Monday, April 22

Higher insurance costs force homeowners to look for options

Facing skyrocketing increases in homeowners insurance, some residents in Florida are finding options to try and save money.”The whole process was straightforward, all electronic,” said Jennifer Estevez of Port St. Lucie, who had her insurance agent shop around after getting hit with a rate increase of close to $1,000 a year.As policies come up for renewals many homeowners are seeing rate increases on their policies.”We’re seeing rate increases anywhere from 20 percent to the premiums doubling 100 percent,” said Lee Wiglesworth of the Wiglesworth-Rindom Insurance Agency in Stuart.Experts said the increases are the result of mounting costs to insurance companies over litigation and fraud in Florida.Estevez eventually found a new policy at nearly the same rate she was paying before the rate increase.”If you don’t like the amount for your renewal call your agent and ask for new quotes,” Estevez said.Wiglesworth says finding lower-cost premiums is easier along the Treasure Coast than in Palm Beach County, but there are other ways to save.”A lot of people when they get a policy and a mortgage, they never looked at it. There’s a lot of stuff not required by your lender, and now these rates are so high we kind of go through those line-by-line educating the customer on what the coverages are, and sometimes they have to remove it because they can’t afford it,” Wiglesworth said.
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