As with every group of businesses, there's an association for the insurance industry. It's called the Insurance Information Institute. When individual insurers fear adverse publicity, the III usually gets the job of making general announcements. That way, the news comes out with less damage to the member companies. So, for example, when there was flooding because of the melting snow and then the torrential rains, it was left to the III to warn people that the majority of policies do not cover damage caused when sewers back up. That's not the most reassuring of news. Making equally bad reading was a report that premium rates for property insurance were likely to rise by an average of 3% this year. This reflects both the aforementioned bad weather and the rise in the costs of repairs. You might not have noticed it yet, but builders have been steadily increasing their charges. The price of gas has been rising, labor costs are up, replacement materials are more expensive - it's all bad news even though there's supposed to be a recession.
So why might you have a heart attack when your renewal notice hits the mailbox? Although the politicians may not have accepted the reality of climate change, the insurance industry is watching the statistics and reassessing weather risks state-by-state. There's been tornadoes and major storms across the southern states. Their premiums will be rising faster. The other common reason flows from the insistence that you all shop around for your next policy. In the days of habit, you picked an insurer and bundled your auto and home policies. This earned you a discount and everyone was happy. As more people use internet search engines to find the cheapest auto insurance, they are breaking the bundle and the rate for the remaining home policy goes up sharply. You should always look at all your policies together and not deal with separate policies.
How to keep premium rate increases to a minimum? First remember CLUE. The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange is another insurance industry body that stores information about every claim you make. If you propose changing insurers, the first thing new companies check before giving you a quote is whether you have recently made a claim. If so, you will be quoted a higher premium. The moral of this story is not to claim unless you are looking at a really big loss. Then there's the recession and its effect on your credit score. Most insurers include the score in their formula to decide whether you are a responsible person. The assumption is that people with good credit records will also take care of their homes. Before you start shopping around, do whatever you can to improve your score. For useful advice, try www.myfico.com and www.whatsmyscore.org.
In other words, no matter how great the temptation to track down cheap home insurance using the internet, think carefully about bundles, the claims you have made, and your credit score. These are factors under your control and, unlike blindly increasing your deductible which is you deciding to insure yourself, will produce long-term savings on your homeowners insurance quotes. Remember, it's better to get quality home insurance at an affordable price than cut-price insurance that fails to cover you when your sewers dump their contents in your kitchen.