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Some Florida homeowners shocked over premium hikes, but changing could leave you worse off

It’s sticker shock for Florida homeowners as some carriers are hiking insurance more than 15%.

MORE: Homeowner’s insurance rates on the rise in Florida

But changing carriers could leave you worse off.

Premiums this year versus last year

More time at home means more time spent budgeting for Paulina Venegas. “That’s all we’re doing is watching and budgeting.”

Venegas stopped working as a certified nursing assistant to keep her husband safe. She says if he contracts COVID-19, he would have a low very chance for survival.

But living off of one income proves tough to handle, especially after their homeowner’s insurance bill came in.

“This year it just hit $600 more which we both flipped,” Venegas said.

The proposed price, almost $1,900. Last year’s rate was nearly $1,300, and she said they have never had a claim.

Carrier criteria tightening

While shopping around is important, be wary of switching just to save says Debbie Dellinger-Crep, owner Brightway Insurance, The Dellinger-Crep Agency. She explained, “Some companies are now doing interior and exterior inspections.”

During these inspections, Dellinger-Crep says inspectors will pick your home apart, “They want a premier home where they are pretty sure they’re not going to have any issues or claims.”

If you have a shingle roof older than ten years or an older home, carriers might not want you.

“Older homes, believe it or not, we have a couple of carriers, where [homes built in] 2010 or older they don’t want,” Dellinger-Crep added, “A lot of times you’re better off just biting the bullet, staying where you’re at, and being grateful until you’re ready to make those changes on the roof.”

Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute says under Florida law, insurers have 90 days after you sign to make sure what you put down is accurate. If they come out and see something, they don’t like they can cancel you, refund your payment, and leave you uninsured.

Friedlander adds that if an insurance company inspects a home more than 90 days after issuing a new policy, state law prevents them from canceling the policy if they find an unacceptable risk.

After 90 days, an insurer in Florida can cancel a property policy for only one of three reasons:

  • Homeowner misrepresented facts in their application
  • Homeowner failed to adhere to guidelines established in the first 90 days – such as failing to make a repair ordered after an initial inspection
  • Substantial change to the risk

Checking your roof age

Venegas said they found a company that will cover their home for a little less than her current company’s proposed price. And so far, no inspection requirement.

Still, she waits, knowing her roof is in the red zone at 15 years old.

If you don’t know how old your roof or home is, you can look it up on the county or city’s permitting website.

If your home is a couple of decades old, even historic, it could require a record request with your local permitting office.

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Reporter:Allison Gormly
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