As Florida braces for what forecasters predict will be a busy hurricane season, homeowners are getting hit with a surge in property insurance hikes.
How does this affect the average home buyer?
State Regulators with the Florida Office of Insurance Relation are projecting in five years that property insurance will increase by $550 a year in Hillsborough County for a $300,000 home.
In Pinellas County, it will go up by $389 a year.
In Pasco County, the pain is particularly harsh for homeowners. Property insurance there is already the most expensive in the Tampa Bay area. It is projected to cost $3,800 a year by 2022.
The driving force behind the rate hikes is a practice called "assignment of benefits," which lets homeowners give their insurance claims to contractors doing repairs.
The repairs are often more expensive than what the insurance covers and that leads to costly legal battles.
Now, after years of what the insurance industry calls “claims abuse,” they're passing on the cost to you.