Mike Miller CLU
Cell: 402-618-1202 Fax: 402-392-5814
15858 West Dodge Rd., Ste. 100
Omaha, NE 68118
With spring showers (and potential storms) upon us, we sought the advice of our Edge Magazine insurance expert Mike Miller for a few tips on what to look for when considering a new insurance agent and/or coverage.
Complacency: Many people have their insurance program on autopilot. They may have had their same insurance company and agent for many years and haven’t reviewed their premiums or coverages since they originally bought the policy. Most people with mortgage loans have their homeowner’s insurance paid through their escrow account. They don’t really pay attention until they get a notice from their mortgage company that their monthly payments are increasing due to a rise in homeowner’s insurance premiums and/or property tax. However, with the changes happening now in homeowner’s insurance, this is the time to be proactive.
Rising Premiums: In the last twelve months we’ve seen average homeowner’s insurance premiums increase about 15%, but it’s not uncommon for me to talk to new clients who just received 25% rate increases from their former company. Unfortunately, this has been going on for a few years. Just two years ago, one major company increased homeowner’s insurance premiums 40% in a twelve-month period. Weather related losses have just been brutal in the Midwest in the recent past, and insurers have no choice but to increase rates to pay for it.
Wood Roofs: The cost of homeowner’s insurance for houses with wood shingle roofs has skyrocketed. In March, the largest insurance company in the United States stopped selling new policies in Nebraska for houses with wood roofs. Many companies are now offering only actual cash value coverage, which takes depreciation into account. There are still some companies that haven’t changed their stance on wood roofs, but they’re getting harder to find.
What to Do: Shop around. Use an independent agent with access to multiple insurance companies to make the task easier. It doesn’t take as much time as you might think, and you’d be surprised to learn about the array of different options and prices available. The average household with a home and two cars in Omaha pays between $2,000 – $3,000 annually in auto and homeowner’s insurance. Those are too big of bills to not pay attention to. Also, I don’t recommend being loyal to any one insurance company. That’s like being loyal to one credit card company. Insurance companies exist for one reason: to take more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. The big companies spend millions of dollars a year to perfect that process. Do your homework — make sure you are doing what you can to minimize your costs and understand your coverage.