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Southwest Florida Real Estate

Help On The Way for Florida's Insurance Crisis
By Robert Lipply

Over the past few years rising homeowner’s insurance costs in Florida have been showing up in people’s mailboxes and frustrating many homeowners into unsuccessfully seeking lower premiums. Further, rising insurance costs have helped put a damper on the real estate market in Florida also. Worse yet some people are seriously thinking of selling their homes and moving back to the cold snowy north because they say they can’t afford the high premiums.

The state created insurer, Cititzens Property Insurance Corporation, has been the best option for homeowners who found themselves in need of a new policy. Citizens, considered the insurer of last resort, by law charges more than private insurers but has picked up hundreds of thousands of new policies becoming the second largest and soon to be the largest insurer in the state. But due to high hurricane claims in 2005, Citizens was seriously in the red. The Legislature bailed them out but some homeowners are being forced to pick up the difference through assessments to their policies. Additionally, the Legislature has responded by setting aside roughly $250 million in grants and rebates to help property homeowners fortify their homes.

Recently, even better news is on the home front. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the “Government Sponsored Enterprises” created by Congress to provide funding to mortgage lenders have made changes to the insurance requirements that many say will help lower premiums. These GSE’s are now allowing much higher deductibles which will in turn lower the premiums. Historically, they did not allow a deductible to be higher than $1000. But now in many cases they are allowing deductibles as high as $5000 depending on the value of the property.

Also, forecasters have downgraded their initial position of an active 2006 hurricane season for Florida and the Gulf Coast. This can only be good news for homeowners and their insurance rates. Last season was really unusual being the most active season on record. For example between 1995 and 2005, the hurricane season in the Atlantic only averaged eight hurricanes.

Bob Lipply is a top Real Estate Broker Associate in the Tampa Florida Real Estate area. He and his team have been helping families relocate to Florida and on the selling end get top dollar for their homes with great success. Lipply Real Estate also specializes in Clearwater Real Estate visit his website where you can search the MLS for up to date available homes for sale.


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