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WLRN has partnered with PolitiFact to fact-check Florida politicians. The Pulitzer Prize-winning team seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases.

PolitiFact FL: Trump is right. Florida has highest home insurance rate in the U.S.

Rescue personnel search for people who may need help.
Gerald Herbert
Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is striving to make the U.S. like Florida, but there’s one costly way Americans may not want to mimic the Sunshine State: the cost of homeowners insurance.

Former President Donald Trump, the early front-runner in the Republican presidential primary fight, suggested DeSantis should spend less time campaigning and more time lowering homeowners’ insurance bills.

"We want him to get home and take care of insurance, because you have the highest insurance in the nation," Trump said at the Turning Point Action conference, a Republican gathering in West Palm Beach.

Trump was referring to homeowners insurance. Days earlier, Farmers Insurance said it will no longer offer insurance plans in Florida.

The Trump campaign pointed to news articles showing that Florida has rising homeowners insurance costs and far above the national average.

Trump is correct that Florida has the nation’s costliest highest homeowners insurance.

The market has been fraught for decades.

DeSantis "inherited already high homeowners insurance, and he inherited a market that has been fragile since Hurricane Andrew" in 1992, said Charles Nyce, a risk management and insurance professor at Florida State University. (Nyce was part of a group of Florida State professors that was hired by Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state insurer, to write a 2020 report about strategies to halt Citizens’ growth.)

DeSantis has signed multiple bills that could lead to lower premiums in the future. For now, homeowners face the highest insurance bills.

Florida has the highest homeowners insurance

The industry-funded Insurance Information Institute found that Floridians pay the highest average home insurance premium at $6,000 a year for 2023, Mark Friedlander, an institute spokesperson, told PolitiFact. That amount is 42% higher than 2022.

The average annual amount in Florida well exceeds the average annual U.S. home insurance premium of $1,700, which is up 11% from 2022. This is the amount for a full coverage home insurance policy, which includes hurricane windstorm damage but not flood protection.

Insurify, a national insurance agency, found that Florida homeowners paid an average annual premium of $7,788 in 2022, making it the country’s most expensive state for home insurance.

Following Florida, Insurify found Oklahoma ($6,853) and Louisiana ($5,353) are the second- and third- most expensive states for homeowners insurance.

Hallandale Beach, a city in South Florida, topped Insurify’s list of the top 10 most expensive cities for homeowners insurance. Three other South Florida cities followed: Hialeah, Miami, and Lake Worth.

New laws haven’t curtailed growing costs

Florida’s insurance woes didn’t happen overnight (or after DeSantis took office in 2019). The state is still feeling the brunt of hurricanes and actions that took place more than 15 years ago.

Eight hurricanes hit Florida from 2004 to 2005, leaving homeowners on the hook for higher insurance premiums. Many homeowners saw premiums more than double or triple following two years of hurricanes, the Naples Daily News reported.

In 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a law that froze rates for Citizens, often called the insurer of last resort, and loosened requirements to qualify. The number of policies under Citizens ballooned, and several private companies either stopped writing new policies or left the market over the next two decades.

DeSantis signed several bills, mostly in 2022 and 2023, that aim to reduce litigation or fraud, a driver of rising insurance premiums.

For the past three years, an average of more than 100,000 lawsuits were filed against Florida property insurers, comprising nearly 80% of all U.S. litigation against property insurers, Friedlander said. Florida accounts for an average of 9% of U.S. property claims per year.

The laws that passed under DeSantis limited attorneys feesand prevented contractorsfrom soliciting homeowners to file insurance claims. Other bills made it harder for property owners to sue insurers and gave state regulators new power to investigate insurers.

One of the 2022 measures required Florida homeowners who had Citizens to switch to private insurers if the bill was less than 20% higher, forcing some policyholders to pay higher bills. The bill also took steps to force homeowners to purchase flood insurance over five years, another added cost.

Citizens, which is on target to have about 1.7 million policies by the end of the year, in July asked the state for permission to raise rates by up to 13%.

Industry experts say the legislation should lead to lower homeowners insurance prices in the long term, but by how much and when remains to be seen.

"We can’t predict when we will see a stable market and better pricing for consumers," Friedlander said.

Nyce told PolitiFact he is hopeful that the new laws will fix fraud, "and then all we have to worry about is storms." Rates could come down in a year or 18 months, he said.

Other factors for rising homeowners insurance costs include inflation, supply chain woes and climate change, according to insight from industry experts compiled by Insurify. (Supply chain snags limit availability of homebuilding materials including lumber, roofing, piping and drywall.)

"It is costing more and taking longer to repair your home, increasing the average cost per claim and ultimately the cost of homeowners insurance for everyone," said Colleen Finn, managing director of home product management at Plymouth Rock Home Assurance, according to Insurify.

Premium increases in states disproportionately affected by climate change-related catastrophes, including hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires, have risen at rates far higher than the national average, Jennifer Grigas Richman, a spokesperson for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a data and analytics company, told PolitiFact.

"Climate-related disasters are pushing up insurance rates and impacting coverage decisions in states where Americans are moving to in growing numbers," Richman said.

Our ruling

Trump said that Florida has "the highest" homeowners insurance in the nation.

Multiple rankings by industry-related groups back this up.

It will take time to see whether several laws signed by DeSantis can bring down costs. Some measures were designed to reduce litigation, a driver of rising premiums. However, Florida will likely always remain one of the higher states in the nation for insurance because of hurricanes.

We rate this statement True.

Our Sources

Amy Sherman is a staff writer with PolitiFact based in South Florida. She was part of the team that launched PolitiFact Florida in 2010 and was part of the PolitiFact team during the 2016 election.
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