- Deciding What You Need
- Identifying an LGBTQ-Friendly Provider
- LGBTQ-Friendly Insurers
- Resources for Finding Other Allies
- Our Final Word
Even with the legalization of same-sex marriage and various anti-discrimination laws in place, the LGBTQ community still battles considerable prejudice in many areas of life. One of the most significant is housing – both renting and buying. LGBTQ couples often end up wrongfully paying more than heterosexual couples in both taxes and transfer ownership interest. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) official website indicates that an important thing to keep in mind is that same-sex and unmarried couples do not have the same tax advantages as married couples. An example of this are the estate tax laws.
Same-sex couples also face hurdles in the insurance industry. There have been cases where LGBTQ couples were not allowed to include both partners’ names on a homeowner’s insurance policy, even if they shared ownership of the property. HRC mentioned that some couples “have been discriminated against when filing a claim as some insurance companies have attempted to refuse claims or cancel policies on the grounds that the owners are unrelated.”
While there are federal laws like the Fair Housing Act that focus on ending discrimination, they do not include gender identity or sexual orientation as a protected class. This leaves a huge gap in protection for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ. Housing and Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule and various local and statewide laws do protect LGBTQ housing rights, though these strides do not fix the underlying issue.
Considering this, navigating the home buying process can be stressful as a member of the LGBTQ community since it is oftenmore difficult through prejudice or unfair practices. Thankfully, there are allies that are there to help during every step of the process. From real estate lawyers to lenders to homeowners insurance providers, there are people willing to fight for you. This guide will give you the information you need to identify allies during the home buying process.
Deciding What You Need
There are varying types of homeowners insurance. While the basic policy may be enough coverage for some, it’s important to think about what your needs are. For example, standard policies do not cover floods or earthquakes. If you live in an area that is prone to these types of disasters, consider supplemental flood or earthquake insurance.
Every policy will have its limits for what it will pay to cover a claim. When selecting what policy to go with, consider the cost of your home and belongings. Take regular home inventories to make sure you have a realistic idea of what the cost of replacing your home or belongings would be. Always work to tailor your policy to fit your home and your needs.
Some of the factors that influence your policy’s cost are the age and value of your home, the value of personal belongings, where you live, insurance claim history, among others. When you are in search of home insurance, you can talk to friends and family and see what they recommend or third-party research reviews making sure to check if there are any discrimination complaints. Another thing that should be useful is to talk to a real estate agent who is an advocate to the LGBTQ community and ask if they know about carriers and policies they could recommend. Companies such as LGBT Financial can also help since they specialize in providing financial advice to the LGBTQ community. .
Identifying an LGBTQ-Friendly Provider
Finding an insurance provider that cares for your interest can be challenging, but there are ways to get there. Many LGBTQ-friendly insurance providers have an active presence in the community and are working towards equal treatment of same-sex couples. These companies usually don’t see a difference between same-sex and heterosexual marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships.
When looking for a company to go with, Jonathan D. Lovitz, Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said, “look for an indication that the company is an LGBT-inclusive corporation or an NGLCC Certified Business Enterprise.” That includes their diversity, fair and equal treatment policies and their involvement in the community.
The insurance industry as a whole has made great advancements towards employee diversity and inclusion at all levels. In fact, the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) by the Human Rights Campaign awarded 36 insurance companies a perfect score on the index and recognized them as one of the “best places to work for LGBT equality.” With a thriving culture that fosters diversity and accepts all people, companies are better able to serve their customers and communities.
Fair and equal treatment
The LGBTQ community deserves fair and equal treatment in all areas of life, insurance should be no different. Many companies are taking that to heart and ensuring their employees and customers are treated the way they deserve. Whether through diversity groups or specialized training, many companies show their commitment to the LGBTQ community through the treatment of their employees.
Involvement in the community
In addition to employee diversity and equal treatment, consider the company’s involvement in the community. One of the strongest moves a company can make is to get involved in their local community through things like drives, parades or fundraisers. Instead of making changes behind the scenes, a company’s commitment to their community is a clear display of their values.
When deciding which company you want to do business with, it’s important to assess their reputation and values. We’ve created a list of the most LGBTQ friendly insurance providers who are committed to ensuring equal treatment to all employees and customers.
|Company||Farmers Insurance||Liberty Mutual||MetLife||Travelers|
|Inclusive Recognitions||HRC Foundation 2020- 100%||HRC Foundation 2020- 100%, 3rd Year in a Row||Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 2020- 100%, 17th Year in a Row||Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 2020- 100%|
|What makes it unique?||Established industry leader focused on transforming its business into one that embraces diversity and sets the standard for best practices. |
The company’s LGBT resource group, LGBT & Allies, aims to spread awareness and education, ensuring that all employees feel comfortable and safe.
|Focused on community support, engagement and development, Liberty Mutual values LGBTQ-related policies and practices. |
The domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive health care benefits show the company’s commitment to its employees.
|MetLife’s LGBT affinity group, GLAM, is dedicated to supporting employees, spreading awareness, and encouraging the community. |
They are committed to research that goes beyond what many companies are willing to contribute, making them a true LGBTQ ally.
|Travelers is dedicated to empowering, respecting and supporting their employees through all stages in their life. |
The company has taken the time to develop guidelines so managers and peers can advocate and support other employees during their transition.
Resources for Finding Other Allies
Buying and selling homes is a complicated process that you don’t have to work through alone. In addition to an insurance provider, you can find allies in real estate lawyers, realtors and lenders. While they will add to the cost of the home buying process, the convenience and support they offer are well worth the price.
Most cannot handle the unique legal roadblocks and complicated language that buying a house presents on their own. A real estate lawyer can help manage these issues and make things simple for you.
For those who do not wish to get married or enter a domestic partnership, there are unique obstacles to face. The right of survivorship ensures that if one partner dies, the home will legally pass into the ownership of the other. A real estate lawyer will ensure that everything is in order and protect you from any level of discrimination. LGBTQ families also unfairly face inflated taxes and undue burdens. Not every professional is equipped to handle the situation, that’s why finding a lawyer specializes in combating these discriminatory practices is all the more important.
To make sure you have all the resources you need to land the perfect home, we’ve provided a list of lawyer resources that have proven to be an ally of the LGBT community.
Real Estate Resources
Having a realtor on your side is crucial when looking for a new home. A realtor will help you set up viewings and negotiate prices on your behalf. They will take extra time to help you find a home that is in line with what you want.
Especially meaningful for the LGBTQ community, realtors will have all the information you need to know about the neighborhood and the local environment. Does the neighborhood hold your values? Will you be comfortable? These are the types of things your realtor will be able to help you with. Regardless of what that neighborhood looks like for you, everyone has the right to a place where they feel accepted.
Jeff Berger, Founder of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), said that working with an allied real estate agent is essential if you want to buy a home without experiencing LGBTQ discrimination. “The most common types of LGBT discrimination to be aware of are agents who may not be LGBT friendly, not being shown homes in all areas because of your sexual orientation or gender identity and potential discrimination by neighbors who may not prefer LGBT’s living next door. Thankfully, LGBT home buyers can search NAGLREP’s member directory of 2,850 LGBT and allied real estate professionals who serve almost every city in the United States. NAGLREP’s mission is to increase LGBT homeownership and we serve the community with pride.”
Here are some resources to find a realtor:
Finding a lender who is LGBTQ-friendly means finding a company who promotes employee diversity, has fair lending practices and makes a positive difference in the community. You’ll find many options for lenders, though take the time and see which you most align with.
|LGBTQ Lender Allies||Why they made it to our list of allies|
|Wells Fargo||After refusing to pull a TV commercial that featured a lesbian couple even under the threat of boycotts, Wells Fargo solidified its spot as an LGBTQ ally.|
|JP Morgan Chase||Earning a perfect score on the CEI for the last 16 years, JP Morgan Chase is a long-standing LGBTQ ally. JP Morgan Chase has also updated its fertility benefits to include all types of families.|
|TD Bank||With a thriving Employee Pride Network, TD Bank is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and workplace for its employees. Additionally, it hosts a number of Pride events across North America.|
|US Bank||Taking action in the community through philanthropy and local initiatives, US Bank has maintained its perfect score on the CEI for the last 12 years.|
|Bank of America||Requiring specialized training for all of their employees, Bank of America makes sure all the needs of its customers are respected. It also provides employees with transition support and domestic partner benefits.|
Our Final Word
Inequality and discrimination are still present in the housing industry for the LGBTQ community. Even though this is an unfortunate reality, there are people who are willing to fight for your rights and accompany you throughout the process. From your homeowners insurance to your realtor, your home buying team will help you face the challenges and assist you in finding the best home insurance for your dream home.
If you are currently researching for the best LGBTQ-friendly homeowner companies, take a look at the following reviews: