New insurance rate proposal could mean significant hike

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) – People who live along the coast could see a huge increase in their homeowners insurance rate.

John Turnage, a retired long-time Morehead City resident shared about his house, “This house was built in the 40s and we’ve had some serious hurricanes in ‘54 and ‘60 but the house is still here.”

The North Carolina Rate Bureau filed a request with the North Carolina Department of Insurance for a statewide increase in homeowners’ insurance rates.

On average, the state would see a 42.2% increase. Carteret County faces almost double the amount they are currently paying with a proposed increase of 99.4%.

According to Rep. Chris Humphrey, there are more reasons why coastal counties are seeing steeper hikes than just the direct impacts of natural disasters.

“It’s driven by increased labor costs in the coastal areas because the demand is so high for building in that area. I mean, water is a very popular attraction,” Rep. Humphrey explained.

Rep. Humphrey says this could turn away potential homeowners coming into the state and impact the economy.

Turnage’s waterfront house is where his wife grew up and was passed down through the family. The proposed increase is a big concern for him and his neighbors.

“Every year, eventually it’s going to run people out of their houses, and they are not going to be able to afford it. We sure don’t want that to happen. I am going to work the best I can to stay in this house,” Turnage said.

Mark Mansfield, a real estate agent broker in Morehead City says this is a concern to renters as well.

“Rising rent has been a big problem for people going forward and now it’s going to cause even a bigger increase because if you have to add that insurance costs, they are going to be raising rents too,” Mansfield shared.