Here we go again
Florida homeowners get hit in the wallet again.
All Floridians who pay homeowner insurance premiums will have a one-time charge added to help cover Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s $1.7 billion deficit in 2005, officials with the state-backed home insurer decided Thursday.So its a double whammy for people. Their insurance goes up and they get hit for a surcharge on top of it. If not for mortgage requirements, many Floridians may be better off to not even carry homeowner's insurance. It is risky, but if you're not in a low lying area perhaps worth it.
The Citizens board will meet next month to consider another extra charge for all of the state's homeowners to shore up the corporation. Citizens is the state's home insurer of last resort and now its biggest property insurer.
The extra cost, approved Thursday, will be $20.70 for every $1,000 of annual premium paid and will be in addition to the insurance price increases that consumers already are paying to insure their homes. It's the second time in two years that all of the state's home insurance policy holders are being forced to bail out Citizens, which has been drained by hurricane-related claims.
The timing of the extra levy adds to the financial burden many Floridians already have because all of the state's major insurers have moved to raise premiums after the two recent storm seasons. Some State Farm Florida Insurance Co. customers are bracing for two double-digit rate hikes this year.
Here's what happened: State Farm Florida's 2005 rate increase was approved in November 2005, but took effect Feb. 1 of this year. The company's 2006 increase was approved in July, and takes effect Nov. 1. So customers whose policies are renewed between Nov. 1 this year and Feb. 1, 2007 will pay the 2005 and 2006 increases on the same bill.
"This is really horrendous," said Laura Feldman, a State Farm Florida customer in Pembroke Pines whose premium will increase from roughly $1,500 to more than $5,000 a year.
Living in Florida continues to get more expensive. Any politician who promise answers to the insurance crisis are full of it, for companies don't have to do business in risky areas and if they do, they charge accordingly. Combine the continued rise in insurance rates with the recent real estate boom, Florida's middle class is now in a crisis. TFM sees no easy answers.
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