South Florida homeowners are about to get hit with insurance rate increases unlike any other we’ve ever experienced.
We’re talking as much as 30% to 40% over what you are paying now and price hikes of $1,000 or more for your next year of coverage.
Insurers have been warning for years that these increases would hit us hard. And now they’re here, thanks to years of rising claims abuses, court-clogging litigation, spiraling costs from hurricanes Irma and Michael, and one of the most active seasons in memory for severe and destructive weather.
When Weston resident Ruth Bettini opened her insurance renewal notice in September, “I almost died of shock,” she said. The annual premium to insure her $550,000 house with Orlando-based St. Johns Insurance Co. had increased by 28% — from $4,647 last year to $5,946 for the term beginning Oct. 1. That’s $108.25 more per month.
She asked her agent to shop for a lower price. “But everything else that was available cost even more than that, so I went ahead and renewed it.”
Bettini says her house is not what any insurer should consider a bad risk. Hurricane-rated accordion shutters cover all of her windows. All of her doors, including her garage door, are impact resistant. And she had her roof replaced a year ago to meet current windstorm codes. “I’ve done all the upgrades I can do to make it hurricane-proof,” she said.
As a real estate agent, Bettini says she worries about effects of the rising prices on her livelihood. “I’m really getting concerned when I see these insurance rates because I think they’re pricing people out of the market.”
Warnings about rising insurance rates might sound familiar. Prices in South Florida have been rising for the last five years, after a brief era