The Ugly Surprises That Await if you Wait For State Farm Florida to Cancel Your Home Insurance

Feb 15 08:18 2010 Michael Letcher Print This Article

The announcement in January by State Farm Florida Insurance Company that it was exiting the Florida Property and Casualty insurance market sent shockwaves across the state as consumers scrambled to find new Florida home insurance companies. If you are a State Farm Florida policyholder facing the cancellation of your Florida home insurance policy, here is the truth about what is going on and what you should do about it.

State Farm Florida Insurance Company announced earlier this year that it intends to leave the Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Market.  The only thing still yet to be determined is the actual terms of the withdrawal plan and the timing around when the policy cancellations will begin.

Front and center are the estimated 700,Guest Posting000 State Farm Florida home insurance policies that are expected to be cancelled over a two year period - that's over 29,000 policies that will be cancelled each and every month for two years.  Regardless of your perspective, this is the most significant event that has ever occurred in the history of the Florida homeowners insurance market - and you could not pick a worse time for this to happen.

To begin with, many of the home insurance policies that will be dropped by State Farm Florida will occur at the exact same time that Citizens Insurance Florida will be moving forward with higher rates in 2010 as required by law.

Although dumping on big insurance in Florida has become one of our favorite things to do, here are some little known facts that won't ever make the coverage of State Farm Florida's planned withdrawal from the state:

Customers of State Farm Florida love this company, its customer service, the multiline discounts, and the fast and fair claim service they received from the company after the 2004/2005 Florida hurricanes.

When State Farm Florida policyholders are asked to rate their satisfaction with State Farm on a scale of "1-10" many give them a satisfaction rating of "10" even if their policy is being dropped by the company!

Although State Farm Florida's 47% rate increase was turned down prior to their withdrawal announcement, most of the data that we are collecting says that the annual premiums State Farm Florida policyholders are paying are among the lowest in Florida - partially from the multi-line discounts and also due to the significant wind mitigation credits that many customers are receiving.

None of the above changes the fact that State Farm Florida is leaving the Florida home insurance market.  Given this reality, here is what you need to be aware of if you are a State Farm Florida policyholder and want to take proactive steps in response to the company's announcement.

First you need to realize that your State Farm Florida Insurance Agent is not currently allowed to present you with any other Florida home insurance companies for you to consider except for Florida's state run insurance company of last resort - Citizens Property Insurance Corporation - which has publicly stated that it is currently underfunded and overly dependent on hostile financial bond market borrowing on unfriendly terms in order to pay major hurricane claims.

As you look for companies to replace your State Farm Florida home insurance policy, many of you will be facing increases that range from 70% to over 200% on your annual premium.

Watch for dramatic differences as you move to a new Florida homeowners insurance company - both in terms of the size of the financial surplus it has available to pay your claim and in the headcount it has available for customer service and claims processing.  State Farm Florida has more financial surplus available to pay its claims than the majority of the 40 other companies that are still writing new Florida homeowners insurance business combined!

Much of the advice that you've received as a State Farm Florida policyholder has been that you should not take any action now and that you should wait for your Florida home insurance cancellation notice.  If you take that advice you could be very sorry in Florida's dysfunctional home insurance market:

For starters, you've heard about many Florida home insurance companies that want to pick up your State Farm Florida home insurance policy.  Don't assume that there will be plenty of policies with a new company to go around when your State Farm Florida policy is cancelled.

Some of the companies that initially stated their interest in picking up State Farm Florida policies have tightened up their underwriting guidelines and become more selective about the kind of homes they will accept.  Since the State Farm Florida exit announcement, two companies that had expressed interest in taking on some of the policies have had their licenses temporarily suspended.

Many of the State Farm Florida policies being cancelled are homes that were built between 1950 and 1981 - prior to the higher wind standards in the Florida Building Code improvements made in the 1990's - not exactly the kind of homes that Florida home insurance companies are going to be anxious to cover.

Because of the financial shortfalls at both Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, if there is a major Florida hurricane during the 2009 season, don't expect any companies to be willing to pick up your policy when State Farm Florida cancels it starting in 2010.

Here's what you should do right now if you are a State Farm Florida home insurance policyholder:

Don't wait for your cancellation notice - start shopping for a new company right now!

Call several Florida independent home insurance agents that represent multiple homeowners insurance companies and find a new private insurance policy before June 1st when the 2009 hurricane season begins.

Do in depth research on all of the Florida home insurance companies you are considering.  If you get a letter from a Florida home insurance company offering to take over your insurance policy, don't accept the offer of new coverage until you have thoroughly checked out the new company.

Don't accept your State Farm Florida home insurance policy being moved into Citizens Property Insurance Corporation unless you have personally done the research and confirmed that there aren't any private Florida home insurance companies who want to cover your home.

Finally, as someone who knows the score in the Florida homeowners insurance market, you know that finding a new company in Florida has never been easy - from the time of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and continuing through to today.

That's why it is essential that you start shopping now for a new policy.  Don't wait for State Farm Florida to cancel your policy.   If you do, you'll have the unpleasant experience of scrambling and competing with 29,000 other State Farm policyholders who will be looking for a new Florida home insurance policy at the exact same time that you are.

It's a game of musical chairs that you have to avoid at all costs!

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About Article Author

Michael Letcher
Michael Letcher

Michael Letcher is a corporate executive and a licensed Certified Public Accountant.  His on-line guide can help you find affordable Fort Lauderdale homeowners insurance.  Get all the secrets to low cost Fort Lauderdale home insurance in his free newsletter at =>
http://www.homeinsurancebuyers.org

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