Home insurance through the roof? Time to shop around

Texas rates rose nearly 11% last year; more increases expected

SAN ANTONIO – Home insurance costs continue to shoot through the roof. With even more hikes to premiums expected, now may be a good time to shop around.

Extreme weather is one reason Texas has some of the highest homeowner’s insurance costs. The state has more than its share of hail, tornados and even ice storms. And, as more people move to the state, insurers take on more risk.

Last year, rates rose an average of 10.8%, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. That’s partly because the cost of materials to repair or replace homes, which are also rising in value, are up.

Analysts expect another jump in rates and resulting premiums this year, which many homeowners already see.

With homeowner’s insurance premiums expected to rise faster than inflation, Consumer Reports says now is the time to shop around.

“You do get a loyalty benefit for sticking around with companies, but it’s not as great as the benefit from getting an overall lower price from shopping around,” said Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports money expert.

One tool to help you compare prices is www.helpinsure.com.

Once you’ve found the right insurer, be sure to take advantage of all discounts.

One of the biggest savers is bundling. That means buying your homeowners and auto coverage from the same company, which can save up to 30%. Think about extra items to bundle, like coverage for a boat or motorcycle.

Consider raising your deductible. Moving to a $1,000 deductible from a $500 can shave your premium by 25%.

Report home improvements. Let your agent know when you replace old plumbing, add security cameras, or install gas or water leak detectors. You may be able to trim 2%-6% with each additional item.

If you live in a fire-prone area, even cutting back dry brush around your home and outbuildings could generate a credit on your bill.

Remember cheapest isn’t necessarily the best. Great service matters. Two insurers have consistently landed in the top tier of Consumer Reports’ ratings: Amica and USAA.

Find more Consumer Reports stories on KSAT.com here

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.