From the Courier Post Online:
Richard Considine, who lives on Oceanport Creek in Oceanport, has seen his homeowner’s insurance premium jump 75 percent since 2004.
Harry Conover, who lives about a mile from the ocean in Neptune City, learned recently that his homeowner’s insurance policy will not be renewed.
Bob and Debbie Mura, who live near Silver Bay in Toms River, had a hard time finding insurance after their home insurer went bankrupt. Their new premium is $1,895 a year, not including taxes and fees, an increase of 87 percent.
Concern about homeowner’s insurance in New Jersey is on the rise in the aftermath of powerful Hurricane Katrina, which caused widespread damage in Gulf Coast communities in 2005.
Beginning Feb. 5, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co. will stop writing insurance for those seeking homeowner, condominium, mobile home and landlord insurance statewide, according to an e-mail from Sheila Breeding, a company spokeswoman. The decision does not affect the 240,000 existing policyholders.
After State Farm, Allstate New Jersey is the second-largest of the 89 insurance companies offering homeowner’s insurance in the state, according to Jim Gardner, a spokesman for the state Department of Banking and Insurance.
Industry officials and government regulators say homeowner’s insurance is still available in the Shore area and elsewhere and deny that costs are spiking.
Last year, rates increased 8 percent to 12 percent in New Jersey and up to about 15 percent in coastal areas Gardner said.
While homeowner’s insurance has gone up sharply in many of the Gulf Coast states, New Jersey has “fared much better . . . in terms of price and availability of homeowners’ insurance coverage,” he said.
But some area residents maintain their premiums have indeed increased sharply, their insurers have dropped them or they’ve had difficulty getting insurance.
“I bet there’s a lot of people out there in my shoes,” said Conover, Monmouth County emergency management coordinator, who is searching for a company willing to insure his home.
“We’re probably going to be able to find homeowner’s insurance through someone, but the rates are going to be astronomical,” he said.
The New Jersey Association of Realtors is concerned that the recent trend of insurers dropping coverage “could have a detrimental impact on the availability and affordability of homeowner’s policies, which could negatively affect the housing market,” according to a Jan. 18 association statement.