ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid Florida’s property insurance crisis, more Floridians are taking protecting their property into their own hands.
Some are doing away with property insurance and self-insuring.
The number of Floridians self-insuring their homes has increased over the last year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It is directly attributed to the high cost of insurance in Florida, according to industry analysts.
Over the last few years, 90-year-old Bronson Collins has watched the cost to insure his Apopka home steadily increase, but the latest rate hike gave him sticker shock.
“I can tell you that from 2022 to 2023 my insurance premiums doubled,” Collins told News 6.
It went from almost $2,500 a year to more than $5,000 a year.
“It’s just taking more money out of my retirement accounts,” Collins said.
Because of the rising cost, more Floridians are opting out of property insurance altogether.
Industry analysts estimate 15% of Florida homeowners are now self-insuring, which is double the national average of 7%, and up 2% from last year.
Mark Friedlander is with the Insurance Information Institute, a national association of insurers.
“We are clearly seeing an uptick in self-insurance,” Friedlander said. “One of the key reasons is the cost of insurance is going up so much in the state of Florida.”
Self-insuring means you don’t have an insurance policy to protect your property.
Instead, the theory is you save what you would pay in premiums in an investment account that you can access, and then you pay for any potential repairs out of pocket.
Tasha Carter is Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate and said she gets inquiries all the time from Floridians about self-insuring.
“It definitely puts those consumers at significant risk,” Carter told News 6. “I don’t recommend people self-insure. Most consumers just don’t have the available funds to be able to cover a catastrophic loss,” she said.
There is no law that requires you to have insurance but if you have a mortgage, mortgage companies do require insurance to protect their investment.
Only people who bought their houses outright or have paid off their mortgage have the option to self-insure.
Carter says there are ways to lower the cost of insurance.
Collins for example immediately went to see his agent and talked to them about taking some coverage away.
“We made some adjustments, and I was able to lower the premium by $700, but it is still more than doubled over last year’s premium,” Collins said.
Carter said you should ask insurers about all premium discounts.
Some insurers will offer discounts if you install a security system for example.
There are discounts for bundling policies like having your home and auto insurance with the same company.
There are discounts for mitigation features like hurricane-resistant windows.
You can increase your deductible. Typically, a higher deductible results in a lower premium.
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