WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The insurance crisis in Florida and the financial pain that it's spreading is hitting almost everyone, including the Palm Beach County mayor.
County Mayor Gregg Weiss said it was a phone call that changed everything.
"I got a call from my insurance agent, and she says your windstorm [coverage] is going to go from $10,000 a year, which was already expensive, to $20,000 a year," Weiss said.
With that news he said came the decision to drop his wind coverage and go bare, a term for dropping insurance, since his Flamingo Park house is paid off. The premium he would pay out now goes into the bank to cover repairs.
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"I looked at it, and at $20,000 a year, a new roof, that's a couple years insurance payments," Weiss said. "I am very comfortable with this decision."
It's something many homeowners are now doing and considering in Florida and especially South Florida.
"For as long as I've been in the industry, the tri-county — Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade — have always been kind of downside for insurance companies," Stuart insurance agent Lee Wiglesworth said.
Wiglesworth, like many insurance professionals, doesn't recommend going bare since many people can't afford to replace their whole home.
Fixing insurance is something that state lawmakers have tackled, implementing new reforms signed last year. However, Weiss believes insurance problems are becoming a national issue as it spreads to other states.
"It's not just us, so that leads me to believe that the solution can't be just in Florida either," Weiss said. "We really need to be looking at either some national catastrophic insurance program similar in the way we have flood insurance."
Dropping wind coverage or insurance altogether does involve risk, and it's only for those who no longer have a mortgage.