If you are a home owner, you may have scrambled to get insurance at some point. Your policy may be too expensive – or you may have been dropped.
Florida relies on one company to accept state insurance policies. A state watchdog, Demotech Inc., has warned about the decline of about a dozen insurance companies, leaving officials scrambling. to fall.
Thomas Winkler, an insurance agent at A&T Insurance Brokerage in Miami Beach, helped settle homeowner’s insurance in Florida. Here’s what you need to know to protect your homeowner’s insurance if you’re suddenly knocked down in the middle of hurricane season.
Why are policy holders being dumped?
Small insurance companies are going out of business, Winkler said. Weston of Coral Gables, which has 9,400 points in South Florida, is the latest company to do so.
Existing companies may also increase their wages by 10% to 30%, he said. This could be due to a bad housing problem or an inspection that was found at the house.
Almost every layoff ends up at Citizens Property Insurance Corp., a state-run company, he said. Citizens cannot legally compete with the private market, so prices must be the same or higher.
“The result is an incredible increase in homeownership, especially for older homes and especially here in Miami Beach,” Winkler said. “It’s worse than any other place.”
Why are insurance companies closing?
The issue with insurance companies in Florida dates back to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Winkler said. Miami has a lot to say, some of which have nothing to do with hurricanes. But those who have laws hire lawyers or real estate agents to get all the money they can.
“Companies can spend more on litigation than on debt settlement,” he said.
Small businesses can work if they can recover from many disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, Winkler said. Many do not have enough capital to deal with these risks and are forced to go out of business.
What should you do if you are knocked down?
When you’re dropped off, the first thing you should do is call your insurance agent, Winkler said. The agent will look for other insurances, but in most cases there is no other option than Citizens.
“That’s what happens in Miami,” he said. “There is no other chance.”
However, not all owners are eligible for citizenship, Winkler said. In Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, cap on replacement cost and $1 million. In Broward County, it’s $700,000.
Assets that exceed those caps, he said, are more expensive to insure.
Can you install insurance?
Doing nothing is an option if your loan is paid off, Winkler said. But if not, it is better to take action as soon as possible.
If you’re paying off a loan and don’t sign up for insurance, the bank can offer coverage, which is usually more expensive than regular insurance. It can be double or triple the price of the regular price.
Is there any way to save money on the policy?
Winkler encourages everyone to check if they qualify for a discount.
He also points out that homeowners with older homes sell safety features such as shutters or storm windows. These methods, he said, could save half the cost.