Texas Homeowners Could Witness Insurance Rate Increase

11 Mar
Colors of hope along the downtown Austin, Texas area skyline.

Texas homeowners could be seeing a premium hike or increase in deductibles this year according to a recent Insurance Journal article.

Insurance companies that sell homeowners insurance in Texas have been filing for rate increases with the state regulators over the last couple of years and Jim Gavin, Information Services Specialist at the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas feels that trend is going to continue. 

Jim Gavin, who was a speaker at the IIAT’s 2019 Joe Vincent Management Seminar in January, said that while the homeowners market was stable in 2018 mainly due to the mild weather Texas experienced, many insurers are still recovering from the extensive hailstorm damage done in 2016 and 2017. 

Texas was lucky in 2018, so to speak, with only one major hailstorm that cost more than $500 million and they only had 52 tornadoes, which is well below their yearly average of 134. 

However, in order to catch up on the expenses related to the 2016 and 2017 hurricane seasons, insurers are still filing rate increase requests while also raising deductibles which will help keep the rate increases down a bit. 

“I’ve seen indications of rate where carriers need as much as 39 percent of rate in homeowners,” Gavin said in the Insurance Journal article. While insurers may need an almost 40 percent increase, they are filing for rate hikes that come in around 10 percent because Texas law prevents them from increasing rates by more than 10 percent in any 12-month period without going through a formal approval process. 

According to Gavin many carriers are asking for an overall rate hike of 9.9 percent or going higher in some areas and asking for a smaller increase in other areas to keep their overall rate increase under 10 percent. 

The Economy is Pushing Up Rates as Well

Gavin also pointed to the booming economy in Texas as a factor that could push up rates. Property values are rising and as construction costs increase, rates will be headed up at renewal time for current homeowner insurance customers. 

As construction costs rise, insurers must factor in those increases when calculating a rate because they will have to pay those higher construction costs if they have to repair or rebuild your home after a claim. 

How to Keep Your Premium Affordable

While it is almost certain that your rates will be headed up in the next year or two, there are a few things you can do to help keep them affordable:

Shop Your Coverage: This is the best way to lower your premium. Insurers rate risk differently so premium quotes can vary dramatically. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles. 

Raise Your Deductible: Your insurer may take this decision out of your hands and raise your deductible on certain aspects of your house but if they don’t, raising your deductible can result in a significant discount. If you can afford to double your deductible expect up to a 20 percent discount.

Update Your Home: Updating portions of your home to help it withstand windstorm damage can result in a significant discount. Replacing your roof with wind resistant materials can lower your premium and keep your home safe. Adding storm shutters and a monitored alarm will also lower your insurance costs. 

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