The weather in Central Texas is unpredictable to say the least, and Mother Nature is the biggest factor when it comes to homeowner’s insurance rates.
For the past few years, the state's top three carriers - State Farm, Allstate and Farmer's have raised rates. Farmer's has a 10 percent hike taking effect this month. State Farm imposed a 10 percent hike back in December. That's when Allstate raised its rates, by as much as 20 percent in some cases.
The reason for the increases is to cover the ever-increasing costs of the state's numerous natural disasters.
“Those risks are already priced into the policy you and I pay in the marketplace, that policy holders all over the state pay,” Texas Watch Executive Director Alex Winslow said. “So for them to come back and say, 'We had some homeowners who had to file claims after the Central Texas wildfires, we’re going to raise rates,' that just doesn’t hold water.”
Last year's Labor Day wildfires caused $350 million in claims alone. While it was just one of countless catastrophes around the country, many policy holders still aren't convinced.
Texas homeowner Jennifer Lamkin says rate hikes are especially hard to take when you see the profit margins of the big insurance companies in the tens of billions.
“They’re putting that onto us, the homeowners. So the shareholders all get more and we get less I guess,” Lamkin said.
“It is not a business like any other," Winslow said. "Certainly insurance companies have a right to make a profit, like every other business, but we have to have insurance.”
State Farm alone took in $60.8 billion last year.
However, with roughly 70 insurance companies writing policies in the state, homeowners do have the option to shop around for the best rate.
Insurance companies must file rate increases with the Texas Department of Insurance.
The department checks to make sure the rates meet state requirements.