WASHINGTON — Florida's property insurance market was in crisis even before Hurricane Ian. But now, with some reports estimating tens-of-billions-of dollars in losses from the storm, experts say the situation could become more dire.
What You Need To Know
- Data show that Floridians are already paying the highest average home insurance premiums in the country
- Flood insurance is required in many of the state's coastal communities, but often not in inland areas
- While the majority of Florida property owners have homeowners insurance, experts say that's not the case with flood insurance
The property data company CoreLogic estimates insured losses from Hurricane Ian’s wind and storm surge will total between $28 and $47 billion. Prior to the storm a number of insurers had gone into bankruptcy, and experts say hurricane damage adds another challenge.
“It’s a financial burden for insurers as they try to fulfill their promise to the policyholders to put you back into your home," said CoreLogic associate vice president of hazard and risk management Tom Larsen. "... Your insurance policy will be paid out, but your carrier may not be able to keep going after they rebuild your home.”
According to Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute, Floridians are already paying the highest average home insurance premiums in the country — more than $4,200 a year, a cost that has been steadily increasing.
Besides being a state prone to hurricanes and other severe weather, information from the institute shows that Florida accounts for nearly 80% of homeowners insurance lawsuits in the country.
“Nothing has been done to disincentivize the mass volume of property claim lawsuits being filed in Florida, and because of loopholes and regulations and other laws on the books, it is much easier to file these types of lawsuits in Florida than other states,” Friedlander said.
While most Florida property owners have homeowners insurance, experts say that’s not the case with flood insurance.
Flood insurance is required in many of the state's coastal communities, but often not in inland areas.
And, Friedlander says FEMA disaster funding may not account for all losses.
“If you’ve lost your home — if your home has been destroyed or severely damaged — $10,000 is not going to help you rebuild," he said. "That’s the sad part, and that’s why we always stress flood insurance for Florida homeowners is so important for financial protection."
Friedlander said that in Central Florida counties, on average, less than 5% of homeowners have flood coverage.