Oregon homeowners could see insurance rates increase

Material and labor costs as well as the recent wildfires are all playing a role, according to insurance experts.

Posted: Oct 1, 2021 1:05 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2021 7:38 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As Oregon recovers from a struggling economy due to COVID-19, some homeowners could see rising insurance policy rates anywhere from 3 to 10 percent.

KEZI talked to Fred Hauck, an insurance agent for Farmers Insurance, who said several reasons contribute to increasing costs. 

"You've got the cost of materials, the lumber, the roofing, the plumbing -- all of those, the costs have gone up," said Hauck. "The other side of that is can we find the labor to get the job done?"

State Farm Insurance agent Kerry Oliver agrees.

"There has been some rate impact of claims due to fires," said Oliver. "There's also been rate impact due to COVID-19, with supply chain and getting building materials.

According to a report by the Governor's Wildifire Economic Recovery Council, more than 4,000 homes were lost due to the 2020 wildfires in Oregon.

Oliver said he's also dealt with claims in his office.

"There were quite a few claims in Oregon," said Oliver. "My office, we had five claims come in that were total loss claims."

But there were also many homeowners who didn't have insurance during the fires.

Don Dow is one of those who lost his home during the Holiday Farm Fire. He just rebuilt his new home in Blue River and said he hasn't experienced high rates of insurance.

"I think what my insurance company is charging me is pretty reasonable for a new house and all that," said Dow. 

Insurance agents also said it’s possible homeowners don’t see increases just yet because policies are annual. So increases wouldn't be seen until it is time to renew.

But rates can also depend on the value of the house.

"A house that's worth $200,000 may see a smaller increase than a house that's worth 5, 6 or $700,000 because of the cost to repair it," said Oliver.

Insurance agents said some insurance companies will also choose not to cover certain homes in disaster-ridden areas.

"Insurance companies will put a moratorium and not even offer coverage if it's fire prone," Hauck said.

Homeowners Tom Daly and Pam Huff said they haven't seen a huge increase in their insurance costs.

"It's gone up $600 a year from 500-something four years ago," said Daly.

But Daly said there's a struggle to find insurance for manufactured homes because there are few who cover.

NW Insurance Council encourages homeowners to ask agents about increases and to shop around

"If you're in a home now and you've an increase in rate, it may be a good idea to call your agent and ask why," said president Kenton Brine.

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