The Boston Globe

US home insurance premiums may hit a record this year: report

- By Coco Liu

US home insurance rates are expected to reach a record high this year, with the biggest increases occurring in states prone to severe weather events, according to a new analysis.

The average premium for homeowners insurance in the United States is expected to hit $2,522 by the end of the year, driven largely by intensifyi­ng natural disasters, rising reinsuranc­e costs, and higher fees for home repair, according to Insurify, a Massachuse­tts-based insurance-comparison platform. That figure would represent a 6 percent increase over the average US premium at the end of 2023 and follows a roughly 20 percent increase over the past two years.

“Many Americans are motivated to buy a home because they think their housing costs will remain fixed or stable when compared to renting,” said Cassie Sheets at Insurify, who co-authored the analysis. “But this trend of significan­t insurance rate hikes makes housing costs more unpredicta­ble.”

Home insurance is becoming a flashpoint in the United States as damage from thundersto­rms picks up and as climate change increases the frequency and severity of natural disasters. In the 1980s, the country experience­d about three disasters a year that caused damages of at least $1 billion each. In the 2010s, that climbed to 13 per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheri­c Administra­tion. Last year, the United States endured a record 28 weather and climate disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages each.

Responding to climate-induced threats, a growing number of insurance companies are pulling out of California and Florida, where those impacts are frequently felt. To fill the gap, state “insurers of last resort” are absorbing trillions of dollars in risk.

“It’s possible that the highestris­k areas will become uninsurabl­e,” said Betsy Stella, vice president of carrier management and operations at Insurify. “However, where there’s demand, typically a supplier will appear. The question will be, at what cost?”

For Insurify’s analysis, researcher­s collected real-time quotes from the platform and combined them with aggregate rate filings from a third-party data provider. They then analyzed how often and by how much insurers implemente­d rate increases during the second half of 2023 and the beginning of 2024 and applied that pattern to the rest of this year. Insurify only looked at data for singlefami­ly frame houses that met a list of criteria around insurance type, coverage limits, and homeowners’ credit score and claim history.

The steepest premiums are expected for states that also have the highest risk of natural disasters. Homeowners in Florida, who already pay the highest rates of home insurance in the country, are expected to see another 7 percent increase this year — bringing the state average to $11,759, more than four times the national average.

 ?? REBECCA BLACKWELL/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE ?? People walked past destroyed homes and debris two days after Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., in 2022.
REBECCA BLACKWELL/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE People walked past destroyed homes and debris two days after Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., in 2022.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States