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Woman says soaring insurance prices are forcing her to sell her home of nearly 30 years

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE/Gray News) – Many homeowners in Louisiana are feeling the pain of soaring insurance premiums, and there are projections that prices could go even higher.

According to Insurify, an online insurance marketplace, the cost of home insurance in Louisiana could jump another 23% by the end of the year, the steepest increase in the country.

Cheron Brylski is a Louisiana homeowner who says she has had enough.

When Brylski and her husband moved into their 3,400-square-foot home in Uptown New Orleans nearly 30 years ago, they poured everything they had into it.

“This was our forever home,” Brylski said. “So, we invested a lot of our sweat and tears into renovating it.”

The couple bought the home in 1995.

For two decades, they made many memories in their home, until Cheron’s husband, Harold, died in 2015.

The home still is filled with pictures of him and images he captured as a photographer.

Brylski said she never imagined selling the house, but the soaring cost of homeowners insurance is forcing her to face a sobering financial reality.

“The other thing that really started to hit me was living within my retirement budget,” she said. “My property taxes are high, but they’re frozen because of my age at this point. But my property insurance is very, very high.”

According to Brylski, it now costs nearly $15,000 a year to insure her home.

She owns her home outright but said that between property tax and property insurance, she has been paying $2,500 each month to stay in her home.

However, she said paying the higher costs has become unsustainable and she has decided to sell her home.

“It’s making living in a house that I own impossible to stay in,” Brylski said. “And I’m not the only one in New Orleans experiencing that. You can drive around this neighborhood and see a ton of for sale signs.”

It’s hard to give an exact number on how many people in the New Orleans area are selling their homes because of rising insurance, but it’s something the local real estate market is noticing.

“There is certainly some of that,” Mark Rodi, a broker and owner of RE/MAX Affiliates in Metairie, said. “What the percentage of the market that is, I can’t tell you exactly, but I do hear it from the agents.”

Rodi has been in the real estate business for nearly 50 years and says there can be many reasons why someone decides to sell their home.

He said he’s not surprised if sky-high insurance premiums are among them.

“There are a lot of widows and widowers who are on fixed incomes and when you have an insurance policy that doubles or more that you weren’t expecting, it’s going to affect your lifestyle,” Rodi said.

Brylski has listed her four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home for $1.1 million, but finding someone who can afford to buy and insure it is another matter.

So far, she’s only shown it to one prospective buyer.

“Downsizing is the only option for me, and there’s a number of reasons for that. Truthfully, the biggest is financial. It’s not just the fact that I’m getting older. … I have battled with this decision for over three years,” Brylski said.

Louisiana’s insurance crisis appears to be cutting across many income brackets.

Habitat for Humanity is requesting more than $2 million from the New Orleans City Council to help more than 100 owners of its affordable houses avoid foreclosure. The nonprofit’s executive director says the cost of insurance is pushing families to a breaking point.

“Many of them are at risk of becoming homeless and then they will become dependent on other city services,” Marguerite Oestreicher of Habitat for Humanity said.

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