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Legislators are working to address the property insurance crisis. What does this mean for Southwest Florida homeowners?

Posted at 5:23 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 05:31:20-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — As legislators work to deal with the property insurance crisis, homeowners are left feeling the effects of it.

Industry insiders say high insurance rates, coverage denials, and even scams are putting homeowners and companies in a bad spot.

"The price increase is starting to affect a lot of people," said Daniel Jackson, owner of Your Choice Insurance.

Those price increases start with you giving a roofer permission to file a new roof claim. In the industry, it's called Assignment of Benefits.

"You can't have all these claims just because it rains during the summer and a roofer came over to these people's house and told them that they can get a roof for free," Jackson explained.

If the company says no, contractors can sue, often forcing insurance companies to settle for more than the original claim. As more claims are filed — there's a ripple effect.

"A lot of these companies that are still around are stopping to insure single roofs after 10 years. And after 15 there’s really only a few companies that will even insure," Jackson said.

This causes homeowners to not have a policy or pay higher rates if they can find one, Jackson says.

"We're seeing the cost rise because a lot of insurance companies have left the state of Florida," he said.

At one point, there were 30 carriers in the state. Jackson says there are now 15 and only two will insure a roof more than 15-years-old.

When it comes to replacements and repairs, it depends on your coverage.

"If your roof is 10-years-old and they say it’s 20, they’re only going to pay for 50% of the roof at that point in time," Jackson said.

This would be because of the cash value of the roof and your coverage rather than the replacement value in today's market.

So what would the laws mean for you if they were passed?

The proposed legislation would block companies from denying coverage because of a roof's age if it's less than 15-years-old. Other proposed laws will make it harder for unethical claims to be filed.

In the meantime, Jackson says there are things you can do to help with insurance.

"Shopping around just to see if you have the best price and making sure that the coverage is correct for what you want," he said.

Also, know what your policy says. There's a lot of insurance lingo that can be confusing. When in doubt, do your research and ask questions.

The legislative session will wrap up on Friday.