Florida’s insurance market has been in crisis for several years, and it appears to be getting worse. Since 2017, nearly a dozen home insurance companies have stopped doing business in the state. Some of these have gone out of business, while others are simply refusing to renew existing policies.
Industry analysts cite two major reasons for this ongoing crisis: fraudulent claims and increasingly severe weather. New laws are set to go into effect in fall 2023 that may help reduce the incidence of fraud, but they can’t do much about the weather. Florida has always been vulnerable to hurricanes and other severe storms, and now climate change appears to be leading to more severe storms and rising sea levels that threaten our low-elevation state.
How to work against nonrenewal
Industry insiders say there are some actions homeowners can do that may help convince insurance companies to renew their policies. These include:
- Regular roof maintenance: One of the biggest issues for homeowners insurance companies in Florida is the cost of roof repair. By regularly inspecting roofs and repairing minor damage, homeowners can keep costs down in the long run.
- Wind mitigation: Recently on this blog, we discussed ways to prepare a home for hurricanes. These include securing outdoor items, trimming shrubs and other actions to take before the storm arises. Homeowners should also consider more permanent actions such as installing braces or hurricane straps that can protect their roofs and other parts of their homes.
- Outdoor maintenance: In addition to pre-storm actions like trimming shrubs and securing outdoor items, it’s also a good idea to address longer-term hazards such as overhanging tree limbs. Taking care of these when the weather is good can save homeowners a lot of worry when the weather turns bad. It can also show insurers that the homeowner deserves coverage.
Of course, the sad truth is that none of these proactive measures necessarily guarantee that an insurance company will renew a policy or honor a claim when it becomes necessary. When that happens, homeowners should consider their legal options.