The National Association of Insurance Commissioners said in a report this week that homeowners paid an average of $978 for insurance in 2011, more than a 7 percent jump above the $909 in 2010.
The national figure was significantly below what homeowners pay in Florida, which topped the list for the most expensive states for insurance protection. Here are the top five, according to the NAIC "2011 Homeowners Insurance Report":
Idaho has the cheapest coverage, at $518 a year.
The NAIC said its study is based on premiums collected in 2011, the most recent year for available statistics for all states. The numbers reflect costs for what the industry calls "HO-3" policies, the most common nationwide. These standard policies account for about 80 percent of all those sold in every state.
Some legislators and consumer advocates have questioned Florida's high rates, noting that the land of sun and oranges hasn't suffered through a direct hurricane strike since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Jeff Atwater, Florida's chief financial officer, has asked state insurance regulators to explain why companies continue to raise premiums as their customer payouts seem to be stable or declining.
In its report, the association said rising premiums across the country are attributed to several factors, including climbing property values that differ widely from state to state to natural disasters that can cause huge property losses and increase an insurer's underwriting expenses.
"Since the late 1980s, catastrophes have been occurring with greater frequency and severity, and, in the last decade, have become an even greater consideration in the pricing of home insurance," according to the report. "Brush and forest fires, tornadoes, high winds, hail, freezing rain, snow storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, riots and even terrorist attacks are all types of catastrophes that can occur in the United States."
The report listed the 10 most costly insured property losses through 2012:
Typically, a standard homeowner insurance policy will protect you in most situations, from fire damage to falling space junk like bits of old satellites striking the property. But if a catastrophe hits and you need to completely rebuild, you should know exactly what's covered. Also be aware that you need a separate flood insurance policy for flood damage coverage.
Here is what homeowners insurance firms offer in home replacement coverage, according to The Hartford spokesperson Lisa Lobo and the Insurance Information Institute (III):
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