Tampa home insurance rates are skyrocketing

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – There’s a crisis looming over homeowners across Florida: Insurance rates are skyrocketing and policies are being dropped. So what is the state doing to protect you and your home?

Right now there are calls for a special session to tackle the problem that elected leaders failed to address in the 2022 legislative session.

The problem is so serious that six insurance companies have already abandoned the market in Florida this year. A Tampa Bay-area lawmaker said others may soon follow, and homeowners will pay the price.

“People open their reinsurance bills, their renewal bills, right now and see their rates have gone up sometimes 30 percent, sometimes 100 percent,” said State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. St. Petersburg, said.

Senator Brandes says his constituents and other homeowners across the state pay between 15 and 100 percent more for property insurance. The spike is largely due to litigation.

Last year in Florida, more than 100,000 lawsuits were filed against home insurance companies. The average in other states is a fraction of that, around 1,000 lawsuits.

So why does Florida have so much more litigation?

“It’s a combination of bad law, bad court cases and an overactive bar,” Sen. Brandes explained.

Senator Brandes says the problem is a group of lawyers and entrepreneurs.

They knock on doors and offer free roofs. Then they take control of the claims process, raise the price, and sue the insurance company.

Companies, which pay millions in legal fees, pass the cost on to landlords by raising rates.

“That’s one of the reasons so many insurance companies are pulling out of the state,” he said.

Senator Brandes says four property insurance bills have been introduced this session to address this crisis. Everyone has failed. So he’s asking Governor Ron DeSantis to force lawmakers back to Tallahassee to work on insurance reform.

“I think it’s imperative that the governor call a special session,” Sen. Brandes said.

Senator Brandes said the governor can use his power to veto budget issues to bring lawmakers to the table.

8 On Your Side contacted the governor’s staff late Friday afternoon to find out if he would. We did not receive a response by airtime.

“If I was advising the governor, I would say, ‘Listen if you don’t call a special session on this, you’re going to start owning some of these rate increases,'” Sen. Brandes said.

If your policy was dropped or your rates suddenly increased, please email Investigator Mahsa Saeidi at [email protected]

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