Raleigh — Homeowners in North Carolina are about to get a surprise in the mail. The state gave insurance companies the go ahead to raise homeowners insurance rates. How much more you will pay depends on where you live.
Statewide, homeowners can expect to pay an average of four percent more. That is much less than the 15 percent insurance companies requested.
But, it is still more money homeowners will have to pay to protect their investment.
"Without insurance, it's a no win situation," said homeowner Durwood Woodall.
Woodall has a lot invested in his new home. When he heard his insurance rate would be increasing, he was not happy.
"The American dream has turned into the American nightmare. Right now you have to pay a lot to have a place of your own," explained Woodall.
North Carolina's insurance commissioner approved the first rate hikes in six years.
"We've got to do that balancing act to keep the rates low for you, but we also protect you by making sure they have enough money coming in to pay your claim and your neighbor's claims," said Jim Long, North Carolina insurance commissioner.
In the Triangle, rates could rise by five percent. Surrounding counties will see a maximum ten percent increase.
Closer to the beach, it is a 12 percent hike, and homeowners on theOuter Bankscould see their insurance rates rise by as much as 20 percent. Western North Carolina will not see a change.
Officials at the agency representing insurance companies say each homeowner will not see the same changes.
"That's an individual company's experience, how well they fared in a particular territory. So, that's a decision an individual company will make," said John Watkins of theNorth Carolina Rate Bureau.
Woodall says whatever happens, his only option is to pay.
"To stay, you have to pay, because you never know what's around the corner or what's going to happen," said Woodall.
The insurance commissioner says insurance rates are increasing because of the amount companies are paying out following hurricanes.
In the Triangle, ice storms and tornados are to blame for much of the increase. Long also said he hopes more insurance companies will offer policies to homeowners along the Outer Banks now that premiums are increasing.