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Texas Utility and Insurance Increases Likely in 2024

While home insurance rates and utility prices have increased across the country, Texas has been hit especially hard since its historical winter storm three years ago. Experts expect increases to continue.

Utility and insurance rates will likely make another upward jump again in 2024 thanks to the historical winter storm that pulverized Texas nearly three years ago and the state’s volatile climate patterns.

Texas has seen a year-to-date increase in 2023 of 16.4 percent and a cumulative increase since 2022 of 50.9 percent in home insurance rates. This makes Texas one of the states with the greatest increase in that period, according to S&P Global.

The consumer price index for household energy in DFW and Arlington jumped from 236.460 to 302.955 between 2021 and 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Experts say Texas is still due for more increases next year.

Home insurance rates and utility prices are increasing across the country, but Texas is among the states that have been hit the hardest, as only Arizona has seen a bigger jump in home insurance rates, according to industry experts.

“The biggest reasons behind these increases are the high cost of reinsurance, severe weather resulting in enormous losses for insurance companies and an increase in the cost of construction materials that makes rebuilding after those losses more costly,” Leslie Kasperowicz, industry expert at Insurance.com, said.

It’s the same story for utility increases. Oncor’s rate increase was approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and went into effect on May 1. After a year of utility rate increases, it’s not expected to be any better in 2024.

“We do see that electricity prices are higher and they’ve been climbing,” said Jacob McNeil, vice president of business development with a focus on energy transition for Dallas-based financial consulting firm Embark. “Last year was pretty nasty overall. Prices still haven’t come down even though some of the inputs to those prices have come down. It speaks to a variety of variables and factors that are playing out.”

Texas’ brutal climate is often seen as the reason behind prices being so high, and 2024 is likely to play out similarly to previous years. January and February are expected to be unusually colder compared with historical data, and there’s a big winter storm potentially on the way in January, according to the Farmers Almanac.

Though utility and insurance companies aren’t bailing from Texas, companies are increasing rates and some insurance companies have even stopped writing new policies in some high-risk areas of the state, according to Insurance.com.

“Texas is one of the states that is very prone to severe weather, and home insurance rates there reflect that,” Kasperowicz said. “Rates are rising everywhere, and that’s expected to continue into 2024 as insurance companies seek to balance their loss ratios and make sure they can continue to pay claims into the future.”

The average annual cost of home insurance in Texas was $3,875 in 2023, which is 113 percent more than the national average of $1,820, according to Nerdwallet.

Texas’ population boom in the past 10 years is also part of the story behind rate increases, McNeil said. Texas joined an exclusive club in March when it became one of two states to surpass a population of 30 million, according to Census data. Only California has more residents.

McNeil has lived in Texas for the last eight years and has seen the need for reliable electricity skyrocket in recent years, he said.

“There’s more demand for electricity in Texas, there’s no question behind that. We have both residential and industrial demand growth,” he said. “Even if nothing else like climate was happening in this equation, that alone would be enough to drive up prices.”

Texas’ volatile grid and steady national inflation are also partly to blame for the state’s rising prices for home insurance and utility rates, McNeil said.

“Volatility and inflation do not ignore energy markets,” he said. “There’s other problems there, too, but the cost to create new transmission lines, the cost to repair or to winterize, all of these are only going to continue to go up.”

For Texas homeowners, the path to saving money on insurance and utilities isn’t an easy one. However, Kasperowicz and Insurance.com said bundling home, auto, boat and RV’s remains one of the most powerful ways to save money.

“If you haven’t done it already, be sure to ask if you can receive a discount for being a member of a trade or professional association, a university alumnus, or other groups such as automobile and service associations,” the website says.

Keeping utility costs low in 2024 is likely going to be as difficult as it was in previous years, McNeil said. But the usual advice to reduce air conditioning usage in summer and heat in the winter still gives Texans the best chance to keep costs low, he said.

“I think the market is responding pretty well with better technologies that enable you to control your home temperature,” he said. “Whether it’s a smart thermostat, or just having good usage at home, there’s a few ways to keep those costs low.”

With insurance and utility rates expected to increase, McNeil said he shares the same concern about his costs going into the new year.

“We’re going to be at the mercy of the weather and whatever macroeconomic and geopolitical events occur as well, he said. “I think people are right to be anxious if those conditions swing in our favor. But we can really only hope.”


©2024 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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