Homeowners Insurance rates to climb - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Homeowners Insurance rates to climb

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November 19, 2002

Albany -- Get ready for higher home and business insurance premiums. Southwest Georgia insurance agents say you can expect a 15 to 25 percent rate hike for your policy by the first of the year. The slumping stock market is partly to blame.

Richard Doherty of Doherty Duggan and Rouse Insurors says he has been working with his clients for months, getting them ready for rate hikes. Doherty said" We're seeing the first filings going through. 10 to 15 percent would be what I would say would be the average."

Bill Copelan of Copelan Insurance agrees the rate hikes will be across the board. Copelan said "I suspect you can see a 10 to 15 percent increase in your home owner premiums next year."

The insurance companies are raising rates partly because of the stock market slump. Copelan said "They typically like to see a 15 percent return on their equity. Now they are lucky if they getting 3 and a half to 4 percent. So the difference they are going to make by raising your rates."

Many insurance companies are also cutting back on the number of policies they carry. If you have made claims in recent years, the insurance companies may decide they don't want to renew your policy.

Doherty said "Another dynamic of this market, not only is the price going up. The availability is restricted. There are far less players going after your risk." The best way to avoid a huge rate increase on your insurance, is to check your coverage and cut back if possible.

Copelan said "There is no need in over insuring. You can take a higher deductible, that's a certain amount." You can expect to see the insurance rate increases by the start of the new year.

Insurance insiders say medical and car insurance rates have been steadily increasing and are expected to continue their normal pattern.

posted at 2:35 by jimw@walb.com