Home insurance rates are higher than last year due to elevated hurricane activity over the last two years. We all are praying for a calm season in 2022 to help rates get back in line, but you should be aware of potential increases.
The insurance markets are strict right now, so if you have a new roof, updated plumbing or electrical system or wind mitigation measures (such as impact glass), or if you have added new home features or removed trees within 15 feet of your home, please let your agent know. You may be eligible for policy credits.
As disappointing as this may sound, if your roof was installed after Hurricane Katrina (16 years ago), insurance companies now consider your roof “old.” They may impose restrictions on the level of coverage they will provide for your roof, (e.g. higher wind deductibles, actual cash value), or you may even get a roof exclusion. Let your agent know if you have replaced your roof, as insurance companies love a new roof.
Now let’s talk about hot water heaters, which have become a major source of insurance claims because they can cause significant water damage. Many companies will not even underwrite a home with a hot water heater in the attic. Good news if you have a tankless water heater – you may be eligible for a policy discount.
One factor affecting all homeowners is Inflation, and the cost to replace your home most likely has increased. If you do not have an “inflation guard” on your policy, your coverage level may not have been changed for years. Please take the time to review your coverages, and let your agent know if you wish to increase them. Companies may provide an estimate on the cost to rebuild your home, or you may wish to contact a local builder for a recommendation. In the event of a total loss, your policy only will pay up to the amount of the coverage you selected, so make sure you have reasonable coverage for today’s world.
Flood insurance rates also are increasing, but whatever you do, do not let your flood insurance lapse, because it will be thousands of dollars higher when you get it again. There are now several private flood markets that may be available to you. In most instances, flood insurance still may be transferred to a new owner, so if you ever plan to sell your home, you will want to have flood coverage in place. Remember, anywhere that gets rain can flood.
Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is president of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA, and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast.com, (228) 385-1177 or email@example.com.