Potential rate hike in homeowner's insurance

By Ashley Glass - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - If you own a home, be prepared to cough up a lot more money for your homeowner's insurance.

Many of the top companies in the state are asking for rate increases; even though, we haven't had a major storm in Florida in years.

Cathy Jerkins is right in the middle of home renovations. "We've worked for 20 years saving enough for the upgrades and to keep up with a good life."

Like millions of other Floridians, Jerkins could soon be jerked around by her insurance company. Seven of Florida's top insurers are asking the Office of Insurance Regulation for the "all clear" to raise rates.

Jerkins taking a one-two punch. She has State Farm for homeowner's insurance which is pulling out of Florida, and the state created "Citizens" for wind coverage which is one of the companies wanting to raise rates. "We have to have insurance living on the water," said Jerkins.

A spokesperson for the Office of Insurance Regulation points out most of the rate hike requests are for around 15 percent, but some are much more.

If the Citizens request goes through, people living on the coast could see rates go up by 80 percent. "Unbelievable, [it] just makes me sick to my stomach."

Citizens says the hike is needed in Florida's because they aren't collecting enough in premiums to cover the risk they carry.

Other companies are citing higher costs of reinsurance which is backup coverage that pays for catastrophic claims like a hurricane.

Jerkins says she would have never sunk money into upgrades if she'd know her insurance could go way up. "We love it here; we don't want to move."

It's a thought that never entered Jerkin's mind until now.

The Office of Insurance Regulation has to approve any rate hike proposals and holds public hearings if the request is at least 15 percent. For instance, a public hearing is set about "Citizens Insurance" on October 20. To see a list of those hearings, go to the OIR's Web site.