News for homeowners in Florida who wish to have insurance is rough. Insurance companies can’t do business in Florida, mostly because of the high cost of hurricane damage. The average Florida homeowner is paying $4,231 for their property insurance: nearly triple the national rate of $1,544. Homeowners in Florida pay the highest rates of any state in the US. Those rates are set to increase in June by an estimated 40%, on average.
The state of Florida has a taxpayer funded insurance system for those who cannot obtain homeowners’ insurance from a private carrier. This carrier is called Citizens’ Insurance. One in five Florida homes is insured by that fund, and that number will continue to climb as insurers leave the state. Things can’t continue on this path.
Insurance is nothing but a dilution of risk. That is, the risk of damage to homes is spread out among all of the people who have insurance policies, and the premiums of everyone are used to pay the damages of those who have losses. The problem with diluting risk in Florida is that oceanfront homes are worth 50 to 100 times as much as homes located further inland. For every insured oceanfront home that is lost, the premiums of as many as 150 inland homes are used paying for the damages. Pick any coastal city in Florida and look at the home costs. A single family home on the oceanfront that sells for less than $1,000 per square foot is a steal. In Miami, single family oceanfront homes START at $20 million each.
Couple that with the fact that the vast majority of hurricane damage is within two miles of the coast. Insurance companies can’t charge $100,000 a year for insurance premiums, so they spread that cost amongst every homeowner in Florida. This can’t continue because it is mathematically impossible for the situation to stay as it is. Currently, I pay 1.5% of the value of my house each year to insure it.
If the state of Florida wants to fix the insurance problem in the state, they need to divorce the risk pool of oceanfront homeowners from the rest of the state’s homeowners. If you want to build and live in a $10 million home on the beach, fine. But make your insurance premiums 5% of the home’s value, but stop raising my insurance to cover for your house.