PolitiFact FL: Trump is right. Florida has the highest home insurance rate in the US
Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills that could lead to lower premiums in the future. For now, Florida homeowners face the highest insurance bills.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is striving to make the U.S. like Florida, but there’s one costly way Americans may not want to mimic the Sunshine State: the cost of homeowners insurance.
Former President Donald Trump, the early front-runner in the Republican presidential primary fight, suggested DeSantis should spend less time campaigning and more time lowering homeowners’ insurance bills.
"We want him to get home and take care of insurance, because you have the highest insurance in the nation," Trump said at the Turning Point Action conference, a Republican gathering in West Palm Beach.
Trump was referring to homeowners insurance. Days earlier, Farmers Insurance said it will no longer offer insurance plans in Florida.
Trump is correct that Florida has the nation’s costliest highest homeowners insurance.
The market has been fraught for decades.
DeSantis "inherited already high homeowners insurance, and he inherited a market that has been fragile since Hurricane Andrew" in 1992, said Charles Nyce, a risk management and insurance professor at Florida State University. (Nyce was part of a group of Florida State professors that was hired by Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state insurer, to write a 2020 report about strategies to halt Citizens’ growth.)
DeSantis has signed multiple bills that could lead to lower premiums in the future. For now, homeowners face the highest insurance bills.
Florida has the highest homeowners insurance
The industry-funded Insurance Information Institute found that Floridians pay the highest average home insurance premium at $6,000 a year for 2023, Mark Friedlander, an institute spokesperson, told PolitiFact. That amount is 42% higher than 2022.
The average annual amount in Florida well exceeds the average annual U.S. home insurance premium of $1,700, which is up 11% from 2022. This is the amount for a full coverage home insurance policy, which includes hurricane windstorm damage but not flood protection.
Insurify, a national insurance agency, found that Florida homeowners paid an average annual premium of $7,788 in 2022, making it the country’s most expensive state for home insurance.
Following Florida, Insurify found Oklahoma ($6,853) and Louisiana ($5,353) are the second- and third- most expensive states for homeowners insurance.
Hallandale Beach, a city in South Florida, topped Insurify’s list of the top 10 most expensive cities for homeowners insurance. Three other South Florida cities followed: Hialeah, Miami, and Lake Worth.
New laws haven’t curtailed growing costs
Florida’s insurance woes didn’t happen overnight (or after DeSantis took office in 2019). The state is still feeling the brunt of hurricanes and actions that took place more than 15 years ago.
Eight hurricanes hit Florida from 2004 to 2005, leaving homeowners on the hook for higher insurance premiums. Many homeowners saw premiums more than double or triple following two years of hurricanes, the Naples Daily News reported.
In 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a law that froze rates for Citizens, often called the insurer of last resort, and loosened requirements to qualify. The number of policies under Citizens ballooned, and several private companies either stopped writing new policies or left the market over the next two decades.
DeSantis signed several bills, mostly in 2022 and 2023, that aim to reduce litigation or fraud, a driver of rising insurance premiums.
For the past three years, an average of more than 100,000 lawsuits were filed against Florida property insurers, comprising nearly 80% of all U.S. litigation against property insurers, Friedlander said. Florida accounts for an average of 9% of U.S. property claims per year.
The laws that passed under DeSantis limited attorneys fees and prevented contractors from soliciting homeowners to file insurance claims. Other bills made it harder for property owners to sue insurers and gave state regulators new power to investigate insurers.
One of the 2022 measures required Florida homeowners who had Citizens to switch to private insurers if the bill was less than 20% higher, forcing some policyholders to pay higher bills. The bill also took steps to force homeowners to purchase flood insurance over five years, another added cost.
Citizens, which is on target to have about 1.7 million policies by the end of the year, in July asked the state for permission to raise rates by up to 13%.
Industry experts say the legislation should lead to lower homeowners insurance prices in the long term, but by how much and when remains to be seen.
"We can’t predict when we will see a stable market and better pricing for consumers," Friedlander said.
Nyce told PolitiFact he is hopeful that the new laws will fix fraud, "and then all we have to worry about is storms." Rates could come down in a year or 18 months, he said.
Other factors for rising homeowners insurance costs include inflation, supply chain woes and climate change, according to insight from industry experts compiled by Insurify. (Supply chain snags limit availability of homebuilding materials including lumber, roofing, piping and drywall.)
"It is costing more and taking longer to repair your home, increasing the average cost per claim and ultimately the cost of homeowners insurance for everyone," said Colleen Finn, managing director of home product management at Plymouth Rock Home Assurance, according to Insurify.
Premium increases in states disproportionately affected by climate change-related catastrophes, including hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires, have risen at rates far higher than the national average, Jennifer Grigas Richman, a spokesperson for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a data and analytics company, told PolitiFact.
"Climate-related disasters are pushing up insurance rates and impacting coverage decisions in states where Americans are moving to in growing numbers," Richman said.
Trump said that Florida has "the highest" homeowners insurance in the nation.
Multiple rankings by industry-related groups back this up.
It will take time to see whether several laws signed by DeSantis can bring down costs. Some measures were designed to reduce litigation, a driver of rising premiums. However, Florida will likely always remain one of the higher states in the nation for insurance because of hurricanes.
We rate this statement True.
- C-SPAN, Donald Trump Delivers Remarks at Turning Point Action Conference, July 15, 2023
- Insurance Information Institute, Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance, 2017-2021
- Insurify, Home Insurance Prices to Increase 9% in 2023, April 4, 2023
- Citizens, Final report by FSU professors, 2020
- Tampa Bay Times, Why Florida's new insurance commissioner is optimistic about rates; Mike Yaworsky is the new head of the Office of Insurance Regulation. June 20, 2023
- Tampa Bay Times, Ways that DeSantis' government approach changed Florida; "This whole business we are in is about producing results," DeSantis said during a campaign rollout event. May 31, 2023
- Miami Herald, Florida’s home insurance rates rising faster than any state, nearly triple U.S. average, June 7, 2023
- Tampa Bay Times, Florida's property insurance revamped by lawmakers, April 29, 2021
- News Service of Florida, Ron DeSantis gives insurers major victory in long battle, May 24, 2019
- Pensacola News Journal, Florida home insurance crisis: Floridians brace for yet another rate increase. Here's why. April 19, 2023
- Pensacola News Journal, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs home insurance fix — certain to raise costs for many, Dec. 16, 2022
- Florida Senate, CS/CS/HB 7065: Insurance Assignment Agreements, 2019
- Florida Senate, CS/CS/CS/SB 76: Insurance, 2021
- Florida Senate, SB 2-A: Property Insurance, 2022
- Florida Senate, CS/CS/HB 837: Civil Remedies, 2023
- Florida Senate, CS/SB 7052: Insurer Accountability, 2023
- Gov. Ron DeSantis, Press release about insurance reforms, May 20, 2022
- Bankrate, Average homeowners insurance cost in July 2023, July 14, 2023
- CNN, Florida’s homeowner insurance rates are four times the national average. That’s not getting better anytime soon, June 1, 2023
- News Service of Florida, Farmers Insurance exits Florida, forcing customers to find coverage elsewhere, July 11, 2023
- Pensacola News Journal, Citizens Insurance seeks 13% rate hike as Florida reinsurance renewals see 30%+ increase, July 13, 2023
- Trump campaign, Statement to PolitiFact, July 17, 2023
- Email interview, Mark Friedlander, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, July 17, 2023
- Email interview, Deena Snell, director of research operations and membership, Insurance Information Institute, July 17, 2023
- Email, Jeremy T. Redfern, Gov. Ron DeSantis spokesperson, July 17, 2023
- Telephone interview, Charles Nyce, a professor of risk management and insurance at Florida State University, July 17, 2023
- Email interview, Jennifer Grigas Richman, a spokesperson for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, July 17, 2023
- Email interview, Tanveen Vorha, spokesperson for Insurify, July 17, 2023
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