Filing a single homeowner’s insurance claim can raise consumers’ annual insurance premiums by more than 30 percent, or hundreds of dollars each year, according to research by insuranceQuotes.com, a subsidiary of Bankrate Insurance.
Nationally, one claim leads to an average premium increase of nine percent. The states with the highest single claim increases are Wyoming (+32%), Connecticut (+21%), Arizona (+20%), New Mexico (+19%) and California (+18%).
In Texas, home insurers are not allowed to increase premiums after one claim. The next-lowest increases were observed in New York (+2%), Massachusetts (+2%), Florida (+3%) and Vermont (+4%).
A second claim brings the national average increase up to 20% (the highest increase from a second claim was Michigan’s 71%).
“Homeowners need to be really careful when filing claims,” said Laura Adams, insuranceQuotes.com’s senior analyst. “Even a denied claim can cause your premium to go up. Make sure to know your policy’s specific guidelines and only file a claim when absolutely necessary. Winning a small claim could actually cost you money in the long run.”
Nationally, liability claims are most likely to cause the greatest premium increases. A single liability claim causes premiums to rise by an average of 14%. Theft, vandalism and fire are not far behind. Medical claims (+2%) are the cheapest.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, homeowner’s insurance costs an average of $978 per year (nationally), so a single liability claim adds an average of $137 to that bill.