On behalf of Gregory Fell at The Fell Law Firm
The Dallas Morning News has reported that Texas has the third-highest homeowner insurance premium rates in the nation with only Florida and Louisiana being higher. This comes as insurance companies are seeing “big gains” in their profits. In discussing homeowners insurance rates, a spokesperson for the consumer group Texas Watch told the Morning News that the high insurance premiums paid by Texans are “just more evidence that the market is broken.” Every year, said the spokesperson, rates keep going up while coverage options continue to get cut. Texas homeowners expect a reasonable value for their insurance but homeowners “keep paying more and getting less.”
During the recent 2014 governor’s race, the high cost of homeowners insurance in Texas was something that both Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis agreed on according to the Business Journal. Abbott was quoted as saying that we need to find ways to reduce homeowners insurance rates since they are “going through the roof.” Davis contended that “homeowners are being gouged in our state.”
The Texas-sponsored website HelpInsure.com points out that, historically, homeowners in Texas pay higher insurance premiums than most other states “due to the unique array of weather-related risks to which the state is vulnerable.” Among these weather-related risks are hailstorms, wind-storms, tornadoes and hurricanes along the coast. It is stated that wind-related weather events are the main factors in determining whether the insurance industry has a profitable year or not in Texas. The unfortunate bottom line – according to HelpInsure.com – is that Texas homeowners insurance rates “will always be among the highest in the country” due to our state’s vulnerability to severe weather risks.
While we may not be able to prevent insurance rate increases, we can take steps to make sure that we properly insure our homes in order to prevent unnecessary out-of-pocket losses. When shopping for homeowners insurance, the Insurance.com website offers some tips so that you can make sure that your insurance “has you covered for whatever life might have in store.” First, your home insurance coverage should cover the cost of rebuilding your house if it is destroyed. Second, make sure you have an adequate amount of coverage for your personal property. Third, never overlook coverage for “additional living expenses” in the event your home becomes uninhabitable. Fourth, and most importantly, read the exclusions section of your policy and understand what is not going to be covered under the policy.
The Texas Insurance Commission observes that there are discounts that can help Texas homeowners save money on their insurance. For example, most insurers offer premium discounts if you take steps to reduce potential losses. While discounts vary, you may be able to obtain insurance premium discounts if you have the following:
- Automatic sprinkler systems
- Burglar, fire and smoke alarms
- Fire extinguishers
- Impact-resistant or noncombustible roof
- Other policies with the same insurance company
In addition, you might be able to get a discount if you have a recently constructed home or if you are over 65 years of age. Those who keep their property in good condition and have not filed claims for several years also tend to pay lower premiums.
Seeking legal help
When insurance customers pay what seems like a premium price for homeowners insurance, they expect good service from their insurers when their home sustains damage. Unfortunately, insurers sometimes do not act in good faith in handling your claim. If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer, you should call a Texas attorney experienced in handling insurance claims cases.