Floridians pay more for homeowners insurance than residents of any other state, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Premiums continue to increase dramatically. The average Florida resident will pay premiums of $2,380 this year, a 21% increase over 2018. Owners of older properties may find that they can secure insurance only if they make upgrades and bring their property up to current building codes. Then there are the Floridians whose policies are being dropped. Insurance companies are terminating or not renewing over 50,000 policies in June – just as hurricane season commences – citing financial losses due to heightened hurricane activity, sham claims, and the cost of litigating those claims.
Is it legal for insurance carriers to do this? Yes. Under Florida law, a company can drop policies when an increase in claims or attorney’s fees imperil the company’s financial situation.
If You are Facing Premium Hikes Or Cancellation
- You should be contacted by your homeowners insurance carrier if your policy is being cancelled. If you have any doubt about your coverage still being in effect, call your insurance agent or the carrier.
- The Office of Insurance Regulation advises you to contact your agent without delay if you are alerted that your policy is being dropped. Ask your agent about alternatives. Companies are required to work with affected customers and agents to help them find alternative coverage. For many, the insurer of last resort will be the state-run Citizens Property Insurance.
- If your premium increase is less than 50%, experts suggest sticking with your current policy. The reason: If you apply for a new policy, underwriting may include more rigorous guidelines and building codes that will require you to make repairs and upgrades to the property. Thus, you could end up paying more than you would have paid under the original policy.
Good luck, and stay safe during this hurricane season.