JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you’re a Floridian dealing with sticker shock due to an increase in your homeowners insurance, you’re not alone.
Rates have skyrocketed due to increased litigation, a spike in claims from hurricanes dating back four years and rising reinsurance costs. Premiums have skyrocketed as much as 36%.
Florida is now among the top five most expensive states for homeowner’s insurance, according to websites that watch insurance trends. If you’re getting hit with a rate increase, experts say don’t cancel your policy and start shopping around just yet.
Matt Carlucci Jr., with Brightway Insurance, recommends a wind mitigation inspection.
“If you haven’t, you should probably get one. They normally cost between 50 to 60 dollars, but the discount for getting one could be one to 200 dollars in the low-end and almost 1,000 dollars on the high end,” Carlucci Jr. said.
The inspection looks at how well your roof and other parts of the home can stand up to a storm.
If you’ve already had a wind mitigation inspection, Carlucci Jr. suggests you call your agent and ask them if your insurance company is aware of the age of your roof. If it’s ever been replaced, Carlucci Jr. says it’s possible that the updated information wasn’t relayed to your insurance company.
- Contact the owner of the insurance agency. Most insurance companies don’t want to lose your business, and you may be able to negotiate a lower rate.
- Don’t switch insurers if the increase is less than 50%, experts say. Switching is risky because of new insurance guidelines.
Carlucci Jr. recommends you speak directly with your agent to see if they have any other ways to reduce your premium. He says Florida’s home insurance environment is unstable right now and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
″I would recommend if you’re not being dropped, stay with your current carrier,” Carlucci Jr. said. “Because, let’s say (you) save a thousand dollars after going from carrier A to carrier B. Now the new carrier is going to inspect your house, and there’s a good chance they will make you make repairs in order to keep the policy.”
Another variable adding to the market’s instability is Senate Bill 76, which if passed would basically allow insurance companies to pay you the “actual cash value” of your old roof rather than the full replacement cost.