By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Home insurance sticker shock. You may want to look closely at that renewal notice: insurance agents tell CBS 11 News that double-digit rate increases are becoming common.

“It puts me in a panic mode,” said Karen Landry of Dallas.

“The question is, what can you do?” asks her husband, Larry.

It is a question that Amy Mashburn, an account executive with independent agency Davidson Stewart Morelock Group, gets often. “Every day. All day,” said Mashburn. “We’ve had to add staff to make sure we take care of our customers.”

Those customers are calling, said Mashburn, asking agents to shop around for better deals in the face of rising home insurance rates. “Most are 10 to 15 percent,” said Mashburn, “but we have seen some that go up as much as 30 percent. That’s huge.”

Mashburn said that natural disasters from across the country — and across town — have played a role in the rate increases.

“Texas is one of the highest rated states. We see all kinds of inclement weather,” Mashburn said. “It’s not just hail, it’s not just hurricanes, it’s not just tornadoes — it’s all of it.”

Mashburn said, as customers compare offers, it is important to look beyond the premium cost. Coverage matters as well, and can make apples-to-apples comparisons difficult. “You’re seeing rate increases, decreased coverages, you’re seeing increases in your deductibles, automatically.”

Along with shopping for a better deal, Mashburn said that a good agent can also help customers search for discounts that may have been overlooked — such as adding alarms, or combining auto and home insurance policies. Whatever your strategy, it is best to put it in place, soon. Mashburn said that these recent rate hikes are likely just the beginning.

“Over the next few years, actually,” Mashburn said, “you’re probably going to continue to see increases.”