Property insurance: Impending storm causing anxiety for homeowners

DANIA BEACH – First-time homeowner Cynthia Cleveland is a do-it-yourselfer because it helps save her money.

Especially when her home insurance rates keep rising on the house she bought in 2019.

Her premiums have increased even though she’s tried to fortify her house.

“I put it hurricane windows and didn’t see much of a reduction. The roof was new after Wilma I hope it withstands this storm.” She says

Cleveland has an eye on the Tropics and what may become a hurricane next week affecting Florida. She has windstorm and flood insurance and hopes she will be covered.

“If something happens, will insurance cover me and will I be able to recover if something happens?” she wonders.

It’s a valid concern with the tight insurance market.

In Florida right now, a clear sign of the crisis is the number of people who have been forced into Citizens, the insurer of last resort.

Citizens now has in excess of one million policies, a record.

At least five Florida insurance companies have gone under this year.

“Anytime there is a storm people get nervous. It’s a good time to see if you are protected,” says Carlos D. Cabrera, an attorney with Florida Advocates in Dania Beach, who specializes in property insurance claims.

Cabrera says if Florida takes a major hit like we did five years ago with Irma, it will put more of a strain on all the insurance companies operating in Florida.

“That’s bad news. It could mean less insurance companies and if you make a claim, it will affect your recovery most likely,” Cabrera says.

There is a backup. FIGA, the non-profit Florida Insurance Guarantee Association, will step in if an insurance company goes under.

However, Cabrera says they usually won’t cover 100 percent of a claim.

Cynthia Cleveland is ready as she can be for a storm and hopes her insurance company can weather it too.

“It’s a huge investment a lot of my money tied up in my home I’d be devastated if anything happened,” she said.

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