Many of our clients are noticing considerable insurance rate increases this year. Others may be getting hit with firmer underwriting restrictions for their driving record or property. What is going on? Here’s a summary of what our team is seeing and how you can survive these current insurance trends.
Soft Market vs. Hard Market
Like almost everything, the insurance market is cyclical. In a soft market, premiums hold steady or even decrease. Many insurance companies will lower their rates to try and grow. In a hard market, which we are experiencing now, rates increase and coverage is harder to find because underwriters enact stricter standards.
Can you guess which market is best for shopping? At Cincinnatus Insurance, we like to say “We’ll shop it around so you don’t have to.” In today’s hard market, we’re saying “hunker down” in most situations and we have good reason why.
How Long Will This Last?
Historically, hard markets are shorter periods of time than soft markets. For example, our last hard market was 2001-2004, whereas the latest soft market was 2004-2019. We have started to see our preferred carriers tighten up their underwriting guidelines, so we anticipate this hard market to persist a bit longer. Historic inflation, combined with an increase in catastrophic weather events, has made insurance claims costly to resolve. 2022 saw record high losses for insurance carriers, which tells us this hard market is something we should get used to for awhile.
An Assortment of Restrictions
Here is a list of just some of the underwriting restrictions we are seeing from carriers at the moment:
- Age of the roof – some carriers will not write the business if the roof is over 15 years old.
- Overhanging trees too close to the home can be flagged for non-renewal
- Previous non-weather related home claims make a policy ineligible
- Some carriers are requiring bundled business- auto + renters or auto + home
How to Make the Best of a Hard Market
We love finding savings for clients with other carriers. With these current insurance trends, moving your account to another carrier is unlikely the best option for your wallet. The last thing we want to do is move a client who then gets hit with unforeseen underwriting restrictions that disrupt their life or finances. For instance, many carriers are not accepting business if you have a Kia or Hyundai. Our team of independent insurance agents are best equipped to help you navigate this time in the insurance market because we are keenly aware of what each carrier is doing with new and existing business. We also have a wide array of skilled referral partners we can recommend for any kind of home maintenance you need done.
Our Survival Guide for “Hunkering Down”
- Update your roof. A roof replacement for a roof 15 years or older will help your home stay maintained, better protect you when severe weather strikes, and adjust your home insurance premium slightly.
- Adjust your deductibles. Consider raising your deductibles during this time – some carriers are making this mandatory at renewal for current clients. For homeowners especially, raising a $1000 deductible to $2000 or $2500 can help reduce your premium. It also forces you to give extra consideration before filing a claim. As home values and inflation continues to rise rapidly, this is almost a necessary step.
- Consult your agent before filing a claim. Speaking of claims, carriers are cracking down on insureds using their policies to cash in on a new roof or other updates to their vehicle or home. Contact your Cincinnatus Insurance advisor before taking action on filing a claim. They will know how many claims you already have, and what your carrier may do if you file another one.
- Meaningful home maintenance. Are there trees touching your home? Is ivy growing on the façade of your house? Are your front steps crumbling? Insurance carriers do exterior inspections of all new business, and if you really need to move carriers, they may decline coverage if they see your property is in disrepair.
- Added Safety Measures. Several carriers provide discounts for added safety measures like a home alarm systems or installing water sensors. Update your Cincinnatus Insurance advisor if you have added any security measures for your home.
And as always, include your Cincinnatus Insurance advisor in any questions or concerns you may have. We are honored by all of the clients who trust our professional advice and services. We have a deep understanding of current insurance trends. Use us! Our professional advice based on your needs is why you chose us instead of an impersonal national service center hotline!