Homeowners’ insurance premiums have been on the rise, and this year they are expected to go up a whopping five percent nationally. The average homeowners insurance premium this year will be $1,004.

That’s the biggest yearly increase since the market downturn and will mark the first time the national average premium is above $1,000.

Steven Weisbart of the Insurance Information Institute says that doesn’t mean Jersey homeowners will see a five percent increase to pay for Midwest storm damage. That would be illegal in the Garden State.

But, he says, we will be paying for what he calls, “a new recognition that perhaps weather patterns have changed to the point that we will more of the kind of damage in the future that we recently experienced. The states say they don’t usually approve requests for increases by the exact amount insurers ask for.”

Weisbart also makes the point that Irene demonstrated to us that the state is not immune to the threat of severe storm damage. He says homeowners can mitigate higher premiums with better construction, stronger roofs, better doors, and windows. They can also take higher deductibles to lower premiums.