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One property insurance claim can hike your premiums by hundreds


Apr. 17, 2015 CNN Money

On average, filing a single claim — for anything ranging from a stolen bicycle to tornado damage — will result in your monthly premium being raised by 9%, according to a report released by InsuranceQuotes.com. File a second claim and premiums climb by an average of 20%.

“Winning a small claim could actually cost you money in the long run,” said Laura Adams, InsuranceQuotes.com’s senior analyst. “Homeowners need to be really careful. Even a denied claim can cause your premium to go up.”

And the size of the claim has little impact. Filing a small claim increases your rates by just about as much as filing a catastrophic one. “The insurers have found that people who make a claim are more likely to make another,” said Adams. “You’ve become a riskier customer.”

Yet, the type of claim does matter. Liability claims, such as from personal injuries, are the most expensive type of claim, with insurers raising premiums by an average of 14%, InsuranceQuotes.com found.

Other claims that lead to big premium increases are theft and vandalism, which often indicate that the home is in a neighborhood that is unstable or falling prey to blight. In bad neighborhoods, these crimes can recur, and the high premiums reflect that.

The premium increases also vary greatly by state. Homeowners in Wyoming saw the biggest increase in their premiums — an average of 32% — after a claim was filed. While the hikes are high, the state tends to charge fairly low premiums of about $770 a year, considerably lower than the $978 national average.

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