Hail Damage Causing Home Insurance Rate Hikes

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kansans are paying higher insurance premiums. In some cases, they’re seeing double-digit increases. You can put the blame on hailstorms over the past five years. The highest losses and rate increases are in the Wichita area.

Kansans opening up their insurance bills might be driven to exclaim, “HAIL!” No, I'm not swearing. I said “hail” as in what caused roofs in our area to need replacing.

According to the Kansas insurance commissioner’s office. Storm losses over the past five years are 30 percent higher than previous state records. The mounting damage is mostly from hail, not tornadoes.

"The hail bands have pretty much been right over the Wichita area," said Kansas Assistant Insurance Commissioner Bob Tomlinson.

That’s why so many roofs have been replaces in recent years. Tomlinson says 70 percent of house insurance is wrapped up in the value of the roof.

"We've been losing roofs in Kansas to hail," he said.

It has Wichita residents experiencing “sticker shock” when their homeowner’s insurance bill arrives.

"What I looked at from 2012 to 2013 was a 21 percent increase in the premium," said Wichita resident Craig Plank.

There are double-digit percentage increases on Plank’s bill each year from 2009 to 2013. Altogether, he calculates a 76 percent increase over a five-year period.

Companies like Travelers, which Plank has, base their rates on the damage risks in Kansas. Tomlinson says law forbids companies from assessing losses from other states and regions.

"It's going to go up everywhere state wide, but it's going to go up more heavily in the areas that have actually had the losses," Tomlinson said.

Plank said, "I think I owe it to myself to do a little shopping around and see if there might be a better deal."

There might be a better deal. The commissioner's office says some companies spread increases over several years while some get the bad news out there all at once.


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