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Is there relief in sight for homeowners insurance rates in Florida?

The premium bill comes in the mail and it is a familiar scene played out all across Florida. You stand there, shaking your head, wondering why the homeowners insurance rates in Florida continue to rise.

The answer, unfortunately, is probably not one that you want to hear. According to a recent report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, residents of the state of Florida are now paying an annual premium of approximately $2,000 a year for property insurance. That figure is more than double over the national average of just under $1,000 annually. Additionally, owners of Florida condominiums are paying just over $800 a year, while residents of other states pay half that price.

Despite the fact that the state of Florida has not seen a massive hurricane in almost 10 years, homeowners insurance rates in Florida are continuing to climb with no end in sight as approvals for rate increases are passed by state regulators year after year.

Obviously, all of that is the bad news. The good news, if there is any, is that there are some indications that rates could begin to stabilize or even come down in the near future.  While that does not offer any immediate relief to a family budget, it does provide a glimmer of hope that rates will decrease and homeowners will begin seeing some form of financial relief.

Insurance executives in the state of Florida argue that of the 10 most expensive national disasters in the history of the United States, five have occurred in or had an effect on Florida. Those catastrophes had a devastating effect not only on repair costs, but on reinsurance protection rates as well.
Despite that, Florida residents as well as consumer advocate agencies are pushing hard to get homeowners insurance rates in Florida in line with national averages. And it is not all bad news as state regulators have voted in numerous provisions over the last five years that help to protect homeowner’s interest.

Some of these new or improved provisions include the creation of a mandatory policy checklist to be completed by insurance agents, which details what is covered under a policy. Additionally, insurance companies are now required to pay homeowners up front for the full replacement cost, and not just the lower cash value on home repairs. Homeowners have also benefitted from an expedited claims process, which forces the insurer to respond to a claim or begin communication with an insured customer within 14 days of a disaster.

Other noted provisions have also been welcomed with open arms by Floridians, including the requirement for all Florida insurers to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of rates and policies. This provision alone has made insurance policy shopping a much easier and streamlined process for Florida residents. Additionally, any request for rate hikes of over 15 percent must now be publicized and a public hearing held so interested parties can voice and state their opinions.

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