Missouri Homeowners Insurance Holds Steady Amid National Crisis Concerns

The St. Louis Business Journal today published an article with the headline “A hidden cost of homeownership is mounting — and approaching crisis levels”. The article began with “homeowners across the country are facing an insurance crisis — and it’s driving up housing costs”, and then quoted a study indicating that 72% of U.S. homeowners said the cost of their homeowners insurance had increased over the past year. Well, sometimes it’s better to not have ocean views, mountains, and the like, and to be situated in the middle of the country like we are here in St. Louis—and this would be one of those occasions.

Homeowners Insurance Not Projected to Increase in Cost in 2024:

According to a study by Insurify, home insurance rates are expected to rise by 6% this year after a 20% increase over the last two years. However, the study indicates that in Missouri, the average cost of homeowners insurance in 2023 was $2,706 and for 2024 it’s projected to be $2,697. So, no increase in Missouri and actually a few bucks in savings.

Within Missouri, the cost of insurance varies by location. Here are a few examples of the average monthly quote for homeowners insurance for several cities within Missouri:

  • Florissant – $206
  • St. Charles – $186
  • St. Joseph – $213
  • St. Louis City – $232
  • Springfield – $224

There are many factors that come into play regarding the cost of insurance beyond the location, such as the home’s replacement cost. This figure represents the cost to rebuild your home using similar materials and is influenced by several factors, including the age of your home, its square footage, architectural style, and the local rebuilding costs in your area. Coverage options also play a vital role. Homeowners who opt for additional coverages, such as protection for sewer lines, natural disasters, and high-value possessions, will generally see an increase in their insurance rates.

This is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable insurance agent and preferably one with access to coverage from many different companies to help you select the right company and coverage for your situation. A good place to start is STLBestInsuranceAgent.com, where you can find many helpful short videos about homeowners insurance, particularly from the standpoint of a homebuyer.

Most Expensive States for Home Insurance in 2024

Most Expensive States for Home Insurance in 2024

Save Big Money with Smart Tech and Reduce Risks!

Did you know that you can save some serious money on your homeowners insurance with the right combination of smart technology? Not only can you save some money, but you can make your life safer and more convenient. Did you know there are roughly 50 million households with smart tech and the number one device present in these homes has nothing to do with saving money, convenience, or safety? Weird, I know. More on that later. Today, I’ll cover a few of the smarter items that can be integrated into your home that could pay for themselves.

More than 50% of all washing machine water damage claims can be traced back to a supply hose failure. How much water might that be? In most homes, it can be about 600 gallons of water. Per hour. You might be thinking, “I always turn off the valves before we go on vacation”. That’s definitely a good practice but what about before you go to bed? How about before you go out to dinner? Grocery shopping? What about your dishwasher valve? Did you turn that one off?

Lou Darden, with Kreismann Bayer Insurance Agency Inc. says, an automatic water shutoff is a big deal. “The discount could be anywhere between 10-15% annually.” Considering the hundreds of dollars you can save if you factor that over the lifetime of a home, it more than pays for itself. In addition to the savings, the number two claim they usually see on homeowners insurance is water related damage (whether it’s a leak or back up). So, if you’re not interested in receiving a non-renewal notice or having your premium increase by about 10%, water sensors in combination with an auto shutoff valve would be a smart choice. Some of the shutoff devices don’t need a plumber to be installed but if you’re not mechanically inclined, hire someone that is. Don’t forget, with a claim comes your deductible payment and that is just more money you could have kept in your pocket.

Let’s talk smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You have them, right? Do yours report to a central monitoring station that sends the fire department when they’re triggered? Having these detectors not only save you insurance money, but they can save your life and help prevent catastrophic damage. Additionally, when the detectors are integrated with a smart thermostat, you can setup your HVAC system to shut down when the system senses fire or smoke. This feature is rarely thought of in residential settings but it’s important. You don’t want to send smoke through your ductwork to other parts of the house that might be unaffected. Plus, moving air will just help the fire burn.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with real estate. Well, the fact is insurance claims on your property also affect your property’s marketability. Some buyers don’t want a house that has had insurance claims related to water and fire. And, sometimes, too many claims lead to your home becoming uninsurable for future buyers.

These are just a few of the more important smart technologies that can get you some serious returns on your investment—unlike a smart tv which is the #1 piece of smart tech in U.S homes. To find out MORE about insurance savings, contact Lou Darden.

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area. *

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication”;

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area*.

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication

Missouri Releases Complaint Report For Missouri Insurance Companies

The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) is the state agency that investigates complaints against insurance companies made by consumers in Missouri.  Annually, the DCI releases its complaint report reporting on the complaints made in the preceding year by company, type of insurance, etc.  In compiling the report the DCI assigns a “complaint index” to each company, based upon the number of complaints the department received for a consecutive three-year period relative to the amount of product-specific premium a Missouri licensed company experienced that same period.  An index number of 100 means that the department received the normally expected number of complaints about that company, an index number less than 100 indicates the company was the subject of less than the normally expected number of complaints and an index that is greater than 100 shows the department received more than the normally expected number of complaints about that company.

Below, I have compiled a list of the top 20 providers of homeowners insurance in Missouri (based upon market share) ranked by their complaint index with the companies with the worst complaint index first.  The companies list with a red background have a complaint index above 100 and the ones in green have a complaint index below 100.  As the table shows, Auto Club Family Insurance Company as the worst complaint index on the list at 166, followed by Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company (145), Auto Owners (131), Travelers (121) and State Farm (117) rounds out the top 5 with the worst complaint indexes.

To obtain the complete report showing all companies as well as complaint indexes for all lines of business click here or on the table below.

Continue reading “Missouri Releases Complaint Report For Missouri Insurance Companies

Typical St Louis Home Price Increased Nearly 11 Percent In Past Year – Payment On The Home Increased 25%

Most anyone that is interested in buying or selling a home is pretty much aware of two things: there is a low inventory of homes for sale and prices have increased a fair amount as a result.  That part is likely largely a result of basic economics related to supply and demand.  When the demand is greater than the supply, prices will increase.  In St Louis, home prices have done just that.  As the chart below (exclusively available from MORE, REALTORS®) illustrates, the median price of homes sold in January 2020 was $221, 200 and in January 2021 was $245,000,  an increase of 10.8%.

Interest rates are the other part of the equation with regard to the “cost” of a home…

Since the overwhelming majority of home buyers that purchase a typical home in St Louis do so utilizing a mortgage or home loan, the interest rate on that home loan has a direct impact on what that home “costs” the homeowner in terms of the monthly payment.  When buyers get pre-approved for a home loan, as well as consider how much they can afford to or want to, spend on a home, it all pretty much usually starts with the house payment.  Therefore, we can’t underestimate the impact interest rates can have on home prices.

As the mortgage interest rate chart below shows, the average interest rate on a 30-year conforming conventional home loan in January 2021 was 2.811% and today has increased to 3.744%.

The change in the “cost” of a typical St Louis home in the past year…

So, if we look at the increase in the price of a typical St Louis home and then factor in the increase in the interest rates we find that the actual “cost” of a typical St Louis home (in terms of house payment) increased 25% n the past year.  To keep things simple, I based this on a loan amount of 90% of the purchase price so the cost will vary depending upon downpayment of course and I’m only computing principal and interest so I’m not including escrows for property taxes or homeowners insurance.

  • Typical payment on a typical St Louis home January 2021 – $ 805.00 
  • Typical payment on a typical St Louis home January 2022 – $ 1,009.00

Is it too late to buy since the cost has increased so much?

Continue reading “Typical St Louis Home Price Increased Nearly 11 Percent In Past Year – Payment On The Home Increased 25%

Missouri Insurance Department Providing Assistance to Flood Victims With Insurance Needs

The Missouri Insurance Department announced they will have Consumer specialists in place this week and next at Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) throughout the state to assist flood victims with their insurance claims. The consumer specialists will be at the locations below, on the dates indicated and will be able to assist victims of the recent flooding with understanding their insurance policies as well as with filing insurance claims.  The Missouri Insurance Department did point out however that “generally, homeowners insurance does not offer protection against flood losses. Homeowners should check their policies for exclusions, such as ‘water damage’.”

Consumers that have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage can also contact the Missouri Insurance Department’s Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) Where MO Insurance Dept Consumer Specialists will Be


May 10 Ellington Ellington City Hall, 100 Tubbs Avenue
May 10 West Plains West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.
May 11 Poplar Bluff Memorial Baptist Church 2215 South Broadway Bldg. C
May 11 Eminence United Methodist Church, 18321 Church St.
May 12 & 13 Van Buren Van Buren Youth & Community Center, CR 1204 State Hwy D
May 12 & 13 Valley Park Manchester United Methodist Church, 129 Woods Mill Rd.
May 15 Thomasville TBA
May 15 Pacific Pacific Eagles, 707 West Congress Pacific, MO 63069
May 16 Gainesville Gainesville School District, Gymnasium
May 16 House Springs Northwest Valley Middle School, 4300 Gravois Rd.
May 17 Doniphan Caring Community Partnership, 209 Highway St.
May 18 Arnold Arnold First Baptist Church, 2012 Missouri State Rd.

While it is too late to help with the recent flood, there is flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  You purchase flood insurance, just like homeowners insurance, through insurance agents.  There are requirements to be eligible as well as generally a waiting period before the coverage takes affect.  If you would like to know more about flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can contact them at 800-427-4661.

Want to know if your property is located in a flood zone?  Go to STLflood.com for an interactive flood map where you can enter your address and view your property on the flood map to determine if it is located within a flood hazard area:


Traffic Tickets May Soon Cost Homeowners More Than Just A Fine

Credit reporting giant, TransUnion, did an evaluation to determine if there was any relationship between homeowners with criminal charges, including traffic violations, and their homeowner insurance claim loss ratio.  What TransUnion found was that there was a “strong correlation between violation activity (traffic and criminal violations) and homeowners insurance loss ratio performance.

TransUnion is now marketing this data to the insurance industry suggesting “homeowners insurance carriers can surcharge consumers with ratable traffic or criminal violations, or extend a discount to homeowners who are safe drivers“.  So, in addition to possible attorney fees and fines to settle that traffic ticket, you may very well be facing higher homeowners insurance premiums as well.

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St Louis Home Price Trends By City/Municipality 
2016 SMART Guide For Home Buyers
2016 SMART Guide For Home Sellers

How To Avoid Problems With Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance is something that most homeowners have, but many don’t necessarily understand all the nuances of their policy or, in the case of policies that may have been originally purchased years ago, not know that they don’t have sufficient coverage today. If there are problems with the policy, or with the company the policy is issued by, the problem often rears it’s ugly head after a loss is suffered and the homeowner goes through the claim process.

So, how do you avoid a bad homeowners insurance scenario?

The same as you avoid most trouble, do your homework first, get an understanding of the policy you are buying as well as investigate the reputation of the company behind the policy.  While price is certainly a factor, when it comes to something as important as the insurance on your home, you don’t want to be penny-wise and dollar foolish.

Get a FREE Homeowners Insurance Guide – Download Here Instantly

Get a FREE Home Inventory Checklist – Download Here Instantly
Check out the great resources from the Department of Insurance below the Consumer Complaint Index Table below or by clicking here.

Where to find good resources to learn more about homeowners insurance and avoid problems:  

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Continue reading “How To Avoid Problems With Homeowners Insurance

Real Estate Terms Defined

Real Estate TermsMaking Sense of Confusing Real Estate Terms

If you are buying, selling or refinancing a home you will come across real estate terms and industry lingo that may sound foreign to you.  To help address this issue, below you will find definitions for the most common real estate terms that you are likely to come across when buying, selling or refinancing a home.   If you have other questions about title insurance, or the role of the title company in these transactions, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

Continue reading “Real Estate Terms Defined

St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update; First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Not knowing what you can afford – What the lender says you can afford and what you know you can afford may not necessarily be the same. Looking at homes that are outside your price range can put you in the dangerous position of trying to stretch beyond your financial means. Be sure to consider all of your monthly expenses when budgeting for your anticipated mortgage payment. Continue reading “St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update; First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

What a great time to be a First Time Home buyer!  Historically low interest rates and great home prices!  However, the home buying “process” can be a difficult if the borrower is not prepared and have not done their homework.

Before making offers and writing contracts, talk to your mortgage lender and get Pre-Qualified for a loan.  Pre-Qualify means you can confidently begin house shopping in the appropriate price range. Continue reading “What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Five Insurance Mistakes for Homeowners to Avoid

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) just published the results of a survey of homeowners that showed almost half of the homeowners surveyed believe that coverage limits of their homeowners insurance policy are linked to the value of their home.  However, this is not the case according to the I.I.I.  “The real estate value of a home, that is the price you can buy or sell it for, has absolutely nothing to with the amount of insurance needed to financially protect the homeowner in the event of a fire or other disaster,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. “Reducing insurance coverage because the market value of a home has decreased can result in being dangerously underinsured.” Continue reading “Five Insurance Mistakes for Homeowners to Avoid

Are Reverse Mortgages Safe for Seniors?

Ah, the reverse mortgage battle continues…Consumers Union says their risky and dangerous; RetireSafe, a grassroots organization that advocates on behalf of seniors says they provide financial independence to Seniors…so who’s right?

Dennis Norman St LouisFirst off, I have to say that I personally feel reverse mortgages offer an excellent opportunity for seniors to live a better life, or get them through a tough financial period, by tapping the equity in their homes. I have written before about a friend of mine, Tom Carter, who has helped dozens of seniors over the years with reverse mortgages. Having said that, obviously, like almost everything in life, this is something that can be mis-applied or can be used in the wrong manner by low-life’s looking to scam a senior citizen. Continue reading “Are Reverse Mortgages Safe for Seniors?

Cities where home ownership is more affordable than rental

Dennis Norman

Today, Trulia released it’s “Rent vs. Buy Index” which established a price-to-rent ratio for the 50 largest cities in America (by population), then, based upon that ratio, determined which cities it makes more sense (financially) to rent versus buy. Continue reading “Cities where home ownership is more affordable than rental

Should You Buy A Home Or Rent? Top 10 Cities Where You Should Rent

Dennis Norman

Last month I did an article, “Should You Rent Or Buy A Home?“, in which I discussed a survey that was done by the National Apartment Association which indicated 76 percent of consumers surveyed believed renting to be a better option than home ownership. Well, today Trulia released it’s new “Rent vs. Buy Index” which established a price-to-rent ratio for the 50 largest cities in America (by population), then, based upon that ratio, determined which cities it makes more sense (financially) to rent versus buy.

Trulia Trulia real estate searchThe index looks at the total cost of home ownership on a monthly basis in each city, including what the house payment would be on a 2 bedroom home at the average list price, plus the cost of property taxes, homeowners insurance, closing costs at the time of purchase, home-owners associations dues and, where applicable, private mortgage insurance. They then compared this to the average monthly rent in the same city for apartments, condominiums and town-homes, then computed the ratio between the two numbers.

The tables below first show the top ten cities to rent in vs buy, followed by the top ten to buy versus rent based upon the Trulia Index (for price/rent ratios of 1-15 it is best to buy, 21 or above it is best to rent and for that 16-20 range it is still more expensive to buy than rent, but the “premium” paid for home-ownership may be worth it, depending on the consumers situation).


Source: Trulia Rent vs. Buy Index


Source: Trulia Rent vs. Buy Index