AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
How to Get the Most for Your Money
Multiple hurricanes along the East and Gulf coasts over the past few years have left more than debris in their wake. One ripple effect that's slamming coastal residents is double-digit increases in their once-stable homeowner's insurance rates.
From Florida to Massachusetts, many coastal homeowners have seen their insurance rates climb by 20% or more. "Someone in Ohio who's moving to coastal South Carolina should expect to pay more for insurance than what they're paying now," says agent Wendell Sutton, of Kinghorn Insurance Services, in Hilton Head, S.C.
In many cases, insurance companies are not renewing policies. Dennis Slattery, 60, a 19-year resident of Hernando Beach, Fla., lives in a house on the beach. He recently learned that his carrier was dropping his coverage because of "catastrophic risk management" – in other words, the risk from future hurricanes. Many other Floridians, he notes, are facing rate increases that they can't afford. "People are worried, and some are thinking of moving," Slattery says.
Insurance companies are raising rates and dropping coverage in an attempt to reduce their risk exposure. "The old view was that we would have a bad hurricane every few years," says Robert Klein, director of the Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research at Georgia State University. "The tone of insurers started changing after the fourth hurricane hit in '04."
Not ready to give up the surf? There are some ways you can reduce your insurance costs.
Most state insurance commission websites offer price information, a list of the state's leading insurers, and buyers' guides. Visit www.insureuonline.org to find links to each state commission.
If your coverage has been dropped, you can learn about "last resort" options at the commission sites. Most states have insurance pools for coastal residents who can't get coverage, but be prepared to pay higher rates than other residents who still qualify in the private market. For example, those in Louisiana's last-resort option, called Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., pay premiums that must be 10% above the average of the top ten writers in the parish they reside in. "By law it's more expensive than the private sector," says Jim Donelon, Louisiana insurance commissioner.
Keep Coverage Up to Date
Adjust Out-of-Pocket Costs
In many coastal areas, you may need a separate policy for wind and hail. And flood insurance is a must, insurance experts say. You can purchase flood insurance through the federal subsidized program, and you can buy extra coverage from private insurers.
Reprinted with permission. All contents © 2007 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.
License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067
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