New survey pins Montana’s rising home insurance rates to natural disasters

Posted at 3:35 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 18:16:52-04

BILLINGS- Have you noticed a startling increase in the cost of your homeowner’s Insurance recently? If so, you’re not alone.

A new survey indicates that over a recent nine-year span, homeowners in Montana saw insurance rates jump 61 percent.

The main culprit for the startling increase was the frequency and severity of natural disasters nationwide, including hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and floods, according to Seattle-based QuoteWizard, an insurance research firm.

In this new age of climate change, severe weather and natural disasters seem to be the norm rather than the exception, leading to a jump in home insurance rates in every state over the past decade, according to the report.

Adam Johnson, research analyst with QuoteWizard, says rising insurance costs are an integral part of the cost of living.

“When the top insurance companies like AllState, State Farm, Farmers, Geico and Progressive, when they’re experiencing billions of dollars in losses across the country, it’s the homeowners that really end up footing the bill at the end of the day,” said Johnson.

This new QuoteWizard survey compares annual home insurance rates from 2007 to 2016.

Montana was listed 21st in the country for the percentage increase.

An average Montana homeowner’s policy rose from $700 in 2007 to $1,130 in 2016.

Neighboring states North Dakota and Wyoming ranked 18th and 19th in the survey, respectively.

Again the big culprit, natural disasters, accounted for nearly two-thirds of home insurance losses, largely due to wind, hail and water damage.

The states facing the stiffest increases – those in the Central Plains’ tornado alley – where Oklahoma, Kansas & Colorado all saw insurance costs jump more than 70 percent since 2007.

“The states most affected are those with the most severe weather events. States like Oklahoma, Kansas , Colorado and Nebraska all prone to tornadoes, as well as states like Louisiana, Florida and Texas all prone to hurricanes. Really, where you see the most severe weather – translates into the highest insurance rates,” Johnson said.

So, the next time you watch severe weather taking a toll across the country, keep in mind – it’s taking a bite out of everyone’s pocketbooks.

The one thing homeowners can do is shop around to make sure they’re getting the greatest coverage for the lowest cost.

Reporting by Jay Kohn for MTN News