Rough Minnesota Winter Drives up Insurance Rates

Updated: 03/04/2014 10:33 PM By: Brandi Powell

Local insurance companies say their phones are ringing off the hook, with all of the rough winter weather.

Nobody's been a stranger to the slick roads, snow on the roofs and ice dams. Insurance experts say Minnesota is already on bad footing. "We've seen about $75 million in snow load, ice dam and burst pipe claims, just in the first couple months of the year," said Vice President of Public Affairs for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota Mark Kulda.

That's compared to an average of $35 million for all storms for an entire year. "We have to start thinking about maybe, we're the Florida of the Midwest now," Kulda said.

Minnesota is indeed now considered a top catastrophe state. In seven of the last 15 years Minnesota has ranked in the top three. Storms have caused insurance premiums to triple in the last 15 years.

According to the Insurance Federation of Minnesota, the average cost in 1998 was $368 a year. In 2011, that bumped up to $1,056 a year. "This year has been really bad," Kulda said.

While claims drive up all of our rates, you can protect yourself from a spike by being proactive.

Troy Thompson, owner of Pinnacle Insurance of Minnesota, says do things such as remove ice dams right away, and really weigh repair costs against your deductible. "If you have a $2,500 deductible and it cost $3,000 to deal with an ice dam situation, you'll only get $500 from that so it's smart to realize that sure you'll save a little bit of money on the front end with higher deductibles," Thompson said. "But you are going to have to come up with that when you do have a loss."

Thompson also recommends removing snow on the ground that's along the edges of your home. It may cause damages that are not covered by a typical insurance policy.