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Fighting Rising Home Insurance Rates

MARION, IA (CBS2/FOX28) With spring and summer weather making its way through the Midwest, homeowners and their insurance companies are both dreading hail and wind damage.

Theres no shortage of factors that could make your home insurance payments go the wrong way: up.

"Any kind of loss that an insurance company would look at as a risk factor and say, 'You know we're seeing a trend here, said Iowa Insurance Division Spokesperson Tom Alger.

It could be something like an increase in crime or shutting down fire houses, anything that would make a city, or every just part of a city, more risky to insure. While it might be frustrating to part with a little more money, Tom says there is no such thing as random increases.

"Everything has to be justified, said Algers.

Thats what Marion resident Clara Idekers heard before.

"There's always an excuse each time, 'Well you made x-number of claims so now we have to raise your insurance, said Ideker.

Shes lived in Marion for the past eight years and the increases that shes seen generally come after hail storms.

"Basically it was just my gutters and spouts and the hail dented it all and knocked it loose so I had to file a claim, said Ideker.

The insurance covered the damage on her car and to her house, but she pays more now to keep that coverage.

"You kind of have to swallow it because you have to have insurance on your house. I kind of shop around from time to time to see if there's anything cheaper, said Ideker.

Ted Biderman lives just down the street.

"This porch had an aluminum roof with skylight panels that were made out of fiberglass and the hail was big enough that it shattered the fiberglass, said Biderman.

But hes different than Clara.

"I got a quote and the deductible was higher enough that the quote came in under the deductible so I just paid it out of my pocket, said Biderman.

He says he doesnt mind having a higher deductible because it keeps his premiums where they are.

"Insurance companies nationwide have had so many disasters that I thought they might go up but I haven't really noticed anything appreciable, said Biderman.

Sue Erbes is the Vice President of Operations at TrueNorth Insurance. She says if you can, taking a higher deductibe, somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000 is the best way to keep your rates down.

"Insurance is for the large losses, you know, said Erbes. That's what you're paying for. Some of the things you can absorb yourself, you should absorb yourself."

Sue says the companies that TrueNorth represent have kept their rates level since August of last year. But when those companies cant keep rates consistent, it can get bad for consumers fast.

"If the company increases it every month, it can be five to ten percent, then the next six months they could do another increase, said Erbes.

Tom also says rates across the state, and in Eastern Iowa, have stayed fairly stagnant, but that it never hurts to pit the insurance companies against one another.

"I think there's a lot of options out there, said Erbes. Smart consumers always shop around.

"It's a rich insurance market for consumers and it does give consumers the opportunity to make sure that the rates they're being offered by their insurance company are what somebody else would do, said Alger.

Both Ted and Clara say theyre keeping the insurance they have, at least for now.

To file complaints about unfair insurance rate hikes, call 1-877-955-1212 or go to www.IID.iowa.gov.
 
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