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Texans Can Cheer; Florida Tops List for Homeowner Insurance Costs

As the dismal year of 2009 came to an end, the Dallas Morning News gave Texans something to cheer about. As bad as their homeowners' insurance rates are, Floridians have it worse.
Texans still have the second highest rates in the nation, not surprising, since they frequently get hit with storms like 2008's Hurricane Ike, which did $24 billion of damage to the Texas coast and also slammed into Louisiana, the state with the third highest rates. A Texas homeowner's policy averages $1,448 a year, which is 76 percent higher than the national average of $822.

Florida, which took a beating from storms in the mid-90's - although it recently escaped serious damage - has now surpassed Texas with an average increase of $148 to make the most common homeowner premium $1,534, which is more than property taxes in some states. Texas homeowners saw increases of only $39 on average.

Florida has been battling, mostly unsuccessfully, to keep homeowners' insurance rates down. Recently the state settled its case with the nation's largest home insurer, State Farm, which had threatened to leave Florida if it didn't get a nearly 50 percent increase. State Farm settled for less than 15 percent, but also dropped 100,000 of its most vulnerable customers, leaving them to smaller and lesser capitalized insurers. Other major companies such as Allstate have been doing the same thing in the Sunshine State.

But, as the New Year dawns, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners study the information was extracted from is now three years out of date. The last year the NAIC looked at was 2007.

So the Lone Star State, which prides itself on being the biggest and first in so many things, may once again top the list by the time 2111 rolls around. Meanwhile, as Alex Winslow of Texas Watch says, "Being No. 2 is nothing to be proud of."

According to the study, the highest states for homeowner premiums are: Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut and California. For the complete study, visit the NAIC website.

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