WRAL in Raleigh has been breaking news on the “consent to rate” homeowner’s insurance issue in NC for some time now.  I am tempted to call this a scandal but that might be a little overly dramatic at point.

Anyway, some large NC insurance companies have been sending select policy holders “consent to rate” letters.  These letters seek consent from the insured for the insurer to raise the cost of their homeowners insurance above that allowed by NC law. Many believe these insurance companies are taking improper advantage of an old law designed to allow insurers to raise the rates for high risk homeowners so that they can provide insurance.  North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin certainly feels this way.

One thing homeowners can do is to shop their coverage around.  One Raleigh couple recently reported to WRAL that they had saved over 60 percent on their homeowners insurance by seeking other offers then allowing their own insurance company to beat it.  That, my friends, is a smart strategy.

As a Cary NC personal injury attorney I can tell you that homeowner’s insurance is much more than fire coverage.  One very important but often ignored aspect of homeowner’s insurance is the general liability provision.  This provides coverage for an insured’s non-automobile related negligence, like if your turkey fryer gets out of controls and burns your neighbor’s house down, or if your dog bites a traveling vacuum cleaner salesman. Many people that think carefully about their liability for personal injuries that can come from an automobile accident fail to think at all about other kinds of personal injury liability.

In addition many homeowner’s policies include “medical payments” or “medpay” coverage.  This is no-fault, no-deductible coverage for medical expenses that arise from the use of the home.   This is usually a small limits policy, typically somewhere between two and five thousand dollars. The coverage pays in addition to any other medical insurance.  Again, it is “no fault” which means it covers practically any injuries that occur in the insured home.  It is similar to automobile insurance medpay.

I also recommend that folks buy an umbrella policy that sits on top of their automobile and homeowner’s liability coverages.  A million dollar umbrella policy can cost just a couple hundred dollars a year.

As a NC personal injury lawyer I understand better than most the importance of having good protection against negligence lawsuits, including suitable general liability coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy.  So, get the coverage, just don’t overpay for it.  Shop around every few years and you might find substantial savings.

As always, please call or email if you have a question about a Cary, NC, personal injury or workers’ comp issue. I am glad to offer a no fee consultation in my Cary NC law office.

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