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Universal Property and Casualty Summary
In business since 1996, UPCIC is a subsidiary of Universal Insurance Holding Company of Florida, in turn owned by Universal Insurance Holding, Inc. The company has its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, and writes policies in several states outside of Florida as well. Coverage is available in Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Hawaii, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
UPCIC writes a range of personal lines property and casualty products including standard homeowners and other dwelling and personal property coverage as well. Policies are sold through a network of independent agents, with limited quoting available online. UPCIC is among the largest property and casualty insurers in the state of Florida.
UPCIC has a customer login option on their website that allows policyholders to accomplish a number of policy management tasks, including making payments online and checking on policy status.
Universal Property and Casualty writes policies in the personal lines market for owner-occupied and rental homes, tenants, and condos as well. The company focuses only on this particular market at this time.
UPCIC writes standard homeowner’s insurance policies that include replacement cost coverage for the home itself, coverage for other structures on the premises, and personal property coverage to protect the owner’s personal property anywhere in the world. Policies also include personal liability coverage to protect homeowners from lawsuits for injuries or negligence.
Dwelling Fire Insurance
UPCIC writes dwelling fire policies for non-owner-occupied homes that are rented out to others. This policy protects the structure as well as the landlord from the liability risks of owning a rental home.
Condo Owner’s Insurance
This policy is designed specifically for the needs of a condo owner, which differ from a single-family residence. Included in UPCIC’s condo policies are coverage for the portion of the structure for which the owner is responsible, personal property coverage, and liability. Tenant-occupied condo policies are also available from UPCIC.
UPCIC offers renter’s insurance policies for tenants who want to protect their personal property. These policies do not include structure coverage, as that falls under the owner’s policy. Renter’s insurance also includes liability coverage.
UPCIC is one of the insurance companies whose sample rates are available on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website, through their CHOICES rate comparison tool. A sample of a $300,000 value new construction home brings back an incredible range of rates, differing greatly across counties in Florida. Annual premiums range from just under $1000 to over $5000. Direct comparison by county and specific home is the best way to determine in which counties the company offers its most competitive rates.
UPCIC offers an online quoting form on their website, and quotes are also available through agents selling UPCIC products. As a smaller insurance company, UPCIC is likely to have higher rates in big markets than larger, national-level companies.
The company does not write auto or any other types of insurance that commonly provide for multi-policy discounts, which makes it less competitive with companies offering many different policy types. There are, however, many discounts available to policyholders with UPCIC.
UPCIC offers a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week claims center prepared to handle even large volumes of calls during natural disasters, an important factor in hurricane-prone areas like Florida. Claims can be filed over the phone, through an agent or via the online claims reporting form that is available on the company website and you must login to file an online claim.
The company recommends that policyholders take photos of damage immediately and not remove or discard any damaged item until the adjuster has arrive to inspect the damage. UPCIC promises a fast claim turnaround time, although the particulars of each claim can greatly affect the time required to complete the process. Claims status can be followed online through the company’s customer portal on the website.
Universal Property and Casualty is Better Business Bureau accredited and has been since 2016. The company currently holds an A+ rating on the site. There are a total of 107 complaints filed agains the company in the last three years, 61 of which have been closed in the past 12 months. Of the 107 complaints, 86 of them concern product and service.
The Florida Department of Financial Services records show 180 complaints against UPCIC for the fourth quarter of 2016, which is the most recent available information. This is a ratio of 1:3207, or one complaint for every 3207 policies the company has in force.
In 2013, UPCIC was fined by the state of Florida in the amount of $1.26 million dollars and required to take corrective action to repair claims and underwriting practices. The BBB reports that the company was determined to have failed to do full underwriting when issuing a policy, and then completing underwriting when a claim was processed, resulting in claims denials. As of October 2014, the company had agreed to the fine and corrective action, and there is no challenge or appeal to the decision.
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Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company is a relatively large company in the Florida insurance market and also writes policies in a short list of other states. The company’s rates are widely varied across counties, and are unlikely to compete with national insurers in large markets. Because the company offers only property and casualty and not auto insurance, the lack of multi-policy discounts are likely to result in higher rates as well.
A relatively high number of complaints and a government action against the company for their underwriting practices are likely to make consumers wary of the company, however with time and appropriate action to repair the damage consumer confidence may return.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.