That was the third-largest annual increase after Arkansas, at 18.5%, and Washington state, at 18.1%.
In dollar terms, annual premiums in Colorado went from an average of $1,355 last May to $1,593 this May.
That premium amount was the second-highest of any state in the study after Minnesota.
“Colorado rate increases are more than double that of inflation. It is a huge, massive jump,” said Pat Howard, a licensed property and casualty insurance expert at Policygenius in New York City.
Insurers have cited higher payouts because of more damaging hailstorms and wildfires as a key driver of premium inflation. For example, the Marshall fire destroyed 1,084 homes worth more than $500 million in Boulder County on Dec. 30, which is way beyond the normal fire season.
Insurers prefer to spread the costs of claim payouts over a wider area, and more catastrophic events are a factor behind why rates are rising so much in Colorado and other states, Howard said. But it is a little early for the Marshall fire to be factored into the premium base. A big driver of late has been what Howard calls the “elephant in the room” — replacement costs.
Home prices in Colorado have risen sharply since lockdown orders were lifted in 2020. As of May, they were going up more than 23% a year in metro Denver, per the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price indices. But what insurers look at more closely than a home’s market value are the costs to replace it.
Costs for building materials and construction labor have skyrocketed since the pandemic because of supply-chain difficulties and worker shortages.
So what should consumers do if they are hit with high premium increases?
Howard said it is a good practice to see what competitors are offering at least once a year, even when rates are stable. Comparison websites have made it much easier to obtain quotes from multiple insurers with a minimal amount of effort.
Taking on a bigger deductible is a way to save on the premium and so are bundling policies, such as home and auto.