Mass. Consumer Comments Highlight Concerns Over Home Insurance Rates

By | December 30, 2015

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance recently published on its website written public comments that were received in conjunction with the Division’s informational hearings on the Massachusetts home insurance marketplace.

These consumer comments illustrate how some Massachusetts homeowners are feeling increasingly frustrated over the rising cost of home insurance.

One homeowner in the Cape Cod region said in her comment that her premiums have risen to the point where selling her home has become “an enticing prospect,” even though she has never filed a claim before.

“I have been a homeowner on Cape Cod for over 20 years. I have never submitted a claim,” the homeowner wrote. “My insurance rate has risen from $600.00 per year to the current rate of $1725.00. I don’t live near the water or any other possible natural disaster making area.”

The homeowner wrote: “It is getting to the point that selling my home and renting is an enticing prospect. It is absolutely ridiculous that the cost of insurance climbs while people are not receiving increases in their income.”

Rising Costs

In another comment, a senior citizen who bought her duplex in Sagamore in 1997 said rising insurance rates are making it difficult for her to make ends meet.

She said that in 1997, her premium was $500 per year with a 2 percent wind deductible and a $500 regular deductible.

“I have never put in a claim since I have owned the house,” she wrote. She noted that she now pays $2,300, with a 5 percent wind deductible and a $2,000 regular deductible.

“I am a single, female senior citizen who is trying to make ends meet so that I can remain in my home and not have to go into some senior affordable housing subsidized by the government,” the Sagamore resident wrote. “These insurance hikes are pretty much making it impossible to do that now.”

In another comment, an Eastham homeowner wrote that his home was built in 2008 to the newly adopted building codes, taken from the Dade County, Florida, codes. “So needless to say this code is very focused on the structural integrity for hurricane protection and I did pay a premium for the extra work required to be in compliance,” the homeowner wrote.

In 2008, his annual premium was $2,018, but after consecutive years of double-digit rate increases, the premium rose to $3,951 in 2014, he said.

“I find this incredible, a 96 percent increase from 2008 to 2014, while inflation is roughly 2-3 percent per year, and for a home built specifically to the new stringent building codes,” he said. “The insurance costs now surpass the property taxes.”

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance said it is accepting written comments via email until Thursday, Dec. 31. “The commissioner has left the record for these hearings open until the end of the year in case more policyholders choose to comment,” said Division Spokesperson Chris Goetcheus.

Goetcheus said topics the commissioner of insurance is interested in hearing about include but are not limited to the availability and affordability of home insurance, consumers experience with insurers decisions to deny applications for coverage, and how consumers are notified of potential rate and coverage changes or coverage options.

“Once the record closes on the series of informational hearings, the Division may issue a decision, create or require additional guidance for consumers and the industry regarding rates and/or products, or take any other actions deemed necessary or appropriate with regard to issues raised at the hearings,” Goetcheus said.

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