With Extreme Weather, Home Insurance Will Cost More. If You Can Get It.
Some people who bought houses in unfamiliar areas or who had less choice in an overheated market found that the properties, especially older houses on the coast, were uninsurable by traditional means. To get coverage, they have to turn to what’s called the surplus market, where the rates set by the state insurance regulator don’t apply. An insurer in that market can charge whatever it wants.
“Wealthy people are quick to buy houses in places like Florida because of a lack of inventory, and before they could have bought a house that was better built for the same price,” said Mr. Woodward. “Then we have a 30 to 60 day shutdown and we need to get coverage for them. A lot of people didn’t envision the cost of that insurance when they made the purchase.”
Insurance on a $1 million older home in South Florida not built to the region’s codes, which provides protection from wind and rain damage, could be $40,000, compared to $3,000 for a similar home elsewhere, it said. Mr Woodward. To code that old house so that premiums would drop, including new windows, doors and roof, could cost $100,000 or more, he said.
Mr. Buchmueller said a friend was building a house in Florida for protection from extreme weather. The house is not in South Florida, so building codes are looser, but the friend asked for the roof to be secured and to comply with the stricter code.
“The contractor told him 29,000 additional roof fixings were needed,” said Mr. Buchmueller. “It’s no small measure to add the South Florida code to a home.”
Whether it’s a starter home or a $5 million beach house, some owners are more conscious than others about taking care of their home.
“Some people treat their home as if it were their home,” said Mr. Woodward. “But some people treat their home as if it’s just a place where they live. And I don’t care what you spend.”
Extreme weather can force more homeowners to take better care of their homes — or risk losing their insurance.