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MONEY MAY: Experts sharing advice with Southeast Texans amid possible rise in homeowners insurance premiums

Because it costs more to build a home, insurance companies are having to increase their replacement fees to keep up with inflation.

SILSBEE, Texas — Insurance experts said changes they are seeing in the industry due to inflation are unlike anything they have ever seen.

Across the nation, Americans are still seeing an increase in prices for items such as groceries, gas and homes. Now, experts believe that insurance policies could soon see the same trend.

Experts with the Bridget Gilder Insurance Agency stated the issue is overwhelming for both agents and homeowners. Both parties said it used to cost $100 per square foot for reconstruction on a damaged home.

Now to fix a damaged home, it could cost a person anywhere from $150 to $200 per square foot. Insurance agents said because it costs more to build a home, insurance companies are having to increase their replacement fees to keep up with inflation.

Bridget Gilder, an agent at the Bridget Gilder Insurance Agency, said agents are empathetic toward their customers' pain. She believes experts are trying their best to keep insurance within a customer's price range without compromising coverage for a home.

“We're still in a lot of anxiousness because instead of sales calls coming in, there are calls from our customers, and they're not very happy about all the increases,” Gilder said “They're saying a lot of times we're dealing with older people in their fixed incomes, and the cost of the insurance is very painful for them.”

The pressure is always on for agents to find cheaper rates.

“When people receive their insurance notice, instead of it being a renewal, oftentimes it's a nonrenewal, which forces them to go back to their agent to see if they have a different market to place their home or to shop other agents altogether," Gilder said.

Gilder shared tips on how community members can find insurance rates that work with their budgets.

Gilder said that insurance is expensive but shopping around for the best rates can save a person money in the long run. However, experts are warning the Southeast Texas community cheaper does not always mean better. 

Some customers will find cheaper policy rates online but then find themselves waiting a longer time to get money after filing a claim.

Southeast Texans are also encouraged to review their policy every few years with their agent, explore other products their agent offers and shop around and ask questions about their deductible.

Gilder suggested that above all else, Southeast Texans should do their research to find rates that work for their budget. 

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