Amid Florida’s home insurance crisis, lawmakers have passed a $462 million incentive to help homeowners save money.
Starting in July, the home hardening incentive removes sales tax from storm-resistant windows, exterior doors and garage doors. Several lawmakers and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis pushed for it, and Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed it into law.
It comes as Floridians see huge hikes in home insurance premiums, which state leaders say is due to storm damage claims and crooked contractors, and as hurricane season approaches. The goal of the incentive is to make homes stronger and safer -- less likely for a claim.
“Home hardening gives homeowners an incentive to make their homes more resilient to storms,” said Mark Friedlander, with the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute. “And, in turn, they can also find opportunities to save more on their home insurance.”
Friedlander said the new tax incentive will help homeowners on the front end and long term.
For two years, starting July 1, the state will reimburse 6% in sales tax for people who buy storm-resistant windows, exterior doors and garage doors.
“Remember, these items can be very expensive,” Friedlander said.
READ: More details on sales tax exemption period on impact-resistant doors, garage doors and windows
In Florida, the law requires that insurance companies give a discount to homeowners who “harden their homes.” But it likely won’t get anywhere close to offsetting the rising costs of a policy -- which the News4JAX I-TEAM found has gone as far as doubling for some people.
But Friedlander said this is not going to fix all of the insurance woes in Florida.
“Unfortunately, no. Even the special session that we’re looking forward to in late May in Tallahassee that focuses on property insurance, we’re very hopeful that some steps will be taken to begin to stabilize the Florida insurance market,” Friedlander said.
News4JAX spokes with Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci, who’s an insurance agent, about this. He said it’s a start, but the big fix to the insurance crisis is cutting down on crooked contractors and roofers who are driving insurance rates up.
The special legislative session to address the state’s rising property insurance rates is set for May 23 to May 27. DeSantis tasked the statehouse with considering legislation on property insurance, reinsurance and building code changes.