Since the millennium, home insurance rates have gone up faster than the cost of a new car, the price of a home, even faster than the cost of visiting a doctor.
The unfortunate truth is that from 2000 to 2015, home insurance prices increased at nearly four times the pace that median family income increased, and 21% faster than the personal contribution to healthcare costs.
The reality is that some homeowners are losing the ability to afford their lifestyle in order to pay for the insurance needed to protect their lifestyle. Whether home, health, or car insurance, prices on personal insurance are skyrocketing.
Why hasn’t anyone noticed the rise in home insurance prices?
There are three reasons this has gone unnoticed. First, home insurance is not a political topic so it gets little attention from the media. While price increases of health insurance are front and center on nearly everyone’s mind, home insurance prices are increasing even more rapidly.
For an easy comparison, since 2000 the personal contribution to health care costs has increased at a rate that equates to doubling every 15 years.
Home insurance prices are going up even faster, doubling every 13 years. These rapidly increasing insurance costs are being paid for out of a family income that is doubling only every 40 years.
The front-page news routinely covers the rapid escalation of ACA health plans. While home insurance protects roughly 80 million family homes, every family pays their own home insurance bill. By contrast, only a fraction of these families are paying their own health insurance bill.
Second, for the homeowner, interest rates have been falling while insurance prices have been skyrocketing. The reduced monthly mortgage payment has more than covered the rising cost of insurance. Therefore, the pain of rapidly increasing prices has not been felt.
This situation has now changed. Interest rates are beginning to rise and insurance rates continue to increase. The combined effect is that housing is becoming less affordable for new buyers, the working class and people on a fixed income.
Third, consumers feel helpless when it comes to insurance. Law or contract mandates insurance and there’s little easy-to-understand information available. Many consumers are resigned to insurance as a necessary evil.
What can be done about this problem?
Mandated to buy services that are increasing at four times the rate of family income, consumers deserve better information. Consumers deserve transparency into what they are buying and the company from whom they are buying.
Measuring the performance of insurance companies is possible. In fact, regulators already collect the data. Regulators and lawmakers need to embrace transparency, providing information on insurance company behavior directly to consumers, or making it available to third parties to analyze the data and present it to consumers.
The results this transparency will deliver will benefit all deserving parties. Consumers will get better service, protection and value. The companies providing the best protection, service and value will gain market share and revenue