Your insurer is demanding consent for a higher premium – what are your options?
An increasing number of North Carolinians are receiving “consent to rate” letters from their homeowners insurance companies. These letters inform consumers that unless they consent to pay premiums higher than the state maximum set by the Insurance Commissioner, the insurance company may drop the consumers from their coverage plan.
If you receive one of these letters, don’t panic, but don’t ignore the letter. Instead, take a few simple steps to ensure you receive fair and affordable coverage for yourself and your family.
Three simple steps to take if you get a “consent to rate” letter:
Step One: Review your current policy. Do you have the right amount of coverage? Is your deductible too low? Are there other changes you can make to your policy that will reduce your monthly costs?
Step Two: Call your existing insurance company or insurance agent. Some consumers have lowered their premiums by adjusting their coverage. Your insurer may be able to quote you a range of options that don’t require signing an open-ended consent to rate form.
Step Three: No one likes the hassle of changing coverage, but take this opportunity to shop around. Check with other insurance companies for quotes of the coverage you need – you may find a better deal elsewhere.
Remember to review your coverage every year when your policy renews to ensure you and your loved ones have a fair and affordable plan. While we can’t guarantee that you will find a lower premium or keep your previous rate, the Homeowners Alliance strongly encourages consumers to examine their options before consenting to an insurance company’s higher premium.
If you'd like to report your homeowner insurance company for sending you a Consent to Rate letter, or if you'd like to receive more information about the letters themselves, please contact the NC Department of Insurance. Their website can be found here, and their toll free number is 855-408-1212.