THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas homeowners are no longer paying the highest insurance rates in the country, a distinction that now goes to Florida residents, according to an annual report released by an industry association.
But the report released Monday by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows that while premiums for Texas homeowners has dropped to third in the nation, it remains well above the national average.
The average annual cost of the most commonly sold policy in Texas is $1,578 while the national cost is $978, The Dallas Morning News reports (http://dallasne.ws/19vxFYd ). By contrast, the average policy for Florida homeowners is $1,933. Louisiana ranks second at $1,672.
Texas is followed in the rankings by Mississippi, $1,409; Oklahoma, $1,386; and Alabama, $1,163.
The association's Mark Hanna said policies are being driven upward in coastal states by more expensive windstorm policies. He said the report shows rate increases in Texas have been more moderate in recent years compared with Florida and other states. The average policy in Texas represents a 1 percent increase from the prior year.
Hanna told the Morning News the figures show that while rates elsewhere have been climbing, Texas homeowner rates "have been far more stable despite the state's abundant hailstorms, hurricanes, ice storms and wildfires."
"The best news for consumers is the fact that Texas insurance companies continue to pay claims quickly while complaints against insurers remain very low," he said.
But a consumer group notes that Texans are paying more for insurance but receiving less overall coverage.
Alex Winslow of Texas Watch said while Texas homeowner rates may fluctuate, "they're always among the highest in the country."
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