MIAMI – Insurance costs have skyrocketed across the state. As home values increase, it's becoming harder to get insurance from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance.
"Insurance is probably the biggest issue we see on the forefront in Florida and that's why we had a special session on property insurance this pass years," said State Rep. Chip LaMarca.
But, during that special session, lawmakers failed to address a major concern impacting thousands of homeowners being priced out of getting coverage by Citizens, which is a last resort for many property owners.
"This is actually an issue I tried to include in the bill last year, which is to actually raise the rebuilding cost for homes that are covered under Citizens. Right now, in Miami-Dade it's up to a million, Broward County is capped at $700,000," added Rep. LaMarca.
That means, if it costs more than $700,000 to replace your Broward home or $1 million for Miami-Dade and Monroe, you can't get coverage. Because of the cap, about 3,000 homeowners from across the state received non-renewal notices – most of them in the South Florida.
"In Miami-Dade, approximately 900 policies in the last years that has been priced out. In Broward County, we have a little over 600 policies, and we're seeing about 75 in Monroe," said Michael Peltier with Citizens Property Insurance.
He adds since state law set the caps of who they can cover, their hands are tied, leaving homeowner helpless and at the mercy of the market and inflation.
"What we've seen in the past year, year and a half or so, building material cost substantially increased the replacement cost of your home, so insurance policies, Citizens' policies, have to pay you if your home is completely distorted. So those prices are going up," added Peltier.
So just how much have prices gone up? Contractor Rashad Sharuk, with Sharuk Comsortium LCC, says building materials prices increased 20% from 2021 to 2022, and have risen 33% since the start of the pandemic.
"Obviously the cost of windows have gone up. The cost of aluminum have gone up, the fasteners that we've used, HVAC supply lines, pretty much everything," said Sharuk. "All of the petroleum base materials, especially some of the roof supplies that are oil base, some of the materials that we use that you don't know are petroleum base, obviously they correlate directly with the oil prices."
And as the cost of repairs and home insurance increase, officials worry more property owners will soon be priced out.
"This is probably the number one issue for homeowners, is to make sure they can afford to stay in their homes," said LaMarca.
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