(MoneyWatch) Got a minor home insurance claim? You might want to think twice before calling your agent. Making a claim could boost your premium by as much as 21 percent depending on where you live, according to InsuranceQuotes.com.
After gathering data from the nation's six largest homeowner's insurers, the site came up with pre- and post-claim average prices for a sample policy that offered $144,000 in coverage and found that insurers hiked policyholder premiums by an average of 9 percent in the years following a claim. But in some states, the toll is far higher. In Minnesota, for example, you'd pay 21.2 percent more after making a claim, said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com
"In Minnesota they are really penalizing people for making claims," she said. "On the other hand, there's no impact from making a claim in Texas, but rates there tend to be higher in the first place."
Indeed, Texas homeowner's insurance premiums generally don't change after making a claim, according to this analysis. And yet the state's insurance premiums are the highest in the nation, clocking in at an average of $1,560. That may be because insurers know they are going to get hit with claims when they write policies in the Lone Star state, which has the dubious distinction of being the disaster capital of the nation. There have been more natural disasters, emergency declarations and fire management assistance declarations in Texas than in any other state in the nation, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In the rest of these 10 states, however, the cost of making a claim is high, and likely to hike your annual insurance premium by a minimum of 15 percent. Premium increases or not, big claims should be submitted. But homeowners would be wise to try to prevent smaller claims, particularly in these states. Here are the states where making a claim is the most costly and how you might prevent the type of loss that could boost your premium.