Florida homeowners have been dropped in large numbers by local insurance companies as many fear that premium rates will jump up in the year to come. Insurers shed around 87,000 policies in 2018, leaving many homeowners looking for new insurance to cover the gaps. These policy changes come after Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Irma led to $15 billion in property damage claims from insurance companies, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation in the state.
In addition to the hurricane damage claims, water damage claims also rose in 2018. According to state records, five of Florida’s top 10 insurers of property had fewer policies outstanding in October 2018 than they did at the beginning of the year. Smaller companies based in the state are already forecasting premium increases for 2019; Citizen’s Property Insurance proposed an 8 percent hike. Homeowners with cancelled policies will need to look around for new insurers, and experts say that the overall market will be more expensive. Many companies are proposing rate hikes of somewhere between 7 and 12 percent for the coming year.
Some Florida homeowners even fear that they will find it difficult to remain in their homes if premiums continue to spike. Consumers can look for ways to lower their insurance bill, including insuring their appliances and furniture for current cash value rather than full replacement value. Higher deductibles are also linked to lower premiums, but it is important to keep in mind that the deductible could quickly be consumed in case of a major storm.
In addition to cancelling policies and raising rates, some insurance companies have also delayed or denied homeowners’ insurance claims for hurricane damages and other issues. Homeowners who are facing losses because their insurer is failing to pay may work with an insurance attorney to take action and seek a faster resolution.
Source: ABC Action News, “Florida insurers drop thousands of homeowner’s policies“, Sarah Hollenbeck, 12/11/2018