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Florida homeowners pay highest property insurance premiums because state still owns #1 position for disasters
Guest Blog by James Lynch, FCAS MAAA
Chief Actuary and VP of Data and Information Services
Here’s a question we get every year: Why does Florida have the most expensive homeowners insurance in the nation? The answer is easy: It is the riskiest state to write homeowners insurance.
The average Florida homeowners policy cost $2,115 in 2013, according to a report released last week by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That’s highest in the land. Texas is No. 2 ($1,837), and Louisiana is No. 3 ($1,822). We have a ranking of the states at the Insurance Information Institute web site.
A recent blog post on assignment of benefits (AOB) pointed out two things: the rise in the number of water damage claims and the rise in the cost of repairs for that damage. Some insurers forewarned of this trend driving up claims costs, and now there is data to show the alarm bells bear heeding. An analysis of five years of water claims released today by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation turned the AOB alarms from anecdote to fact.
We feel safe in our cars, right? That might explain why people do very dumb things wrapped in that cocoon of metal, or else road rage wouldn’t exist. But natural disasters give no respect to vehicles. The worst place to be is in your car during a flood, tornado or hurricane.
Last week, I was in the Dallas area, assisting with the insurance industry response to the tornadoes that struck Garland and Rowlett, Texas. Of the 11 fatalities associated with the storm, eight of the victims were in their cars. It is very likely they did not have a clue that a tornado was approaching. It was dark, so they could not see the changes on the horizon. And, if they did not have the radio on or did not have a weather alert app, they were unaware of the approaching storm.
In Florida, we are accustomed to getting a five- to seven-days’ notice that a tropical storm is possible. But with tornadoes, there is only about 13 minutes of average warning time. Turning your smart phone into a warning system is super smart.
National Overeating Day (aka Thanksgiving) is coming up, and a road trip to the annual food fest is part of the plan for many people. Long-distance holiday travel on Thanksgiving Day increases by 54 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The anticipation of getting to the table may be half the fun. But what happens if your car breaks down along the way? Besides being late for dinner, you could wind up with a hefty towing bill if you didn’t plan ahead.
College campuses are coming to life this week as students launch the fall semester. Trailers, trucks and overloaded trunks are emptying into dorms, apartments and rental homes in every college town from coast to coast. Think college-bound students don’t own much stuff? Just ask the friends and family helping them haul it! College students typically own thousands of dollars of assets, and insurance protects it.