Depending on who you ask, and where you are in Florida, "it’s the insurance companies, it’s the laws, it’s the roofers, it’s the attorneys..." or is it a combination of all of the above to blame for the high cost of homeowners insurance? Oddly absent from the list above is hurricanes. Florida’s high insurance rates have long been blamed on hurricane activity, but now other issues are getting attention when looking at the home insurance crisis in Florida.
Ask any insurance agent and they’ll tell you roofers offering “free roofs”, taking control away from the homeowner. Everywhere in Florida has had a hailstorm at some point, but from Orlando across to Tampa, and north get more than you’d think. So often roofers can watch weather apps, find hailstorms, and target neighborhoods the next day. It’s not just that they do this, but often have homeowner sign an assignment of benefits form that upset many in the insurance world.
An assignment of Benefits form, or an “AOB” as it’s referred to by many insurance companies basically takes all rights away from the homeowner and gives them to the roofing company to act on their behalf. This way to often locks the homeowner into a contract they didn’t want. The homeowner and the insurance company are now at the mercy of the roofing company in different ways. Even if the insurance company doesn’t pay, the homeowner is still on the hook for any price the roofing company wants to charge. To the insurance companies, roofers often know, or work with attorneys that can inflate the claim payout from $12,000 to $120,000, by charging excessive fees. Even with that increase in payout, the homeowner still only get gets the benefit of the $12,000 new roof, while the roofers and attorneys get the windfall.
In Florida, there’s little limitation to what an attorney can charge for services in relation to settlement. This often leads to a huge insurance claim payout compared to what the homeowner receives for the roof.
This practice used to be concentrated in large Northern cities like Orlando and Tampa has now spread outward to the beaches, and rapidly growing areas such as Ocala, The Villages, Spring Hill, and Brooksville. The more word gets out, the more this spreads, and the more huge payouts each insurance company has to make. This effects all homeowners across Florida as insurance companies are forced to raise rates for everyone access the state.
The best way to secure the best home insurance rates is to use an independent agent that can shop the market, and let the companies compete for your business. This way no matter how bad it gets, or things change as time goes on, your only a phone call away from shopping the market.