If I file a claim, will my home insurance premium increase?

01 May

Homeowners insurance can be a financial lifesaver if your home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. However, once you make a claim on your policy, there is a good chance that your premium will be headed up. It is always a good idea to understand what happens after you file a claim and how much it will impact your premium so you can decide if it makes financial sense to file a claim.

How much will my homeowners insurance increase after a claim?

In most cases, filing a homeowners insurance claim will raise your premium temporarily, for a few years. The amount of the increase can depend on several factors which include: 

  • Type of claim filed
  • Extent of the damage to your home
  • Location of the home
  • Your personal claims history

In addition to the personal details of your claim, your premium could increase based on the frequency of claims in your area. If a major storm damages numerous homes in the area, your premium will probably rise even more than if you were the only one in the area to file a claim. 

Why will my insurance premiums go up after a claim?

While a number of factors can lead to an increase after a claim, one of the largest reasons is the fact that statistics show that once a claim is filed, you are more likely to file another claim in the future. According to statistics, this is particularly true for water damage, theft and dog bite claims. 

Insurance companies love statistics, and they are a major factor when setting a premium and raising it after a claim. If statistics show you are likely to file another claim in the future, your insurer will raise your premium to help cover the cost of future claims. 

It should be noted that not all claims will result in a premium increase but certain types of claims will almost always push your rates even higher. The following types of claims will usually result in a premium increase:

  • Your home is located in an area with severe weather
  • You live in a high-crime area
  • You have filed liability claims 
  • Your home has a history of claims
  • You have filed more than one claim over several years

Liability lawsuits are more likely to result in an increase than a property damage claim because a liability claim may result in a lawsuit which can be very expensive for your insurance company. Your insurer must pay for a legal defense as well as settlements or judgements up to your coverage limits. These types of expenses will usually lead to a higher rate. 

How long will I pay higher rates? 

The pain of a higher premium will not last forever, but it will be measured in years, not months. While it will vary by insurance company, expect to pay a higher premium for at least three years and in most cases, it will be five years.

While your premium should start dropping after 3-5 years, it may never return to your original rate. 

Are there circumstances where an insurer cannot increase rates after a claim?

The quick answer is yes, there are circumstances where an insurer is not allowed to raise your rates after a claim. Here are a few situations where a rate increase may not happen:

  • If you inquire about filing a claim but do not submit one your insurer cannot raise your rates
  • If your insurer denies your claim, they cannot raise your rates
  • If you file a claim due to natural disaster damage, your insurer may or may not raise your rates

It should be noted that insurance is controlled at the state level so laws related to insurance and claims can vary between states. Always make your understand consumer protection laws in your state. 

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