TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Some homeowners are frustrated about the high price of property insurance and are taking a leap of faith to battle the cost by skipping insurance altogether.
It’s a choice that comes with consequences, but some homeowners say there’s no other alternative.
Those who’ve paid off their mortgage have the ability to make a risky decision and “go bare.”
“We don’t have a mortgage, so we have the option to choose not to have insurance on it,” Raquel DeWitt Conley said.
It’s a choice Conley, who lives in Lakeland, made after nearly 25 years in her home.
Conley said the annual savings of $8,000 is worth it, but worrisome.
“When a hurricane is coming or a storm is coming, you’re not sleeping well because you’re worried,” she said. “That fear is still there. It’s not that we just said ‘we don’t want to do it and we want to save the money,’ it’s just not affordable.”
Conley is not alone.
The Insurance Information Institute reports 15% to 20% of Florida homeowners are scrapping coverage altogether. That’s above the national average of 12%.
Insurance broker Ron Assise said the steep increases could be cooling off.
“I do think unprecedented 30% to 40% increases that we’ve seen back-to-back will moderate substantially,” he said.
Assise said five new carriers are coming to the Florida market this winter. However, he’s warning homeowners that going bare can be detrimental.
“It’s a very dangerous thing to do,” he said. “What happens when the fire comes and you sustain a $500,000 loss? The $25,000 you got put away doesn’t do you any good.”
Conley understands the risk and is diligent about routine maintenance to protect her home.
“You have to make sure you’re doing your maintenance and servicing your home and not waiting for everything to fall apart,” she said.