commercial auto, property and casualty, and worker’s compensation. Product availability varies by state,

Commercial auto is offered in 30 states. Having recently expanded into South Dakota and Mississippi. They write policies for local and long-range trucking, public auto transportation, non-emergency medical transportation, charter buses, and more.

Commercial Property policies are available in 47 states and cover more than 150 classes of business. The site states that they specialize in hard to place non-standard risks. They also cover vacant buildings and dwellings, rental dwellings, and real estate owned and force placed properties.

Public Entity insurance coverage is offered in a select area of mainly Midwestern states. Products are designed for small to medium communities.

Worker’s Compensation is also available for a wide variety of companies in 47 states.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

In the U.S., Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance writes a variety of commercial and personal insurance policies.

Their Executive and Professional Lines products are designed for financial institutions, public companies, private companies, and non-profits. Executive liability, professional liability, and transactional liability products are all available.

Healthcare Professional Liability is available for healthcare professionals, practices, managed care, and senior care among others. Medical Stop Loss is also offered.

The company also has targeted commercial insurance programs that include a variety of coverages to suit the particular needs of each industry. Target areas include affinity associations, allied healthcare, builder’s risk, event liability, miscellaneous professional, CAT liability, and admitted multi-line commercial.

Casualty products include general liability and liability coverage for energy, transpiration, and life sciences sectors.

Finally, property insurance policies are available for many different industries, including marine. A wide variety of surety bonds are also available.

On the personal lines end of things, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty writes homeowners insurance aimed at high-value homes and seasonal and vacation homes, specifically on the east coast.

The company also writes a variety of travel insurance policies such as travel convenience, travel accident, and coverage directed at travel agents, tour guides, and others in the travel industry.

Rates

Rates are not available for any of the programs and products listed above from either company. Given that these are specialty programs for the most part, it is expected that a rate quote would be provided based on detailed information and with the assistance of an agent or broker; online quotes are unlikely to be accurate or useful when seeking this type of coverage.

Claims

Berkshire Hathaway Homestate only has online claims reporting as an option for Worker’s Compensation claims. All others can be filed over the phone or by fax, email, or regular mail.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty has online claims reporting for only one product as well – Ocean Marine. All others can be filed by phone, email, fax or regular mail. Contact information varies based on the type of policy. Travel policies are handled by Travelex, and claims can be handled via that company’s website or to Berkshire Hathaway directly.

There is not much information on the claims process, but that is what we expect from these companies given the type of policy they write.

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Ratings and Consumer Reviews

We had difficulty locating Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings for the first of the two companies. The BBB page for the Homestate Companies headquarters shows an NR (not rated) and states that complaints are handled by another BBB, but not where to look. The company has been accredited since 1981.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has an A rating with the BBB. Three complaints were filed in the past three years, and one was closed in the past 12 months.

The Berkshire Hathaway name can make it hard to find a solid source of reviews since they own so many companies. The fact that nothing major appears for either of these companies is, however, in their favor.

The Bottom Line

Berkshire Hathaway’s branded insurance companies write specialized products that keep them off the radar of the general public. They have a complex and varied array of products and are backed by a very solid financial base, which makes them a reliable choice for insurance. If you are in the market for these specialty products, Berkshire Hathaway is well worth a closer look.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

7 Comments

  1. This is the worst insurance company EVER!!!

    I got into an accident, not even my fault.

    I had to go through Berkshire to get my truck covered.

    And it’s been over a month and they have not proceeded to get my truck fixed…

    All I get from this company is the runaround.

    And a nightmare.. of customer service.

    So my recommendation for this company is do not use them for anything!!!

    Reply
  2. In Jan. 2016 there was a blizzard that damaged our roof, it lifted up the roof corner which caused damage to 3 rooms on the second floor at first.

    This was a Sunday, we immediately called Berkshire Hathaway (Amguard), they came after 2 days.

    While we were waiting for them to show up we had leaks everywhere because the roof was open completely so used buckets to catch the leaks as much as possible and every 2 hours someone had to empty because they filled up so quickly.

    When they arrived, they opened our claim and they would look into getting the claim resolved.

    AmGuard sent ServePro, meanwhile, it kept raining for the next 4-5 days.

    We kept calling AmGuard because the rain was getting into other rooms (now the bottom floor) they wanted to send ServePro back out again.

    ServePro did their job but the problem was rain kept happening so it defeated the purpose.

    We urged AmGuard to find someone to cover the roof at least temporary.

    After not hearing from them for a few days, they instructed us to find a roofer.

    We did so, we put them in contact with AmGuard who then spoke with the roofers who told us to go ahead and hire someone immediately because the claim is in progress.

    Amguard came several times to the property to check on the hired roofers work and even did a final inspection because closing the roof.

    AmGuard instructed us to pay the roofers because our claim was in process.

    The roofing company to start with wanted material money and weekly they needed to pay their staff so that was all out of pocket costs.

    ($48,000 on average). To date, we still haven’t paid ServePro in full because we have been waiting on payment from AmGuard.

    To date we have not received any payment from Amguard, we have made multiple attempts to contact them but they stopped responded via email or phone.

    Our former business advisor/lawyer even tried to get ahold of them but they have not responded to them as well.

    We then hired another law firm in Salisbury named Cockey& Maloney, ($5,000 retainer) and all efforts to resolve this issue they have ignored.

    We being a small business that was a lot of money to lose out on.

    This was an act of God that we could not control.

    We pay insurance for reasons like this, we were supposed to be covered.

    Had this matter been taken care of, more damage would not have occurred.

    I would not recommend this company, they should not be in business.

    It has been a nightmare dealing with these people and they won’t respond at all!!

    Reply
  3. We are 4 dental offices who signed up with GUARD under 2 separate policies (their decision).

    Yes, they “guard” themselves but not us, the Policy Holders who pay 3-4 times the estimated quote once they feel the AUDIT is finalized.

    We canceled and signed up with another company, and boy does the GUARD give you a runaround.

    On their web portal, once I log in, I see an $800 and some change as a refund on one policy.

    No letter, email nor any correspondence was received by GUARD, when I emailed them the end of May 2019, they replied with an abrupt email that the SUPPOSEDLY refund check was sent out in April 2019.

    To date, June 27, 2019, I’m still following up with them to give me the check number so I can have our accounting firm and bank track it.

    I even asked them, it was cashed, send me the proof of clearance so we may correct it on our accounting side.

    No one even replied to me.

    Our second policy is still under final audit and we canceled our policy in Feb 2019.

    We sent them via Email, Mail and Fax regarding all the payroll reports and 941 forms they requested over 5 times since March 2019.

    To date, they still state they did not receive anything and cannot finalize the audit and maybe their auditor can reach out directly to us.

    I gave them our HR manager’s contact name and number over 3 weeks ago and again today is June 26, 2019, no response to the email nor any phone call.

    Lastly, one of our offices filed a claim in 2017, the medical office is following us for payment in May 2019 and we had to redirect them to GUARD as they advised they have not been paid by Guard yet…go figure…

    Based on our experience, I sincerely hope NO SMALL BUSINESS SIGN UP WITH “BERKSHIRE GUARD” FOR WC POLICY AS THEY ARE A DREADFUL COMPANY TO DEAL WITH.

    THEIR EMPLOYEES WHO ANSWER THE PHONE HAVE TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS LIKE THEY ARE DOING US A FAVOR BY ANSWERING OUR CALLS AND NOT LIKE CLIENTS WHO PAY THEM OVER $15K IN ANNUAL POLICY COVERAGE!!!

    Reply
  4. We are an independent company that used them to cover our semi truck, trailer, and cargo. I called and changed trailer coverage to up it. Changed semi’s on my policy as we sold the other one. After an accident, we found out they did not up our trailer coverage. They sold our claim 5times before I got ahold of an adjuster that didn’t even know what I was talking about 3 days after the accident. He was rude and has hung up on me without me even being able to say anything. I tried to cancel my policy after the accident (we only had 1 truck). They ran us around. Now they say we had to have 35days notice to cancel it and won’t give us our deposit back now. Its been over a month. No one has gotten a check yet. No one even knows if one has even been issued or if it was, where it went. They have taken our truck and sold it already! Neither we or lean hold have been paid. I do not even give them 1star. Walk away!!!

    Reply
  5. I have to respectfully disagree with this article. The research is obviously not complete based on the comments above mine. I too have a testimonial showing the lack of integrity, professionalism, and ethics held by this company. We purchased workman’s’ comp through this company. The monthly premiums were based on the total gross earnings of the employees. I guess they felt they didn’t make enough and billed us for an insane amount at the end of the year (which would come out to 2/3rds of what our employees made). I’ve paid every time, as promised, per our signed mutually agreed upon contract; and this final bill was a little sketchy, to say the least. I’ve asked several times to show me a signed contract which would note any type of “minimum.” They will not provide the evidence and attempt to revert to bullying tactics to attempt to get an unlawful payment. I wish I could say they had “hidden fees” but really, they just try to steal from their customers. Obviously, they didn’t get any extra money out of me, and they still haven’t produced a signed document or contract (which is completely unethical). Their professionalism is, well, wanting. As soon as you push back and ask for evidence, they’ll hang up the phone. Beware of this company.

    Reply
  6. We would NOT ever…EVER….. recommend this company after what we have had to deal with in the last 8 or so months. We are a Hotshot Trucking Company that have our Owner/Operated leased trucks Insured thru them. Last September we added a new Leased truck to our Insurance for Full Liability and Collision Inurance. We had the Certificate of Insurance that showed the full coverage for the truck. At the end of December we find out that Berkshire had not, in fact, added the Collision Coverage to the truck. We find this out after the driver has an accident. Berkshirethen proceeds to add the retroactive cost of the Collision insurance and expects us to pay the full balance within a less than two week window. Okay…..we pay it…we are only a small Hotshot Company with only two trucks at this point and having to pay thousands of dollars unexpectedly can put a burden on us. This particular driver decides not to continue working after the accident. In January of 2017 we add a new leased driver and this time we only need Liability and Cargo for him as he has his own Collision Insurance covered. It takes them about two weeks to agree to add him but finally we pay the downpayment, get the COI showing him added to coverage and we are good to go. In April we add another leased driver on Liability and Cargo. We then get an extremely large bill due within a two weeks of adding the new driver…..I think it was a 7 or 8 thousand dollar difference which made absolutley NO sense. Come to find out that they had never added the driver in January…they apparently realized it when they went to add the new driver in April and were charging us retroactively for the Four months that THEY did not have the January driver added and expected us to pay the large difference ALL within a two week period by the 4/28 due date….along with the downpayment for the new driver….totaled over $10000. We did not have the money to do that and since it was THEIR mistake felt that they should have worked out some kind of payment plan with us. Instead….even though we paid $3300 toward the balance they put a “Pending Cancelation Notice for Non Payment” on our account at the beginning of May. Unfortunately the new April driver only lasted a week and decided to quit….we still ended up paying over $7000 in the month of May because of BERKSHIRES mistake. THEN…..on May 19th we had a truck break down and had to borrow a truck which also broke down two days later, in which we then had to Rent a Truck from Enterprise. Apparently Berkshires is INCAPABABLE of handling an issue like this….because now…almost four weeks later….unfortunatley the first truck is still in the shop….the second borrowed truck is now fixed and we are driving it again…and we turned the rental truck in a week ago….but they are trying to charge us the FULL Insurance Amount for ALL of the trucks unless we can provide a Bill of Sale!!! Mind you that our company does NOT OWN a single one of these trucks they are ALL leased owner/operators….except for the Rental which we provided the rental agreement for as proof. But even though the rental was turned in a week ago and we provided proof…they have, as of TODAY once again put a “Pending Cancelation Due to Non Payment” notice on our account even though we paid the May payment due as per agreed due on 5/28!!! On top of that the driver that we added in January has chosen to leave/quit as of 6/10 but Berkshires is refusing to remove his truck until we provide proof of termination of Lease/Employment….which we are waiting on the signed document from the driver. But this has gotten absolutley RIDICULAS. In just the last couple of days they are claiming that we owe for FOUR trucks even though one was a rental and has been turned in and one is no longer in service with the company and one is only a temporary use while our other is in the shop for a grand total of over $12000 by 6/28….our last statement was only for $2000 for the two original trucks. So they are trying to charge us $10000 for having to Rent a truck and borrow a temporary truck while the other is in the shop!!!!! We will be spreading this company’s INSANITY far and wide….it is absurd and beyond ridiculas….and most of our problems have been from mistakes that BERKSHIRES employees have made…..we DID NOT make the mistakes…..THEY DID!!!!! INSANE!!!!!

    Reply
  7. We are victims of the wildfires in Gatlinburg TN. We have monthly rentals that are insured with BHHC. We were fortunate not to have lost everything, but we did have damage. Unfortunately we have not had a good experience with our adjusters or our local agency. They have held us up on getting repairs and would not cover all repairs needed. The fire was 11/28/2016 and we did not get to even start our repairs until 01/20/2017. We had a contractor standing by within two weeks of fire.

    Reply

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