WINTER PARK, Florida – A Winter Park woman claims her homeowner’s insurance company asked for thousands of dollars in repairs and then canceled her coverage because her home was too old. Action 9 revealed that many homeowners could face the same ultimatums.
“Why, why are they doing this to us?” Anne Mercado said she felt blind from her homeowner’s insurance policy.
After paying for a year, it was canceled unless her house passed a rigorous test.
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“You take the money, insure me, and then make claims,” said Mercado.
Mercado said their insurer was demanding significant improvements or their policy would be canceled.
“You installed a new water heater?” Todd Ulrich asked.
“Yes, I passed every single test,” Mercado replied.
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Mercado claims they documented all repairs, including rewiring the house and a new roof. But then their insurer United Property and Casualty canceled their policy anyway because of the year of construction.
“You won’t insure me because my house is too old? Why? ”Mercado said.
Insurance experts say it’s the new reality in Florida. Many companies are now calling for repairs or not insuring older homes.
The industry blames massive losses for the change that has forced it to limit its risks and only insure safer properties.
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“Florida insurance companies are losing their shirts,” said Barry Gilway, CEO of Citizens Insurance.
Citizens’ insurance is the state’s last insurer
Gilway told Ulrich; Florida insurance companies have suffered half a billion dollars in losses since 2019. He said these losses were due to rising reinsurance rates due to hurricane damage and high legal costs for repairs to water damage. Gilway says this is forcing many companies to withhold policy from households that would have been covered.
“You’re losing money on older homes, so any home built before 1994 is less of a risk than a newer home,” Gilway said.
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So homeowners can expect repair requests and older home denials.
United Property and Casualty did not respond to Ulrich’s questions about Mercado’s refusal.
She eventually found a new insurer who took out a new policy with a higher premium for less coverage.
“I hope I can survive another 10 years without going through this again,” said Mercado.
The record losses in the insurance industry will push homeowner premiums even higher next year. Homeowners can expect an increase of at least 15% and an increase of 25% to 35% may not be an option.