CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- As the 2009 hurricane season arrives, many homeowners are finding insurance is either more expensive, or harder to get.
Homeowners from New York to Florida and in the Gulf Coast region are again seeing premiums rise and coverage change. And more are being dropped completely by their carriers as insurers try to limit their exposure in high-risk areas.
The Insurance Information Institute, a New York-based industry group, says homeowners' insurance premiums are up about 3 percent nationwide and probably more in some coastal areas where the potential for damage is greater. The hurricane season starts today and runs until Nov. 30.
Several factors are affecting premiums and coverage, including the 26 billion dollars insurers paid out on catastrophic losses last year and the impact of financial market turmoil on the companies' earnings. Changes in state regulations are also driving some premiums higher.
Late last year, Allstate and State Farm, two of the nation's top home and auto insurers, raised premiums in states including Texas, saying the increase was needed to offset a rising number of claims. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit the U.S. in September.