Stats in Your State
In most cases, Massachusetts homeowners can expect to pay more than the national average when it comes to home insurance premiums. Some of this has to do with higher home values in the region. Other factors that influence premiums include natural disaster threats in the area, crime rates, and construction costs, to name a few.
Homeowner Insurance Premiums
In 2008, the average home insurance premium in Massachusetts was $1,026, compared to a national average of $791. And while figures for the state were nearly even with the national average in 2003, premiums have continued to distance themselves, rising significantly in recent years.
Renter Insurance Premiums
Renters in Massachusetts can also expect to pay more in insurance premiums than the national average. As of 2008, the average renter's insurance premium was $218 in the state, compared to just $176 for the year as a nationwide average.
Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales in the state of Massachusetts peaked in 2005, totaling approximately 148,600 sales. Following the collapse of the housing market in 2008, home sales dropped steeply, hitting rock bottom at 103, 800 sales that same year. The state experienced a very modest increase after 2008, rising to 105,300 sales.
Flood Insurance in Region
Flood insurance is not covered under standard home insurance policies in Massachusetts and must be purchased separately. This is particularly important to know if you live in a high-risk area. Over the period from October 2011 through September 2012, 820 flood claims were filed in Massachusetts, totalling $12,925,000 in damages. When you purchase a home insurance policy, you should be informed about the need to purchase flood insurance coverage separately. The company should then provide you with your options for this supplemental policy.
Massachusetts has a particularly high number of historic homes. While this enriches the cultural landscape, it dramatically increases the need for a thorough home inspection before committing to buying a property. When it comes to home insurance premiums, factors such as old wiring or other outdated materials can influence your premium and may even need to be changed out.
Rules in Your State
As mentioned, if you have taken out a mortgage on your home like most Americans, your lender will require that you hold a homeowner's insurance policy to cover the replacement cost of your home. However, even if you do not have a mortgage or are finished paying off your home, holding an insurance policy is crucial to protecting such a large investment as well as your personal belongings.
Your Rights as a Consumer
In Massachusetts, homeowner's insurance is purchased in a competitive market. This means you will submit an application for coverage to a private company and they reserve the right to accept or reject you. However, they cannot discriminate against an applicant based on race, religious creed, national origin, sex, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, children, marital status, veteran status, receipt of public assistance, or disability. If you need to file a complaint against an insurance provider, you can contact the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Click on the Resources and Representatives tab to find contact information.If you are unable to obtain an insurance policy through traditional avenues, you may be able to get coverage under the FAIR Plan. This is an "insurer of last resort" plan created by the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association.
Cancellation or Non-Renewal of Home InsuranceAn insurance company is permitted to cancel a policy at any time within the first 60 days. After that time, a company can only cancel the contract for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of premium.
- Conviction of a crime, increasing hazard under the policy.
- Fraud or misrepresentation when obtaining the policy.
- Willful or reckless behavior that may increase the risk of damage.
- Physical changes to the property that render it uninsurable.
- Determination that continuing the policy would place the insurer in violation of the law.
Representatives & Resources in Your State
Further information on this topic, including more specifics on your rights as a consumer can be found through the following resources. The Massachusetts Division of Insurance, provides a helpful guide regarding homeowner's insurance, including many commonly asked questions for first-time homebuyers. You can also file a complaint against an insurance company with the Massachusetts DOI if you believe your rights were violated.
Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association (MPIUA) – Fair Plan
2 Center Plaza
Boston, MA 02108-1904
Toll Free MA (800) 392.6108
Toll Free USA (800) 851.8978