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If you’re like us, then you’re probably looking at 2024 with some slight trepidation on what exactly the new year will have to offer. And believe us, we get it. Entering the new year can feel as daunting as it is exciting when we don’t know exactly what the year has in store for us. 

At Berry Insurance, we’re just as anxiously excited about 2024 as you are, and while we cannot predict everything the new year has in store for our clients, we can try to provide insights so you can be prepared for anything the year has to offer. 

In this article we will be discussing the trends we are noticing in the insurance industry going into 2024, and how you can expect your policy to be affected - including rising premiums, tightening markets, and new policy requirements. 

Tightening markets in 2024

One major trend we’re noticing going into the new year is high market uncertainty from insurance carriers, causing underwriters to write less policies overall. Stemming from difficult to predict inflation and rising capital costs, underwriters are being more stringent and taking closer looks at loss history, safety records, and financial records of potential policy holders. 

This is especially notable for property insurance - both business property insurance as well as home, renters, or condo policies - with underwriters being more disciplined on the current condition, value, and history of the property you’re looking to insure. 

For example, we’ve noticed certain carriers beginning to deny coverage for homes with roofs over 15 years old. This makes it important for any property owner to prioritize the upkeep of their roof’s structural integrity, as well as making sure any nearby branches are not posing a threat. In fact, insurance companies have begun utilizing drones for roof evaluations, checking whether the property has any branches hanging above or near the roof/property that could potentially cause damage. 

Inspections overall are becoming more common amongst carriers, especially with clients looking to switch to a new insurance carrier. Specifically, many carriers are paying close attention to any previous history of water damages and claims - as well as pushing property owners to install water detection devices to hopefully deter flooding damage. For our guide on how to prepare for a home inspection and what you can expect, read this article: What to Expect from a MA Insurance Home Inspection. 

To learn exactly how underwriters will rate potential policyholders’ homes, read this article: What Underwriters Look For When Writing Home Insurance Coverage. If you are instead a business owner and need to know more about underwriting, read this guide: What Commercial Underwriters Look For When Writing Business Insurance Coverage. 

How will inflation affect your insurance?

Just as we witnessed in 2023, the price of many of life’s necessities will go up due to increasing inflation. Unfortunately, this will likely include your insurance policies - as premiums will be affected by the rising prices of many products and services. 

How will inflation affect my personal insurance in 2024? 

Let’s review the ways in which you can expect your different personal insurance policies to be affected by this change in the new year. 

Home/renters/condo insurance: 

Many homeowners or renters have already seen percentage increases on the cost of insuring their home, condo, or rental property in recent years - and while rate increases may not be as significant as they were in 2023 - there will still be some change.  

As the costs of building materials and labor both greatly increased in 2022 and 2023, they have caused a surge in costs for insuring properties. These increases on materials and labor can be seen as a direct result of continued supply chain problems that lead to more expensive construction or replacement costs, which result in more expensive insurance claims and rates. This has also been seen to directly influence increases in replacement cost value, which was observed as a primary driver for home insurance rates in recent years - expected to continue in 2024. 

On top of these increases, any property located in areas of high-risk weather or storms can expect to see increases in their rates as extreme weather conditions have become more frequent in some areas. While most Massachusetts homeowners may not have to worry about extreme weather conditions, you could still be classified as a coastal or high-risk property. To learn more about policies designed to protect your property in cases of severe weather like wind storms, read our article all about what to know about wind deductibles.

Personal car insurance:

Beyond having to deal with expensive gas prices, drivers will likely encounter price increases on their car insurance policy based on multiple factors. Many of these factors were already trends affecting drivers in 2023 and are expected to persist into 2024. 

Similar to how inflation is affecting homeowners/condo/renters insurance policies, increased costs of all goods and services make any potential car accidents or collisions all the more expensive to cover. More expensive auto repairs and replacements due to supply chain issues will in turn create more expensive auto insurance rates and premiums. 

Other causes of the predicted increases to auto insurance rates come from the higher chance of total car accidents, due to more Americans being out driving, as well as increased extreme weather scenarios and natural disasters. While most natural disasters and cases of extreme weather are more likely to affect coastal regions, Massachusetts drivers can still be susceptible to encountering freak weather events like snow, flooding or harsh winds that could damage your vehicle or cause accidents. To learn more about what coverage you need on your policy to cover any potential floods or water damage, check out this helpful article: Is Water Damage Covered by Car Insurance? If you’re instead wondering exactly how your insurance will cover you after heavy winds toppled a tree into your car, read up on how insurance covers tree falls

How will inflation affect business insurance in 2024? 

When it comes to commercial insurance policies for businesses big and small, rates can be all over the place. This can be dependent upon numerous factors such as the type of business, income, structures, and more. 

Going into 2024, most businesses can expect increases of rates for property and casualty coverages. It is important to note that if any business owns buildings or structures, the increase in their property premium will be significant, as most carriers are increasing the replacement cost (the amount it would take to repair or rebuild the building structure with current prices of construction materials and labor) of buildings due to rising cost of building/repair materials. 

General liability: 

At the moment, general liability rates are sort of nebulous as some carriers have had rate increases while others have currently stayed the same. 

However, if your business has had an increase in sales or you are expecting an increase in sales soon, you should be sure to update your renewal policy as soon as the policy renews rather than when it gets picked up during an audit. Otherwise, you could have to pay any additional premium resulting from the audit in full. We recommend businesses update their policy so that they have installment billing, where they can pay for that difference over installments, rather than be hit with a big audit due at the end. 

Commercial auto:

In 2023, we saw multiple carriers greatly increasing their commercial auto policy rates for clients. These increases may continue for any businesses updating their vehicles or fleets, selling off older vehicles for newer models, or making changes to current vehicles. 

Also, business owners should note that your drivers and claims history will affect the rates you receive on your policy. 

Some carriers are putting through large rate increases depending on the class of business being insured. If a carrier has had a history of claims with a certain class of business in the past, they may impose increases on that type going forward, but not others. This is when it’s good to update your current insurance agency for the new year so they can determine the best carrier for you. 

Any business can achieve better rates by having good claim practices. These can include having safe driving training, safety manuals in place, as well as routine safety training for employees. Berry Insurance is happy to help any business that doesn't know where to start on implementing said safety features. Interested in getting the most out of your insurance agent for your business? Learn more about the benefits of having your business insurance with Berry Insurance. 

Is remarketing your policy a good option? 

As you now know the many reasons you can expect to see an increase in your current insurance rates and premiums, you may be wondering if it is a good time to go price shopping around with other carriers.

While inflation and the many factors we mentioned above will undoubtedly cause industry-wide changes, remarketing could offer you some (albeit minimum) savings. However, do note that with increased property inspections amongst carriers - it may be more difficult to get a new policy. 

If you choose to remarket your policy, prior to renewal tends to be the best time, as it gives insurance agencies more flexibility in obtaining multiple quotes from different carriers for their clients. 

However, choosing to stay with your current carrier may make you eligible for discounts or member bonuses that may not be available if you drop them for the next lowest price. 

At Berry Insurance, we work with a handful of competitive and reputable insurance carriers, so if you’re a client of ours, our agents can help you find the best carrier for you, as well as provide guidance as to whether remarketing is the best option for you.

To learn more about some of the top insurance providers recommended by Berry Insurance, read up on the best carriers for personal insurance as well as business insurance offered in Massachusetts.

Saving money in the new year

We understand that in the new year the last thing you want to worry about is your insurance policy changing or premium increasing. While this is unfortunately the current trend in the industry, Berry insurance wants to ensure all of our clients feel empowered to choose the right policy for their budget - without compromising on the right amount of coverage. 

Reach out to us to discuss your current insurance policies and what may be the best options for you to save money this new year. 

For more information on how to save on your insurance policies in times of hardship, read our guides on ways to save on auto/home/renters insurance during a crisis and where to cut costs of business insurance during a crisis.