Not only renters suffer from affordable housing in Florida.
Tonight, 7’s Patrick Fraser continues our living nightmare stories and takes a look at how rising insurance premiums could be forcing people to leave their homes.
Julie and her husband live in Miami but have built a house that looks like their favorite spot.
Julie Colon: “It’s our main sanctuary. My husband and I love the Keys.”
A year and a half ago, Marlis Cintra and her family bought their first-ever home in Hollywood.
Marlis Cintra: “When I first came here, I thought, ‘This is my house. This is where I want to live.’”
Laura Newton has been a homeowner in Plantation for 21 years.
Laura Newton: “Remodeling in the house. I redid the kitchen, I redid the living room, all the floors. I put a lot of money into that. It’s my safe haven when I get home from work.”
Three families are living the so-called American Dream, but the dreamers didn’t plan an insurance nightmare.
Laura Newton: “I got the bill in the mail and it was $17,400.”
Julie’s bill only went up a thousand dollars. But she’s retired, on a very tight budget, and a thousand is too many.
Julie Colon: “I can’t pay this money. I can not afford it. My mortgage has gone up every year due to property insurance going off.”
Marlis’ insurance went up another $7,200. To afford it, she had to sell her car and ask her teenage son to get a job.
Marlis Cintra: “He’s 17 and I was like, ‘Hey, the mortgage is taken out, you have to start working to help us.'”
The solution now? There is no.
The Florida Legislature passed legislation to help, but that won’t take effect for a year or two, and homeowners need help now.
Chris Frimes/Fitch Ratings: “There are certainly challenges facing the Florida insurance market.”
Fitch Ratings tracks insurance markets across the country. They say the cause of rising rates in Florida is clear.
Thousands of lawsuits filed against insurance companies after they refused to pay storm damage claims.
Now add false claims and insurance fraud.
As a result, many insurance companies went out of business.
And with fewer companies insuring homes in Florida, reinsurance costs have soared. This is the insurance that insurance companies buy to cover their losses.
It is a perfect storm of problems that is causing the current crisis.
Alex Ray/ John Galt Insurance: “This is the future. You know, who can afford a few thousand dollars more a month? It’s just, you know, unrealistic.”
Terrible news for homeowners who just can’t afford the insurance and may have to sell it.
Marlis Cintra: “I talk to people and everyone says, ‘This is too much with insurance. It’s just too much.’”
It’s too much and makes a lot of people think like Laura.
Laura Newton: “I’ve often thought about selling and moving to North Carolina. I’m definitely not going to retire here, but I’ll probably spend a few more years here.”
The Living Nightmare.
She loves her house, but like so many South Floridans, she can’t afford the insurance for it.
Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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