Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - Insurance rates are skyrocketing in Lafayette, Acadiana and all across Louisiana. Mine nearly doubled since last year, and the amount I pay for all the policies that apply to my property total roughly $9500. That equates to almost $800 per month! I've discovered that there are things you may be able to do.

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The $5800 bill for the wind and hail portion, up from $3000 last year, arrived at my house and telling you I nearly collapsed is no exaggeration. I couldn't eat and, that night, I didn't sleep. I took to Facebook to ask for information about other companies and ways to decrease the amount that, frankly, is more expensive than my first car.

One person I spoke with told me that her mother is selling her house because she can't afford to insurance.

Things to Understand About Your Policies

I discovered early in my adult life that we often don't know what questions to ask. Once I realized what those were, the flood gates opened (no pun intended!).

In Louisiana, some insurance companies may not write two parts of the policy together:

  • Hazard insurance covers you if you have a fire, broken pipe or something that may flood, and that sort of stuff.
  • Wind and Hail coverage can be a separate policy that covers you for things like hurricanes. Regular homeowners insurance does not cover these types of occurrences. Unfortunately, this reality exists because we live so close to the coast.

You may have coverage through one provider, but one policy likely doesn't cover both.

Take a look at your policy to see if your wind and hail coverage is written as a Louisiana Citizens Policy. You may not know if you don't ask! Citizens is the "insurer of last resort" and a premium increase went into effect on January 1, 2023. The notice reads:

The approved revisions to the rates result in an overall increase of 62.9% for the FAIR Plan and 65.6% for the Coastal Plan policies. The increase on a statewide basis is 63.1%.

RIDICULOUS!

The Citizens increase could be in addition to possible increases in your hazard and flood insurance. Most insurance companies can write flood policies, and the price won't change (or shouldn't) based on your provider because they are written through the National Flood Insurance Program. I have discovered that personal flood policies are available, so ask the agent. Your flood premium depends on whether you're in a flood zone and other factors about your home. If you have a mortgage, your mortgage company will require that you carry flood insurance if you are in a flood zone.

What Acadiana Homeowners Are Saying

I posted the homeowners insurance premium question to folks on Facebook, and the response is overwhelming. Most everyone remarked about how much their costs have increased, most of them exponentially.

Naomi:

My renewal was twice plus as much from last year.... Was paying like $800 every quarter. Jumped to $1790.00.

Chad:

It increased DOUBLE!!! $4000/year now!!

Lisa:

My homeowner's renewal was $1,500 more than last year. Ouch!!! Shopped around and subscribing with new provider.

 

Phil:

Up 116% over the 50% increase last year....We sure as hell aren't making that much more income year over year!!!

Ted:

Property 1 a few years ago was 2400 went to 2600 then to 3600. Property 2 was 2600 to 5200 to 10800.

Keith:

$1600 to $3200 and all they told me it’s the replacement cost!!

Donna:

homeowners went up $2800 it is $5400/ year. My insurance and property tax will be higher than my mortgage payment! What the fork!

 

What You Do to Possibly Lower Your Premium

Like many of you, I decided it was time to shop around. I'll share with you the steps I'm taking to make sure I'm getting necessary coverage that I can afford.

  1. Get your declaration pages from your current insurance company. They may be available online or call and request that they email them to you. You may discover that you can adjust your coverage amounts which will help with your bill.
  2. Shop! Insurance agents, especially now, are accustomed to working with you on quotes. They are telling me that they are dealing with an influx of requests, given the current climate. When you contact them, they will request that you share your declaration documents with them so they can see what your coverage is. It also helps the process move faster.
  3. Be prepared to share other necessary information with them. Your age, your credit score, and the age of your home and when big items (i.e., roof, AC) were installed or replaced, will factor into the amount you will pay.
  4. Be vigilant about identifying the specific plan provisions. The last thing you want is to get into a situation where you thought an event was covered because it has been or would have been, only to find out that your new or adjusted policy doesn't cover a particular plan option.
  5. Consider all your options. I've had a couple of agents ask if they could quote my car insurance premiums as well because most offer a discount if you have all your insurance in one place. Identify what you're currently paying for auto insurance and if bundling will, indeed, be financially beneficial.
  6. Check with your mortgage company about the amount of homeowners insurance you are required to carry. My mortgage company was very helpful, and now I know the minimum requirements I need for hazard, wind/hail, and flood. Would I like more than minimum? Yes. Can I afford more than minimum? Unsure right now.

If your mortgage is with Fannie Mae, the lender requires the following coverages:

attachment-Fannie Mae
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The Big Takeaway

Insurance rates in Louisiana have always been outrageously high, and the increases this year are just brutal. You aren't alone, and we can all help each other out. Information is key! Don't be afraid to ask for quotes and make adjustments so the decisions you make are the best for your pocketbook and your family.

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Gallery Credit: Harry Hurley

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