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Filing a Homeowner’s Claim Will Cost You [AUDIO]

If you’re thinking of making a claim to your homeowner’s insurance, you may want to think again.

Damage to homes in Ortley Beach
Damage to homes in Ortley Beach (Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen)

New Jersey residents pay an average of nine percent more for homeowner’s insurance after making one claim, according to a new report by InsuranceQuotes.com.

“New Jersey is doing pretty well when it comes to rate increases after making just one claim. The national average is a nine percent increase and that’s exactly where New Jersey is,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com. “New Jersey is below the national average for the cost of homeowner’s insurance. The national average is $909. New Jersey residents are paying $867 on average, so they’re faring pretty well.”

According to the report, the state with the highest post-claim increase is Minnesota, 21.2 percent, followed by Connecticut at 20.6 percent, and Maryland at 19.3 percent.

Texas has the lowest post-claim increase where insurance companies are not allowed to increase premiums after the first claim. New York and Florida have the second and third lowest increases at 1.1 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.

“In a state like Texas, the base rate that consumers are paying is much higher than what New Jersey residents are paying to begin with. So, the take away for consumers is to really weigh carefully whether to make a claim or not. It’s not always in your best financial interest to make a homeowner’s claim,” said Adams. “Many consumers mistakenly believe that you should always file a claim no matter what happens. But, where you live will play a big factor in whether it is in your best financial interest or not.”

There are a number of consequences to making a claim.

“You may not qualify for a claim-free discount, which can be up to 20 percent off your base rate. It could increase your deductible and if you’re a serial filer, or someone who files a lot of claims, you’re insurance company can just cancel you or not renew your policy when the time comes,” said Adams.

“Even if you had no pay out on the claim, if you opened one it goes into your history as a homeowner and can increase your rates. So, unfortunately this is something consumers really need to weigh when thinking about filing a claim.”

For more information, including a state-by-state chart and map, check out this report.

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