Saturday, April 13

South Florida residents dumbfounded by rising cost of home insurance

The cost of homeowners insurance in Florida is going through the roof. Residents who say they have never filed a claim are getting hit with huge rate hikes.Steve Eppley of Boynton Beach received quite a shock this month from his homeowner’s insurance provider.He was hit with a $1,000 hike in one year for a home he’s owned since 2006, and he has never filed a claim.”I calculated it to be a 52 percent increase,” Eppley said. “It’s not fair. What they’re doing isn’t fair.”What happened to Eppley isn’t uncommon. Homeowners insurance companies across the state of Florida are giving bad news to their customers with rate hikes between 20 to 50 percent.Tasha Carter, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, said as many as 90 companies operating in the state filed for rate hikes last year. Two primary reasons appear to be recent storm damage in the state and rising fraud.”The insurance industry has indicated the rate increases are necessary due to sustained losses as a result of excessive litigation and high litigation costs, unscrupulous contractors and contractor schemes,” Carter said.She said state lawmakers are looking at reforms as property owners like Eppley, a self-employed handyman, are getting stuck with these huge bills and few options.”I’m in the process of shopping around, but it’s very discouraging to hear they’re all going to do it,” Eppley said.

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