You buy homeowners insurance hoping you'll never need to use it. Then something happens. It's not a big loss—maybe the neighbor's kid throws a ball through a window or a falling branch damages the rain gutter.
You think of filing a claim. After all, that's why you've paid the premiums all these years. But filing has consequences you should consider.
"Don't make claims on small losses," said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at Insurance Quotes.com. "If it will only cost you several hundred dollars out of pocket, it's probably better to pay for the repair yourself instead of filing a formal claim with your insurance company."
The average rate hike for a family filing a homeowner's claim is about 9 percent, or $150 a year, according to a new study by Insurance Quotes. But In some states, that single claim could result in a price hike significantly higher than the national average.
(Read more: Paying cash costs Americans $200 billion a year)
"Where you live plays a really big role in whether you should file a claim and the financial consequences you might see as a result of making the claim," Adams said.
The five states where the premium increases would be the highest for a single claim are:
- Minnesota: 21 percent
- Connecticut: 21 percent
- Maryland: 19 percent
- California: 18 percent
- Oregon: 17 percent
The five states where the premium increase would be the smallest are:
- Texas: 0 percent
- New York: 1 percent
- Florida: 2 percent
- Vermont: 2 percent
- Massachusetts: 2 percent
For this study, Insurance Quotes calculated rates for six large insurers based on a single-family residence insured for $144,000 with the initial claim of up to $30,000. Click here to view all states.
Why such a disparity?
Insurance is regulated at the state level, and the report said that differences were due to variations in state law and the occurrence of natural disasters. In Texas, for example, companies are not allowed to boost homeowner premiums based on a single weather-related claim.