Filing a homeowners insurance claim can increase your premiums as much as 7% to 10% — just from one single claim.
So when is filing a claim the right move and when should you just cut your losses and pay for that new fence or laptop on your own? The answer is it really depends on both the claim type and amount.
Homeowners insurance can go up after theft, vandalism, water damage, and liability claims
Weather-related claims aren’t as likely to result in rate increases
States have protections that limit when insurers can increase insurance premiums and cancel or nonrenew policies
Check your claims history by requesting a copy of your CLUE report
How much does your homeowners insurance go up after a claim?
It all depends on the type of homeowners insurance claim you're filing. In general, you’re likely looking at a 7% to 10% increase on average for a first claim, according to Fabio Faschi, former Property and Casualty Lead at Policygenius.
That means if your annual premium is $1,000, you could expect as much as a $100 increase after that first claim. But again, it’ll depend on the claim type and payout.
Which claims are more likely to result in a rate increase?
Not all claims are equal in the eyes of your insurance company — certain types of damage or loss are more likely to happen again than others.
In general, insurance companies are more likely to increase rates or target policies for cancellation or nonrenewal after non-weather related claims, including:
Filing a claim for any of these perils may trigger a rate increase. If it’s your second or third claim within five years, it could even result in a nonrenewal.
So what does this mean for you?
If you’re filing a claim related to any of the above hazards, you’ll want to pay special attention to your policy deductible. This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in. It may not be worth it to file a claim that isn’t even twice your deductible amount.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Say $1,700 worth of stuff was stolen from your home and you have a $500 deductible. That’s probably a claim worth filing; your rates may go up depending on your loss history, but you’ll still be reimbursed $1,200 to help replace your stolen property.
However, it may not be as worthwhile to file that theft claim if your deductible is $1,000. You’d still get a decent $700 payout, but that may be a small enough amount to try and cover out of pocket to prevent a rate increase.
What works for you all depends on your financial situation and level of urgency to replace your stolen property.
Liability claims may cause your rates to spike
Personal liability claims often result in the biggest insurance payouts due to enormous legal fees and settlements, which makes them red flags for insurers. Some companies may even deny you coverage if you’ve had a prior liability claim, says Faschi.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t file a personal liability or theft claim if you’re sued or your home is burglarized — you definitely should if the insurance payout outweighs any uptick in premiums. Just keep in mind that certain claims impact your rates more than others.
How long do homeowners insurance claims stay on your record?
Depending on the insurance company, homeowners insurance claims will stay on your record anywhere from five to seven years. But some companies like Swyfft stop considering prior insurance claims after three years.
Most companies can access your claims history through national databases that track claims up to a certain number of years. The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) is the most common customer claims record database — generally claims stay on your CLUE report for up to five years. Companies may increase your rates or deny you coverage based on information they find in your CLUE report.
If the past owners of your home recently filed a claim, it could affect your rates
Databases like CLUE also include claims from past owners. That means if the past homeowner filed three theft claims within a five-year span, your insurer may consider the area at high risk of theft and charge you higher premiums. But adding safety features like deadbolts and security cameras may cancel out any claim-related premium increase.
Are there times when insurers aren’t allowed to raise your rates after a claim?
Insurance companies are regulated on the state level, so it varies depending on where you live.
Some states don’t allow rate increases or nonrenewal after:
Basic claim inquiries
Zero-dollar claims — claims that didn’t result in a reimbursement
Weather or natural disaster claims
For a complete list of homeowners insurance customer protections, contact your state’s Department of Insurance.
4 ways to keep your home insurance rates from going up
Here are a few tips to prevent your homeowners insurance company from jacking up your rates after a claim:
Only file catastrophe claims or those you can’t afford to pay out of pocket
Try not to file more than one claim within three to five years
Check your CLUE report to learn about your home’s claims history
Avoid filing claims that are less than twice your insurance deductible
If you find that your rates did go up, shop around and compare quotes from other insurance companies to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal. The insurance experts at Policygenius can do this for you by simply answering a few questions about your home and where you live.