It is no secret that homeowner’s insurance premiums are rising. This is the result of increased reinsurance costs and massive roof claim fraud. As a result, some insurance carriers have left our state and those remaining have tightened their guidelines and raised rates. The overall rate increases are necessary to ensure the viability of our market into the future. So how do you survive in hardened insurance market?
One of the first questions I get asked is to simply rewrite a client’s policy with another, “less expensive” carrier. What is soon discovered is that their rate increase is not isolated to just them and their insurance company. This is a market problem, meaning it spreads among all carriers. There are times that it makes sense to rewrite to another carrier, but the savings needs to be substantial and the client needs be aware of any underwriting concerns. If you rewrite to a new carrier, understand that you will be put back underneath the underwriting microscope, and in a hard market like we are in right now underwriters are very conservative. The fear is that a new carrier may find something that does not meet underwriting guidelines and you find yourself with a cancellation notice in hand.
What I find better than changing carriers is to make modifications to your existing policy. Doing this will save you money and keep your insurance policy protected from a potential underwriting cancellation, which is common in a hard market. There are numerous areas to save money on your policy, but here are a few line items that are most common:
- Deductibles – A higher deductible means a lower premium.
- Personal Property Replacement Cost – Removing this endorsement will lower your premium, but subject you to an actual cash value settlement basis.
- Limits – Discuss overall limit reductions on personal property, other structures, and loss of use.
- Screen Enclosure – Consider reducing or eliminating.
I would also encourage you to make sure all available discounts are being received, such as:
- Wind Mitigation Discounts
- Alarm Credits
- Gated and/or Guarded Community.
- Age of roof
- Water leak detection system
- Multi-policy discounts
More conversation will be necessary with your agent about ways to save, but this should give you a good guide to follow in having that conversation.
Finally, please understand that as your agent, we are your partner, not your enemy. We did not set the rates. We are having multiple conversations every day with our clients trying to come up with a plan that works for each of them individually. If you have questions, please call us at 239-254-0127. We stand ready to help guide you through this market.