|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The premium to fully insure her
"This is a case of homeowners insurance underwater," said Fulcher, comparing her premium to a mortgage that is worth more than the home to which it is attached.
Although Fulcher's skyrocketing increase -- from
"How many more people are they doing this to?" asks Fulcher, 60, who gets by on disability income after suffering several strokes in her 40s.
Fulcher's insurance story begins with the
After that inspection, she received a letter. Her three-story brick house near
Before that, her home's replacement value was
"This is not a half-million dollars' worth of house," Fulcher said. "Whatever it would be replaced with would not cost half a million, you can bet on that."
'No expensive stuff'
She bought the house, at East Baltimore and North Caroline streets, from the city more than 30 years ago. It's big, about 3,400 square feet, but it's not fancy. The main kitchen area, on the first floor, still has harvest gold-colored appliances. The bathrooms are not bedecked in granite or marble. There is no heat in the stairwell.
"There is no expensive stuff in here," Fulcher said. "All I did was put down carpet because it was all tile. ... I have done nothing to it."
Built in 1920, according to tax records, the house's street level was designed as a storefront, as were the rest of the buildings on her block, which has long been on the cusp of gentrification. The state values the home for property tax purposes at less than
She refused to shell out the new premium, but it was paid by her mortgage company, so now she owes the money to her lender. A review of the policy by the
In the meantime, she called two other insurance companies, she said, but was quoted similar rates. She feels stuck with the new, expensive policy, she said.
"I don't need a half-million dollars' worth of insurance," Fulcher said.
Homeowners insurance rates have gone up moderately in the past few years, according to the state insurance administration. The average rate for the most common type of policy in