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Severe Ohio Storms Cause Higher Deductibles

Some insurance customers may be surprised to find their deductibles going up even if they never filed a claim for hail and wind damage. The rate hikes are not new but as Ohio experiences more hail storms more insurance rates could go higher.

Homeowners insurance policyholders need to read closely what their new policies require. There could be a higher deductible for certain weather related events like wind and hail damage. Ohio has seen a number of such storms over the past 5 years and because insurance companies look at past events to predict costs, prices could be going up. Nationwide Insurance is one company that has raised deductibles for hail and wind damage to $1,000. Spokeswoman Liz Christopher.

"These are effective at the time of renewal so when your policy renews. Customers will get a letter with their declarations page letting them know about this change," said Christopher.

Christopher says letters were sent out starting in May to all Ohio policyholders. She adds the higher deductible could be equal to or less than paying a percentage of the loss.

"Our responsibility as an insurer to protect customers against the financial loss of property due to certain insurable losses, and higher deductibles allow us to continue providing competitive rates for our customers by sharing losses with property owners," added Christopher.

Other insurance companies have not raised deductibles. Chief Claims Officer with Grange Insurance, Peter McMurtrie.

"Grange Insurance does not force place a deductible on an insured. We believe that again that is a personal decision that each individual insured needs to make himself, understanding that higher deductibles do create higher discounts in terms of the cost of insurance," said McMurtrie.

McMurtrie adds though that he understands a company increasing deductibles to keep insurance affordable. Spokesman for the Ohio Department of Insurance Jarrett Dunbar says higher deductibles for certain claims are allowed and have been used for 15 years.

"It's very important that policyholders read their policies from cover to cover and when they get a renewal notice in the mail to read that renewal notice as well because there may be some changes that are being implemented by the company that they may not agree with," Dunbar explained.

Dunbar adds that insurance companies make a prediction on future claims by what has happened in the past. He points out that homeowners insurance in Ohio is the 6th lowest in the country. An average policy here costs $548 a year compared to Florida where it costs about $1500.