Home insurance rates in Oklahoma have endured the highest percentage jump in the country over a 10-year period, according to a recently released report.
In the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) report for 2016, the latest full-year data available, home insurance rates in the state grew 78% from 2007 to 2016, going from a premium of $1,054 to $1,875.
During that time Oklahoma declared 186 natural disasters, second most in the country behind California, a state twice its size, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“When it comes to any property insurance issues, the state of Oklahoma has a lot of perils,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready said by phone. “I don’t want to scare people away but we’ve got tornadoes. We’ve got hail. We’ve got high winds, some earthquakes.
“When it comes to homeowners’ or property insurance premiums, those are directly related to the claims … The companies are setting the rates based on those past claims and those expectations going forward.”
Niki Henley is owner of Extra Mile Insurance Solutions in Tulsa.
“Most of it is coming from us being the most disaster-prone state in the country,” she said of the rates. “That is not a surprise. A lot of people say we’re in Tornado Alley and all of that. But, really, the hail disasters are really rising.
“… That’s one of the major things, the weather. Direct exposure to those catastrophes is going to affect your insurance rates on your home.”
On Monday at the state Capitol a news conference will be held launching a “Get ready” campaign that focuses on storm readiness, Mulready says. His office will encourage Oklahomans to have an emergency plan for their home or business in case of a natural disaster.
That preparedness includes such measures as taking an inventory of your home’s contents and and storing personal and financial records in a safe deposit box or computer cloud.
“There are things you can do to help in the event of a claim, as opposed to preventing a major claim,” Mulready said.
Other good ways to mitigate home insurance costs are maintaining your roof and cleaning out gutters, installing deadbolts and security systems and having an insurance agent review your policy, Henley said.
“Lots of insurance claims start with a leaky roof,” she said. “They can find the discounts and maybe the coverages that you’re lacking to keep your rates down a little bit.”
Take a peek inside the National Weather Center in Norman.