NewsPinellas County


Florida insurers drop thousands of homeowner's policies

Insurance premiums expected to spike again in 2019
Posted at 4:38 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 05:33:07-05

Thousands of Florida homeowners are scrambling to find new insurance coverage after state records show insurance companies shed 87,000 policies.

Between Hurricane Irma last year and Hurricane Michael this year, Florida insurers have processed $15 billion in claims, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation. 

That, combined with skyrocketing water damage claims, are leading some of the biggest insurance companies to shed customers. 

State records show that half of the state's top ten property insurers had fewer customers starting in October than in early 2018. In addition, some of the smaller, state-based insurance companies, like citizens property insurance corporation, proposed an 8% premium increase for 2019.

Even if you haven’t received a cancelation notice, you can expect to pay more in the upcoming year. Citizen’s Property Insurance is proposing an 8% premium increase, and local insurance agents tell us other companies will likely follow their lead. 

“Every year these insurance carriers are going to the Office of Insurance Regulation and trying to get a rate increase and this year we are seeing anywhere between 7 and 12 percent rate increases amongst all of the companies," Jeff DeNight of Bentley DeNight Insurance explained.

Linda and Ron Ramasanto have seen their insurance premiums more than triple in the 33 years they've owned their Treasure Island home.

“It’s shocking, it really is. It’s just too much,” Linda Ramasanto said. 

The couple's insurance bill is due on December 23 every year.

"Some holiday gift," Linda joked. "Every year it gets worse.”

“I come home and she goes 'the insurance went up again.' I said are you kidding?” Ron Ramasanto added.

The Ramasantos are joining thousands of families across Florida who worry they’ll one day be priced out of their home. 

So what can you do to keep your premiums low? Denight says investing in a new roof or hurricane upgrades can help, but combing through your policy line by line is an easy way to save hundreds of dollars.

“The higher the deductible, the lower the premium," DeNight explained. "So maybe you don’t want to insure your couch, bed or appliances at full replacement cost. Insure them at cash value."

With more premium increases on the horizon in 2019, Florida homeowners will be paying nearly twice the national average in insurance premiums.

If you're looking for new home insurance, be sure to research before you pick one provider. Look up policies online and decide which suits you best. Also, feel free to ask insurance providers if it's a possibility you could be dropped.