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The Vacation and Cabin Rental Excess & Surplus Insurance Market

The property insurance marketplace remains in what is called a “hard market” as we progress through 2024. Factors including cost of materials, catastrophe losses, supply chain interruptions, and increased time and cost of labor have resulted in insurance companies reducing the amount of risks they want cover, restricting locations, and raising premiums.

These impacts are often higher in the areas that are popular for vacation and cabin rentals. For example, beach rentals are higher to insure due to coastal risks, and mountain rentals are often harder to insure due to wildfire risks. But there are still options for coverage and an independent agent can provide you with information on your choices, as they are not tied to a single insurance company like a direct writing insurance agent may be.

That being said, these options may have intricacies you are not aware of, as all insurance companies are not the same, nor or they regulated the same.

The Excess & Surplus Market

With fewer insurance companies willing to cover the risks of vacation and cabin rentals, some are turning to the Excess & Surplus (E&S) insurance market for coverage. These companies typically offer non-admitted insurance policies, which means they do not fall under the state regulations and have not been “approved” by the Department of Insurance. However, they are still reviewed by regulators, and the companies themselves may often have the same financial ratings and reviews as other companies on a national or regional level.

The positives of these options are the flexibility of the policies and rates. They can move quickly to adjust what they offer and respond to volatile markets like what we’re seeing now. They may have lower rates than competing programs, but it is important to understand if coverage differences are responsible for those rates.

The concern of these options is they are not subject to the states’ Guaranty Fund protections. This means, if the insurance company were to become insolvent, there would not be state government protection to pay claims from a fund that has already been established.

There are, however, ways to determine how great of a concern this should be for you. The financial ratings and reviews we mentioned can be reviewed by the public. Organizations like Fitch, AM Best, and/or Demotech may have reviewed the companies’ financial data and provided reports of their current standing and future outlook. These reports are fairly standardized and straightforward, often assigning letter grades like “A” to resulting reports.

So, is an E&S market the best option for your risk? In Tennessee, you may need as meaning as three admitted companies to decline your risk before you are eligible to access the E&S market. But in the current marketplace, that may not be much of an impediment. The key is to understand what is available to you, and what differences are in the policies you’re considering.

Our agents can help you do just that! We’ve been helping insure cabins and vacation rentals for many years, and we’re here to help you understand your risks and options. Contact Brandon Patterson to get started today – or 865.453.1414.