HomeHome InsuranceHomeowner insurance rate increase proposed, nearly double in some areas -

Homeowner insurance rate increase proposed, nearly double in some areas –

On Jan. 3, the North Carolina Rate Bureau requested that the N.C. Department of Insurance increase homeowners’ insurance rates by an average of 42.2 percent.

If the NCDOI agrees to the increase, the proposed rates will become effective Aug. 1. But, if the department does not agree to the increase, the rates will either be denied or negotiated with the NCRB until a settlement is reached.

While the proposed increases in some counties are as low as 4.3 percent, the beach areas of Brunswick, Carteret, Pender, Onslow and New Hanover counties would be subject to an increase of up to 99.4 percent. Orange and Chatham counties’ insurance rates would go up 25.1 percent, and Durham County would increase by nearly 40 percent.

Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, the director of housing policy for the North Carolina Housing Coalition, said inflation and climate change are part of the reason why home insurance premiums are going up. Since coastal areas are more prone to natural disasters, she said, some insurance companies are pulling out completely and will not insure clients.

“On the homeownership side, a few things can happen,” she said. “You have your monthly mortgage. You also have a monthly insurance plan. Imagining that 99.4 percent — it’s astronomical, essentially doubling the bill that people are used to.”

Watkins-Cruz also said the proposed insurance rate hike could particularly affect affordable housing rental properties and their developers. 

She said developers who are already tasked with financing a long list of costs have to figure out how to afford the new cost increase without jeopardizing affordability.

“It can be easy for people to try and ignore the affordable housing crisis if they’re not experiencing it,” Watkins-Cruz said. “However, this is one of those issues that is really going to hit widespread, it’s going to be very widespread in its impact.”

Sarah Viñas, the director of the Affordable Housing and Community Connections department in the Town of Chapel Hill, said 60 percent of renters in Chapel Hill are cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.

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