Own your home in Idaho? You may soon pay more for insurance. A lot more. This is why

Darin Oswald/doswald@idahostatesman.com

When it comes to growth in 2022, Idaho has little competition. Ranking first nationwide for the pace of increases in homeowners insurance prices is one of the more costly outcomes.

According to analysts at QuoteWizard, an online insurance marketplace, the average price of homeowners insurance has gone up 34% in Idaho in the past year, the largest percentage increase in the United States.

The yearly average rose $358, to $1,418 from $1,060.

By contrast, the average premium increase nationwide since 2021 has been less than a fifteenth of Idaho’s, sitting at just 2%.

Fast-rising home-replacement and repair costs mean your existing insurance plan might not fully cover your home today.

“Even though there is some cost-of-inflation wiggle room built into your insurance policies, the cost of replacing houses and home prices have changed so quickly, it’s burned right through that,” Nick VinZant, QuoteWizard senior analyst, told the Idaho Statesman by phone. “It’s now over and above that wiggle room.”

The average increase in home insurance prices for each state was found by comparing the rates from all available insurance carriers in the United States as part of a home insurance study conducted by QuoteWizard.

The same study found that the main reason behind the spike in insurance costs is the recent rise in home prices. According to VinZant, home prices in Idaho have increased by 57% since 2020, compared with 32% nationwide.

The average price for a home in Idaho was $300,310 in 2020. That climbed to $470,489 in 2022 according to the study.

“Home insurance is not directly tied to the cost of a home, but it does mirror the cost of a home,” VinZant said. “As you see the price of houses go up, the cost of home insurance is going to go up as well. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen such a big increase in Idaho in just the last year.”

With certain parts of Idaho creating more demand for housing than others, the 34% increase mostly comes in Idaho’s major cities, while the rest is filtered out throughout the state.

“Even though we’ve seen a 34% increase statewide, I would expect it to be significantly higher within Boise itself,” VinZant said.

Aside from being exponentially higher than the national average, the increase also surpasses the state’s own historical records.

“It’s never been anything close to what it has been this year,” VinZant said. “Usually you’re talking about percentage points, you know, single digit percentage points. Not 34%”

But there’s a silver lining: Idaho’s 2022 average rate of $1,418 is still lower than the national average, which sits at $1,766.

Existing insurance plans might no longer cover your home

VinZant suggests that homeowners review their existing policies to determine what changes are needed to keep up with rising prices, instead of finding out whether one’s home is fully insured when it’s already too late.

“If you had a $500,000 policy a couple of years ago, and something happens to your house, well, (in) normal circumstances that $500,000 policy would replace your home and everything in it,” VinZant said. “That’s not going to happen anymore. Now replacing your home and everything in it might cost $600,000 or $700,000.

“There was recently an interview that I did out of Phoenix, Arizona, where somebody’s house had burned down, and they didn’t have the insurance to cover it because of this exact kind of thing,” VinZant said. “It’s certainly something that I don’t think people want to have happen to them.”

The most common property damage claims are wind and hail damages (34% of claims), followed by water damage (29%) and fire and lightning (25%). Only 3% are liability claims, according to QuoteWizard.

Although home insurance prices throughout the state of Idaho have seen increases regardless of the company, the study shows that choosing the right insurance provider can make a difference of $1,088 for Idaho homeowners.

The cheapest home insurance offered by an Idaho carrier was listed at $1,014, with the most expensive costing $2,102.

“There can be a lot of money that can be saved by simply shopping around,” VinZant said. “... even though it’s exactly the same plan. It covers exactly the same things.”