TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An unusual situation has led to a startling increase in property insurance in a Tampa Bay community.
A group of Tampa Bay-area homeowners told 8 On Your Side they had to pay more for property insurance — nearly 10 times more.
We’ve seen dramatic bounty spikes before, but never like this. So why is this happening and what can you learn from it?
Investigator Mahsa Saeidi continues her in-depth coverage of Florida’s property insurance crisis.
These people live in a condominium. 8 On Your Side learned that they had done something that would make them undesirable to insurance companies in a normal, healthy market.
In this market, the fallout is severe. It is a gated golf course community in Lakewood Ranch. There are four units in each building. It’s a quaint lifestyle that suddenly comes with an alarming price tag.
“You know, I just can’t believe this is happening to us,” said Richard Falco.
Inside a unit on Tuesday, neighbors grappled with an unexpected spike in home insurance.
“Insurance companies talk to insurance companies, and that’s why no one else will insure us,” Carol Cameron said.
Each co-owner must pay for two policies. The individual policy, which covers the unit, and the main HOA policy, which covers common areas.
Main politics is the problem. The premium soared by nearly 1,000%.
A total of 56 owners of condominium units paid approximately $56,000 per year. Now it’s over half a million dollars. Falco is one of more than 50 owners affected.
“I can’t afford it. I’m a retired teacher on a budget,” Falco said. “I have to figure out what is $890 a month to pay for this insurance that there is absolutely no coverage.”
Why does this happen?
8 On Your Side got the insurance quote prepared for the condo. This shows that the condo insurance broker has reached out to carriers across the state.
They declined, declined, declined.
Citizens, Heritage and others noted an ongoing lawsuit for construction defect. In court, neighbors claimed that some buildings had a defect.
Several brokers tell 8 On Your Side that this causes problems for insurers. In a normal market, you would struggle to get a good deal. Now it’s almost impossible.
Only one company would take the risk: Lloyd’s of London. The carrier is known for adopting policies that others reject.
Carol Cameron, who recently bought her house, feels caught off guard.
“We had no idea about any of this until a week ago,” Cameron said. “Most of us won’t have insurance.”
“If a big storm comes in and hits everyone?” asked investigator Mahsa Saeidi.
“Yeah, we’re going to be done with it,” Cameron said.
The policy only covers up to $2.5 million in damage per hurricane. It is supposed to cover 56 units. This is another reason residents are unhappy.
Here’s the bottom line: Florida’s insurance market is always tough.
Industry experts say that if you officially declare that there is a problem with the constitution of court documents, for example, you will have difficulty obtaining affordable coverage.
8 On Your Side contacted the builder for more information about the alleged construction issues. We are awaiting an official response.
Investigator Mahsa Saeidi will stay on this issue. If you have any advice or feedback for Mahsa, email [email protected]