When Dulce Suarez-Resnick’s homeowners’ insurance policy was up for renewal, she had to figure out how to try to offset the increase she saw in her notice.
“I had a 40% rate increase and I couldn’t go to any other insurance company because technically to them, my 20-year-old roof is too old,” she said. “So I had to increase my deductibles and I had to look at my coverages, maybe make some adjustments there.”
Those moves helped her reduce the $1,200 increase she was facing in her annual policy.
“I was able to lower it to only being a $700 increase, but it’s an increase nonetheless.”
Dulce, who has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years, said she was hearing similar stories from her clients.
“I feel their pain,” she said.
On average, she said, many of them were seeing their homeowners’ insurance premiums jump anywhere between 25% and 60% at renewal.
Responding to every consumer complaint
“We’re in a pandemic situation,” she said. “Last year, a lot of people weren’t working …their income may not have been the same for those who own homes and this is just another burden.”
Homeowners aren’t just facing higher premiums.
“We’re in a very volatile market here in Florida,” said Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute.
Friedlander said tens of thousands of people in Florida recently received either a non-renewal or mid-term cancellation notice, forcing them to scramble to find coverage.
“If you do get a notice, first thing we tell people – don’t panic,” he said. “Call your insurance agent as soon as you can. Talk to them about what your options are.”
Those options, he said, will likely be limited, forcing many homeowners to turn to Citizens Property Insurance since fewer private companies are writing policies, especially right now during hurricane season.
“They’re averaging about 5,000 new customers a week,” Friedlander said. “We’re talking about 750,000 policies under Citizens by year end 2021. They will be the largest writer of property insurance in the state and that’s a very unhealthy situation for Florida.”
Friedlander said fraudulent roofing claims and increased litigation costs are fueling the problems we’re seeing in Florida’s insurance market.
Even though it has been almost three years since a major storm has hit Florida, Friedlander said private insurers reported over $1.7 billion dollars in losses in 2020, which is more than double their losses in 2019.
If you get a renewal notice you can’t afford, shop around.
Ask your insurance agent to get you several quotes. You can also see if it makes sense to increase your deductibles or change some of your coverages.
You may also want to ask a different agent to give you quotes, since they may work with different insurance companies than your existing agent.