For nearly 16 years, Linda Marshall has loved living in her Deerfield Beach home. It’s a place full of memories with her late husband.
“At my age, we live on memories,” she said.
That’s why Marshall wants to live there for the rest of his life.
“I want them to get me out of here,” she said. “We have created an environment that we absolutely love.”
But Marshall told NBC 6 his future there is uncertain due to rising property insurance premiums.
This year, she is paying about $1,300 more for a policy with a higher deductible. She pays her annual insurance in installments.
She didn’t have enough money to cover the first payment of the new higher premium and says she borrowed it instead.
Marshall is on a fixed income, so she also has to make tough decisions.
“I have asthma,” she said. “I can’t afford to buy my medicine.
She says she also limits the social activities she once enjoyed.
“I don’t go out,” she said. “I don’t fix things.”
Victoria Solomon has been a 911 dispatcher in Miami-Dade County for over 25 years. His home insurance premium jumped about $1,300 this year.
“What I feel is exploited,” said Solomon, who lives in Miramar. “What I do know is that it’s unfair.”
She said her premium had been steadily increasing for years.
“It wasn’t as big as they are now, maybe $300, $400,” she said. “Now they’re going up $1,000 a year.”
Solomon says the trend is troubling.
“The first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Am I going to be able to afford my house?’ I didn’t buy it to lose,” she said. “I bought it to keep.”
Solomon tried to shop around for a lower premium.
“And the hoops they want you to go through to get a quote was absurd,” she said.
Solomon hoped to retire in five years, but said the rising cost of protecting her home could make it difficult.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m still working right now,” she said. “I don’t know what the future holds and my income is decent enough that I can afford it, but if I go on a fixed income I don’t know what it would be like.”
According to the Insurance Information Institute, property insurance premiums in Florida are expected to jump 30-40% on average in 2022, and many will likely see renewal increases well over 50%.
Consumers also face reduced options.
So far this year, two companies have gone insolvent, leaving tens of thousands of homeowners scrambling to find new cover weeks before hurricane season begins.
“If we see significant hurricane activity during the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, that will put significant pressure on Florida insurers,” said Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute. “As a result, we could see more insurers going insolvent.”
Lawmakers are expected to hold a special session later this month to address challenges in Florida’s property insurance market after failing to address the issue in the regular session.
“I think there’s going to be some tough love measures,” said State Senator Jason Pizzo, who represents District 38. “I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure from influences whether it’s insurance companies and agents, whether it’s litigators, all of whom have a valid claim, I honestly believe, against the other side.
“If everyone comes out a little unhappy, it probably means we’ve done something,” he added.
If new legislation is passed in the special session, Friedlander said it could take time to have any real impact.
“It’s not an immediate solution,” Friedlander said. “The way the market works is that it usually takes at least 18 to 24 months to see the results of change.”
This provides little comfort for homeowners like Linda, who worries about how she will pay the rest of her premium this year.
“I just want peace in my life,” she said. “I mean, I’m old but I’m happy.”
She said the stress of her home insurance premium threatened that peace.
“I’ve already had two strokes and I don’t want them anymore,” she says. “I won’t let them kill me. I want to fight them, but I don’t know who to fight.