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Affordable Insurance Still Out of Reach for Floridians

Floridians currently pay some of the highest homeowners’ insurance rates in the nation, and it does not appear that insurance will be high on the legislature’s agenda this coming session.  Thus far, our Miami homeowners’ insurance lawyers find that national flood insurance rates are scheduled to do nothing but rise by an alarming 15 to 18 percent, starting on April 1.

The primary reason for our higher than average insurance rates is geography.  It has been nine years since the last Hurricane hit Florida.  Despite this long stretch without a national disaster, Floridians still pay twice the national average for basic property insurance, an average of $2,000 as opposed to $1,000.  Flood insurance will add another $650 on average.

Nearly 750,000 people still depend on Citizens Property Insurance, the state run insurer of last resort and with the highest premiums.  Citizens recently attempted to transfer thousands of policies to newly established insurance companies, but many homeowners would rather remain with Citizens than be transferred to new companies with no track record.  They are now being threatened with surcharges in an effort to force transfer.

While affordability is sought by many, Florida’s geography and weather history seem to make this unattainable.  Four out of ten of the most costly national disasters occurred in Florida:  Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and Charley and Ivan in 2004.  These four storms combined to cost insurers $42.8 billion.  The insurance companies have not forgotten these tremendous costs and remain loathe to offer insurance in the state.  Those that do insure Floridians make sure they pay rates high enough to buoy the company in case of a massive storm or other national disaster.

Insurers also keep an ongoing tally of the premiums collected and those paid.  In Florida, for flood insurance, claims paid far exceed the premiums collected.  The flood insurance program is currently running with a $24 billion debt.  Congress is raising rates in an attempt to make up for this debt and protect against large payouts.

Raising national flood insurance rates is expected to lead to more private insurers in the state.  A bill passed last year aimed at welcoming more private insurers to Florida with the hope that rates will decrease in time when more choices exist.

Despite paying some of the highest insurance rates in the country, Floridians experience just as much trouble as all other insured when attempting to collect on claims filed.  Homeowners across the state faithfully pay their high premiums, only to find that when the time comes to collect insurance proceeds due to property damage, their claim is denied or minimized.  Anyone struggling with an insurance claim is advised to contact a homeowners’ insurance attorney as soon as possible so as to protect their rights.  A licensed homeowners’ insurance attorney will prepare your strong claim or appeal in order to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Award Winning Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys 

            The Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano hope that Floridians across the state experience some relief from homeowners’ insurance costs in the coming years.  In the meantime, we will continue to strive to see that every homeowner receives the fair compensation he or she deserves in the event of property damage.  For over 130 collective years, our dedicated attorneys have assisted clients across South Florida, earning us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Allow us to put our experience to work for you.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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