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The High Price of Living in Paradise

Florida's 3 million AARP members—along with everyone else in the state—have been shocked by the rapid increase in hurricane property insurance rates since 2005.  In many cases, insurance costs have tripled or quadrupled.  Hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses have had their policies dropped as insurers scrambled to cut their potential losses in Florida.

Floridians 50+ —especially those living on fixed incomes—have faced real hardship as insurance rates skyrocketed.  Below are stories from Floridians who have experienced insurance horrors throughout the state:

We moved to Florida from NY.  Our insurance was $500 a year on an older home (1966).  We are on a fixed income and thought the house was reasonable, even though it wasn't in a great location.  After Ivan hit, we needed a new roof.  With our deductable, they would not cover the expense and it ended up costing us $4000.00 out of pocket to have our roof replaced.  Our insurance went up to $1,000.00 a year.  The next thing we knew we received a notice from our insurance agent that the insurer would not carry policies in Florida any longer and they had found a carrier for us.  Now it was up to $5,000.00 a year.  Not bad for disabled people on a fixed income.  We shopped around and found a carrier for $2,300.00, but with the housing market going up on appraisals and the insurance going up our house payment has doubled.  It eats most of what we make.
Brenda Nalepa, Pensacola, FL

I used to have coverage with Atlantic Preferred.  I paid about $3200.  When they went under I was transferred to Citizens and my premium went to $8300 in Oct. 2006.  I just received notice that this coming Oct. my premium will be over $13,000.  So much for rates being lowered in Florida!
Henry Katz, Boca Raton, FL

I've had Allstate for more than 30 years in one form or another.  Then I get a letter saying they will not be renewing my insurance because I have an older home and they are scaling back and not doing the older homes in the area.  I have never made a claim either.  Now I can't find coverage.
Virginia Breh, The Villages, FL

We've lived in Lady Lake for over 15 year's paying a reasonable amount for our Park Model.  Our insurance company (Safeway) sent us our annual bill and it tripled from paying $300.00 annually to $892.00 for the year.  We live in a Park Model as do several of our friends, and find it is increasingly harder each year to make ends meet on a fixed salary, and now to have to face the possibility of not having insurance on our small manufactured home because of the horrific increases.  Where do we turn at our age?  And, will we have to loose coverage at our age because of the increases?
Carolyn Tobias, Lady Lake, FL

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