(WSVN) - We know insurance rates are sky-high in Florida, but now industry insiders say people living here might not be able to get insurance at all. 7’s Karen Hensel has more in tonight’s installment of our assignment report, “Paradise Lost.”
With insurance rates skyrocketing many homeowners are making expensive repairs in hopes of lowering their bills.
Francisco Landaeta: “We have a new roof. We have hurricane windows and doors, and these are things that they look into. They didn’t matter.”
Francisco Landaeta says even after spending thousands of dollars, his rates are four times higher than they used to be.
Francisco Landaeta: “Not too long ago, we were paying $900 and right now, we went to $3,600. So it’s a huge increase.”
Ronnie Mackliff bought his home two years ago. He’s afraid he’ll have to move because he can’t afford his premium, which jumped from $3,264 to $4,589.
Ronnie Mackliff: “It’s just getting to a place we can’t control.”
And one of the biggest reasons our rates are going up? Hurricanes.
Chuck Nyce/FSU: “And it will always be a factor in pricing.”
Hurricanes like Irma, Ian and Michael caused billions of dollars in damage.
Last year, six insurance companies didn’t have the money to pay the claims from those major storms.
Several others left the state or limited the amount of policies they would write.
Chuck Nyce/FSU: “When we’ve lost these companies that have either gone insolvent, or they’ve decided they don’t want to do business in the state of Florida anymore, that’s reduced competition.”
And reduced competition creates higher prices.
Walter Wyatt: “I had some sleepless nights because I was not sure if I was going to find any or find any that I could afford.”
Walter Wyatt paid $7,000 for his policies with Citizens Insurance, which is run by the state. But after Citizens dropped him, he spent weeks trying to find a new company to insure him.
Walter Wyatt: “I had everybody working for me and got quotes between $20,000 a year and $40,000 a year, which is just totally unaffordable. The last agent that I contacted was able to find me a policy and it still hurts. It’s $15,158 a year.”
Policies written by Citizens, are typically lower, but the company is dropping hundreds of thousands of homeowners so it can lower its financial risk.
Ronnie just got his notice that Citizens won’t be renewing him. A private policy will cost him 20% more.
Ronnie Mackliff: “We have been building our dreams so many years and working so hard to earn what we have today and we would like to keep it that way but I don’t see that possible with these projections.”
Francisco is also wondering if leaving Florida is the only answer.
Francisco Landaeta: “What if we look into another state, something that is cheaper that we have more options? Yeah, that has been on our mind.”
Some say Florida residents might not be able to get insurance at all.
Chuck Nyce/FSU: “So I am concerned about the future of insurance in the state of Florida. There will be long-term consequences to the state, if we don’t figure out a way of hardening homes, preventing damage, making sure that the private insurance market is working.”
Homeowners aren’t the only ones feeling the insurance squeeze. Tomorrow, we look at how insurance and other issues could be the beginning of the end for condo associations.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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