DALLAS — Remember last year when the roads were clear because so many of us were driving less in the early days of the pandemic? At the time, insurance companies started giving some of us the gift of lower premiums.
Well...give and you shall receive, apparently. The latest Texas-specific numbers show that insurance companies did collect less money in premiums in 2020 ($22,266,228,900) compared to 2019 ($23,030,957,752).
Though Texas had 273 more traffic fatalities in 2020 than the year before, TXDOT reports there were 800 fewer serious injury crashes in the state in 2020 than in 2019, resulting in 1,199 fewer serious injuries.
Auto insurers had far less in direct losses in 2020 ($12,537,878,262) than they did in 2019 ($14,212,418,772), so their auto policy profits in Texas were $909,811,658 higher in 2020 than in 2019. Now that’s a nice gift!
But wait, there’s another big gift to open…
In 2020, insurers in Texas took in more money from homeowners' premiums ($10,540,066,498) than they did in 2019 ($9,995,064,411). They also had less in direct losses in this category in 2020 ($5,705,723,725) than in 2019 ($5,869,035,804), so their homeowner insurance profits went up by $708,314,166 in 2020 compared to 2019.
And then one insurer almost got another decent gift. Almost.
Despite never having filed a claim -- and despite the fact that insurers paid out less for homeowner claims last year -- my annual homeowner’s insurance premium renewal recently jumped by 20%. But I didn’t despair, because I was shopping around anyway to compare homeowners' insurance rates. I do it every year. It can be a pain. It is not something I look forward to each year.
But this time, I switched providers. I am now paying about what I was before my last insurer raised my premium...and that is exceptional, considering that I added a lot more coverage. Part of the reason I did that was that in case my home suffers major damage. Pandemic supply chain problems, surging labor costs, and a red-hot homebuilding market have pushed the cost to rebuild straight up.
That rebuilding cost is one of the reasons I review this each year...and so should you. Consider this my annual reminder to you. You don’t want to find out you don't have enough home insurance coverage the hard way--after you have suffered a disaster.
And there are always potential disasters. Hurricane Ida is reminding us of that. And remember, in some cases, property owners in at-risk areas cannot make insurance adjustments when there is a tropical system already approaching.