It’s not just renters feeling the pinch when it comes to affordable housing in Florida.
Tonight, 7’s Patrick Fraser continues our living nightmare stories with a look at how rising insurance premiums could force people out of their homes.
Julie and her husband live in Miami, but have built a house that looks like their favorite spot.
Julie Colon: “It’s our key sanctuary. My husband and I love the Keys.”
Marlis Cintra and her family bought their very first home in Hollywood a year and a half ago.
Marlis Cintra: “The first time I came here, and I was like, ‘This is my house. This is the place where I want to live.'”
Laura Newton has been a homeowner in Plantation for the last 21 years.
Laura Newton: “Remodeling inside the house. I redid the kitchen, I redid the living room, all the floors. So I’ve put a lot of money in it. It’s my, like, safe haven when I get out of work.”
Three families living what’s called the American Dream, but the dreamers didn’t plan on an insurance nightmare.
Laura Newton: “I got the bill in the mail and it was $17,400.”
Julie’s bill only increased by a thousand dollars. But she’s retired, on a very tight budget and a thousand is too much.
Julie Colon: “I can’t pay this money. I can’t afford it. My mortgage has gone up every year due to the fact that the property insurance.”
Marlis’ insurance went up another $7,200. To afford it, she had to sell her car and ask her teenage son to get a job.
Marlis Cintra: “He is 17, and I was like, ‘Hey, the mortgage raised, you need you to start working to help us.'”
The solution right now? There isn’t one.
The Florida Legislature passed a bill to try to help, but that won’t have an effect for a year or two, and homeowners need help now.
Chris Frimes/Fitch Ratings: “There are certainly challenges that the insurance market is faced in Florida.”
Fitch Ratings tracks insurance markets around the country. They say the cause of Florida’s soaring rates is clear.
Thousands of lawsuits filed against insurance companies after they refused to pay claims for storm damage.
Now add in false claims and insurance fraud.
The result of all that, many insurance companies went out of business.
And with only a few companies insuring homes in Florida, the cost of re-insurance went up. That’s the insurance that insurance companies buy to cover their losses.
Its a perfect storm of problems creating the current crisis.
Alex Ray/ John Galt Insurance: “That’s the future. You know, who can afford a couple thousand dollars a month increase in your expenses. It’s just, you know, unrealistic.”
Terrible news for homeowners who just can’t afford the insurance and might have to sell.
Marlis Cintra: “I talk to people and everybody’s kind of like, ‘This is too much with insurance. It’s just too much.'”
Its too much, leaving many people thinking like Laura.
Laura Newton: “I’ve thought many times of selling and moving to North Carolina. I definitely won’t retire here, but I’ll probably spend a couple more years here.”
The living nightmare.
She loves her house, but like so many South Floridians can’t afford the insurance for it.
Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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