The clock is ticking for many homeowners to get home insurance after their insurer UPC went bankrupt, leaving tens of thousands of people in Southwest Florida scrambling to find another carrier.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Homeowners left seeking alternative insurance policies after UPC files for bankruptcy
However, it’s proving nearly impossible for many people.
No insurance company, including the state-run Citizens, will accept a new policyholder if their home is still damaged from Hurricane Ian.
With just days left to find a new carrier, homeowners can’t get repairs made soon enough…leaving many people caught in limbo.
March 29 is the deadline for thousands of people to find new insurance if they were canceled by UPC, but if your home is damaged and UPC hasn’t settled your claim, you could be forced by your mortgage company to pay thousands more a year for a policy you can’t afford.
Ed Keiser of Cape Coral was shocked when he saw that he had been canceled while waiting to settle a claim with UPC.
He was one of 140,000 people looking for a new insurance company but found that none are willing to insure him because he has an outstanding claim and a damaged roof.
His claim with the defunct UPC is not settled and for that reason doesn’t qualify for the state-run Citizens insurer of last resort.
Kaiser said his mortgage company placed him into a forced insurance which is charging nearly three times the amount he was previously paying to insure his home.
Forced placement typically means people pay more for less coverage.
“It’s at a highly inflated rate so you’ll have coverage for a while…basically until you can’t afford to pay it,” Kaiser said.
He fears many of his neighbors without a mortgage may go without. Sara Warnecke of Cape Coral said she was also canceled from UPC and since she owns her home and no longer has a mortgage, she is considering going without because of the rising prices.
Reid McDaniel of McDaniel Insurance Solutions in North Fort Myers warned this is a dangerous scenario as hurricane season approaches.
McDaniel said everyone in his office worked until 11:30 Tuesday night to place as many new policies as they could before AAA stopped accepting new customers in SWFL.
“We’ve written so much with AAA last night it changed and now they’re only looking at homes that are 1995 and newer,” McDaniel explained.
That leaves many homeowners with even fewer choices.
UPC customers with open claims will now wait for the state to decide how much they get.
The state will take over the claims and insurance experts said those claims could take a year to settle, which means many people will have to pay for their repairs out of pocket until the claims are settled.
Florida’s Chief Financial Office reminds consumers who need insurance assistance to call the state Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) to talk to an insurance specialist.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.