homeowners insurance in Florida

arbisiSeptember 10, 2006

Our insurance will not be renewed in December so I am looking for Florida companies that are still writing new policies before I go through Citizens---if you live in Fl and still have insurance ;) please tell me who you are insured through. Thanks in advance.

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Good luck with that - we live in Pasco County - you can't get insurance there. I have an older cottage and couldn't afford the $3,000 + that Citizen's wanted for basic coverage on $100,000, so had to settle for a paltry lender's policy. Basically will pay my small mortgage if the house burns to the ground, nothing else. Insurance in Florida has reached a crisis point. That is why I sold my main home and bought one in NC - this cottage is cheap shelter until my hubby retires.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 6:29PM
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gypsyrose--Do you think it would be possible for me to get a lenders policy like you have and then get a Renters insurance policy in my adult son's name to cover contents or would that be sooo illegal?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 7:42AM
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We have friends that are in the process of having a new home built here in NE FL. They have told us that their insurance company only writes a certian number of policies each month in FL. They said they will be getting renters insurance until they can get the regular policy.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:03AM
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Have you checked with your state insurance commission? They should be able to tell you who is writing policies, what kind of prices you can expect, and which companies are more reputable. I live in a different state, but have found that when I've called our insurance commissioner, I've always gotten the answers I needed. And it saves a LOT of legwork to make one call rather than calling each insurance company.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:30AM
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Arbisi I know exactly where you are coming from. It IS a crisis here and one that hopefully will be eased by some governmental leadership, inventive solutions and a quiet hurricane season.

In the meantime, I don't have much to offer besides empathy. My mom lives in Pinellas and was dumped by Liberty Mutual last week. Did you get the same letter? She has called all over the place and it looks like Citizens is going to be the only option available to her when her policy is dropped in December. Her cost is going up from just over $1K to $3300/year.

If you are in a coastal county you are probably not going to find anything at this point, but definitely try calling a couple of different independent agents. If your family has a military connection you could try joining USAA, if you aren't a member, and get in with them. Costs are high and it is tough to get a policy, but once you do you're doing OK. We have USAA and I was grateful that the next hike is "only" going to be 40 percent. Since they are a member owned organization, their prices are more likely to be fair and based on their actual cost of reinsurance.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 12:10PM
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Sharon--yes we got our letter last week too. I am so worried about going through Citizens because there are two new insurance companies in our area that are snatching up all the citizens policies and tripling the rates. With citizens you don't get a chance to pick and chose--their rule is if a company offers you a policy you have to take it. (Citizens is basically an insurance coordinator that finds a policy for you)Citizens is aware of these two companies but say it is a loophole that they don't know how to fix right now.
Myfask--are you saying my idea might work or is just because they are in the building process they can get away with the Renters Insurance?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 5:53PM
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Is one of those two companies Florida Peninsula? Because we are part owners of a rental/vacation home and were taken off Citizens by Florida Peninsula late last year. Our renewal came last month and it was up from $2800 to over $5000 -- JUST FOR WIND COVERAGE. Hazard is another $950. I try not to b--tch and moan because while it is NOT what we anticipated when we bought this "investment" at least it is just an investment and not our primary home, and while it is very very painful we are swinging it, thanks to a decent rental season. But I couldn't help but wonder why our the house next door to our investment property (which is in the Panhandle) still is with Citizens and pays under $3K upon renewal this summer while we have no choice but to pay whatever Florida Peninsula tells us to.

Have you checked into the price of a lender's policy? I don't know but it may not be much cheaper than Citizens. Here's a horror story about a lender's policy that was in today's paper. It's commercial property but illustrates how out of control all of this is.

Here is a link that might be useful: When a premium jumps from $18K to $441K

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 9:57PM
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I think they said they have state farm now and that they have to go with the renters ins because of the "number of policies" that SF can write each month. I am not sure if it is because they are building. You might give them a call.

We have USAA and I love them, how can you not love a company that send you a check each December:). I called them when I started hearing about the insane increases and they assured me that we wouldn't see a hefty increase.I just got my renewal and it is $847 for the year, I think thats because we are up in NE FL.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 4:41AM
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Sharon--yes one of the companies is Florida Penninsula the other is Homewise there was a big article in the paper about them last week---your story is a prime example. That is why I want to stay away from Citizens. I think I will look into a lenders policy and contact State Farm about renters ins for the content ( we currently have state farm for car ins-great company--been with them since my first car many,many, many years ago).

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 7:30AM
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I will look for that article, thanks arbisi. I appreciate it.

As far as State Farm being a "great company" ... well, I can't share your opinion because as you know they are dropping homeowners left and right. Maybe they are great at making profits. As of Aug. 15, they decided to dump all homeowners within 5 miles of the coast. Previously they had dumped homeowners within 1 mile of the coast. Sorry, but that's just appalling. I will not give my business to State Farm or Allstate or Liberty Mutual or any company that decides to run and hide rather than work with the people of Florida.

My mom immediately canceled her auto and umbrella policies with Liberty Mutual, picking up another company right away, and felt a bit better. Good luck with your situation. I honestly think that Citizens is better than some. I don't think Florida Peninsula is taking any more applicants and by 2008, Citizens is required to be "actuarily sound," which means rates should have some basis in actual risk, not just a number thrown out randomly, which is what happens a lot.

Good luck!! Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 8:35AM
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The situation in Florida is certainly depressing - I think more and more people are just going to lose their homes because they can't get/afford insurance. In my case, I have an old VA loan, and when we were dropped by Capitol Preferred, Citizen's wanted us to make all kinds of expensive repairs to our older home, which we didn't have time/money to donot to metion their uber-high premium. So I told my lender I couldn't get ins. and they found us a lender policy (which was MUCH cheaper) but as I said it doesn't cover a lot. Interestingly enough, this company paid for a whole new roof on our house when it was damaged by hurricanes in 2004. I hope we don't get dropped because we can't afford anything else and could not sell this home to anyone without them facing the same situation. I also can't take out a 2nd mortgage, because the lender policy will not allow any changes to the policy. It's like all of us in Florida are being held hostage - it just isn't right.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Sharon-I guess I should rephrase that---State Farm is a great CAR INSURANCE co--unfortunately they lost their a** from claims caused by hurricanes just like all the other insurance companies did. Hopefully we will have a few mild seasons and everything can get back to normal. Many companies stopped writing new policies after Andrew and it gets worse every year. It just isn't fair that the companies can just drop us for no reason. My husband bought our house 20 years ago and had the same ins. co (Harbor Specialty) the whole time. The only claim ever filed was last year after Wilma and we received around $12,000 so you know we paid alot more than that to them over the 20 years--they still made money on us. We had gotten our cancellation notice last year before Wilma but got a reprieve because of Wilma damage and they had to renew another year. So I guess we got a little justice by getting the $12,000 out of them!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 8:58PM
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Sharon-I guess I should rephrase that---State Farm is a great CAR INSURANCE co

I'd argue that point, too. I was a SF customer for more than 20 years, watching as my premiums went up and up despite a lack of claims or tickets and a car that just got older and older. Finally I said, "Enough", got similar-to-slightly-better coverage for about one-third less, and dropped SF like a rock. Never got so much as a phone call from anyone there asking why a faithful 20-year customer left. SF may think they don't need anyone, but that will come home to roost someday.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 8:31AM
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Insurance coverage is difficult to come by here and is almost unaffordable. We were dropped by 2 companies and finally found coverage through Chubb. We're located in the same city Sharon lives in.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 1:32PM
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myfask: I also have USAA... Just got my notification "not a bill" Non hurricane premium: $317.01 Hurricane premium, Including FGCF (whatefer the heck that is) $495.62. Three years ago, my insurance was under $400 total. Now $812.65

I also have Citizens Ins. One house in Pasco county.. $2400. Mind you, these houses are across the street from each other, and the Citizens house is up on a hill!!

Insurance in Florida should be required to be on all sales pitches. Maybe if they do that, more people won't want to come to FL to the new communities that used to be ranches.

Why can't I water my lawn more than once a week? Water shorthags, according to my County Commissioners. Do these idiots think that the 15000 new houses they approve on the former ranches won't flush toilets or take showers??? DUH!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:32AM
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hi gina
give usaa a call. they are very helpful in explaining the charges, they will also take the time to review you policy to make sure you are properly covered and aren't carrying anything you don't need. I found out that the folks don't work on commission like a lot of agents do. so they won't try to sell you coverage you don't need.
we can only water 2 times a week up in jax. I have been in atlanta for the past week and they can only water 2 times also. i have seen new developments where they have signs in the front yards saying "this property is exempt from watering restriction" for 30 days. that is telling me that they are alot stricter in enforcing it up here


    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 7:48AM
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Can be whomever will be useful this page:

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Insurance Quotes

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:53PM
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