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Homeowners insurance rates are rising — particularly in these states

Homeowners insurance rates are rising — particularly in these states
Homeowners insurance rates are rising — particularly in these states

Home insurance rates are soaring as catastrophes become ever more common in the United States.

Insurance companies have been paying out huge sums to fix smashed, burned and flooded homes, as 2019 was the ninth year in a row with eight or more billion-dollar natural disasters. Now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season could be one of the busiest on record.

Homeowners can still find reasonable rates, so long as they shop around, but many Americans are paying a steep price for protection. A recent estimate puts the average cost of home insurance at $1,445 per year — a 59% increase over the past decade.

Follow along as we count down the 15 states where home insurance rates are rising the fastest, based on figures from LendingTree's data site ValuePenguin.

15. Massachusetts

Boston skyline
Marc Rasmus / imageBROKER/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,168

  • Increase over 2019: 3.2%

Massachusetts gets the occasional hurricane now and then, but the real scourges of the Bay State are more typical storms that pelt the region with snow, rain or wind.

In July 2019, three freak tornadoes touched down in Cape Cod, wrecking buildings and trees and doing about $3.7 million in damage.

14. Florida

Miami skyline
Peter Schickert/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,727

  • Increase over 2019: 3.3%

A history of devastating hurricanes has made Florida the second worst state for disaster damage, behind only Texas, according to NOAA climate scientist Adam B. Smith. He told CNBC in 2019 that the cost of cleanup since 1980 totalled about $225 billion.

The year 2020 is shaping up to be more of the same. In May, a record downpour triggered flash flooding in the state, turning basements into lagoons.

13. Maryland

Baltimore skyline
Joe Sohm/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,392

  • Increase over 2019: 3.4%

The Old Line State sees comparatively few natural disasters, according to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but severe storms still crash in from time to time.

Powerful thunderstorms in late July 2020 brought down trees, flooded roads and left thousands without electricity.

12. Kansas

Tornado in Wichita wrecks mobile home
Larry W Smith/EPA/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $2,461

  • Increase over 2019: 3.4%

Tornadoes are a common threat across most of the U.S., which is why it's so important for the nation's homeowners to compare rates and coverage and get solid home insurance.

Kansas is second only to Texas when it comes to tornado trouble, averaging almost 100 every year. A tornado that landed near the city of Lawrence in 2019 left a trail of wreckage and injuries.

11. Washington

Nooksack river flooding
Dan Levine/EPA/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,235

  • Increase over 2019: 3.5%

Washington has seen everything from avalanches and earthquakes to volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. However, the state’s Emergency Management Division says damage from flooding exceeds all else.

Winter storms in the first two months of 2020 triggered floods that caused an estimated $3 million in road damage.

10. New Mexico

An air tanker plane releases fire retardant on a forest fire in Lumberton, New Mexico, on May 10, 2020.
Deborah Howe / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,284

  • Increase over 2019: 3.5%

Floods and wildfires pose the biggest threats to homeowners in New Mexico.

Wildfires have been blazing throughout the southern half of the state this summer, and Gila National Forest’s Cub Fire grew to almost 26,000 acres in size in early July.

9. Idaho

Autumn view of the Boise Idaho skyline
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $940

  • Increase over 2019: 3.5%

Like New Mexico, Idaho’s most common disasters include floods and wildfires. However, the state also has experienced damage from earthquakes.

In late March 2020, a magnitude-6.5 quake struck near Stanley, and more than 1,000 aftershocks have rattled the area since. The tremors are expected to continue for several years.

8. Virginia

Flooded Appomattox River in Virginia After Storm Hurricane Harvey
Anya Douglas / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,341

  • Increase over 2019: 3.8%

The Mother of States occasionally suffers from weather-based disasters such as intense storms, wildfires and landslides.

Hurricane Dorian pounded the state in September 2019, soaking the streets and knocking down trees and powerlines.

7. Georgia

House split in half by tornado in Georgia
Mark Wallheiser/EPA/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,713

  • Increase over 2019: 4.0%

In addition to wildfires and floods, Georgia is regularly battered by high winds from hurricanes, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Several tornadoes tore through south and central Georgia in April 2020, ripping off roofs and toppling power poles.

6. Rhode Island

Waves and storm surge crash over Ocean Drive in Newport Rhode Island.
Olga Enger / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,414

  • Increase over 2019: 4.1%

Rhode Island doesn’t see the earthquakes, tornadoes and fires that other areas experience, but this seaside state endures heavy storms just about every year.

Strong rains and winds flooded the city of Newport in mid-July 2020 and left thousands sitting in the dark.

5. Utah

Utah rock formation in Arches National Park
Marc Rasmus/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $711

  • Increase over 2019: 4.2%

Utah gets floods, landslides, wildfires, earthquakes and even avalanches around its picturesque mountain ranges.

A magnitude 5.7-earthquake rocked Salt Lake City in March 2020, racking up $48.5 million in damage.

4. South Dakota

A severe storm over the Black Hills in South Dakota. Rotating supercell thunderstorm with large hail.
Menno van der Haven / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $2,364

  • Increase over 2019: 4.3%

South Dakota faces a fair number of tornadoes, around 36 every year.

Three twisters swept through Sioux Falls in September 2019, damaging at least 37 structures, and heavy rains followed. The state received over $6.5 million in recovery aid, with $3.05 million in grants for home repair and rental expenses.

3. Illinois

Chicago skyline
  • Average premium: $1,405

  • Increase over 2019: 5.4%

The prairies of Illinois are prone to drought, but the natural disasters most likely to affect homeowners are floods, severe storms and even earthquakes.

Strong winds felled trees as hail pelted homes in the central part of the state in July 2020.

2. Nebraska

2019 Bomb Cyclone Flood in Nebraska and hwy 12 bridge out
Shane Greckel / Shutterstock
  • Average premium: $1,749

  • Increase over 2019: 5.6%

The Midwestern state gets more than its fair share of killer tornadoes, powerful storms and severe flooding.

A “bomb cyclone” brought intense rainfall and snowmelt in March 2019, resulting in more than $1 billion in damage. The cost to repair homes and businesses topped $85 million.

1. California

Wildfire in California
  • Average premium: $1,826

  • Increase over 2019: 6.3%

The Golden State beckons visitors with its sunshine, warm weather and beaches, but residents know to remain on alert for the fires and earthquakes that threaten the region on a regular basis.

The Caldwell Fire burned through more than 67,000 acres of Northeast California in July 2020, prompting evacuations in the communities of Tionesta and Tulelake. When you live in this state, buying good homeowners insurance is essential.