Perhaps one huge blip on the radar screen is homeowners insurance and how it’s affected by the thousands of foreclosures with premiums not being paid. “Banks would pay the insurance on a foreclosed home,” says Barry.
That’s one element of pressure on the banks and why they are anxious to re-sell them but Barry says the money is not all that much in the big picture. “It’s probably around $900 a year for a home of some $250,000 re-built value,” says Barry.
But current homeowners do face problems when it comes to getting certain coverage, especially flood insurance. Reports out of Louisiana cited residents there without auto or flood coverage would have to wait until after Hurricane Gustav hit, to be able to try and buy it.
And rates for homeowner’s insurance in the Gulf Coast have risen as much as 12 percent since the area was hit in 2005 by the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. One “life saver” of sorts for homeowners: low interest loans are available to them if their home is in a federally declared disaster area.
Of course, the economic situation for insurance companies and policy holders can change for the worse, according to Minkler. "If credit ratings for the companies go down or or bridge loans are not paid, that's something substantial to look at," says Minkler. "We're keeping an eye on that."
Whatever policy holders feel at this point in time, most agree that looking at your current policy and looking at the overall market can only help.
“Take time to shop," says Hunter. "This is a good time to look around. “Just don’t over reach when it comes to what you can afford.”
Barry says there are more opportunities for consumers. “Auto insurance rates have gone down on average the last three years,” he says. "There’s a lot of competition out there. Take advantage of it.”