Some homeowners taking chances and going without homeowner’s insurance

Aug 22, 2011

The following article was posted the WPTV Channel 5 News website on August 22, 2011:

Some homeowners taking changes and going without homeowner’s insurance

By Giovanna Drpic

Insurance agents say this is a good time of the year to review homeowner’s and flood insurance policies.  Unfortunately, huge premium increases have a growing number of people choosing to go without insurance and hoping nature gives them a break.

Take, for example, 88 year old Bill Sims.  He says he has his hurricane shutters up, just in case Hurricane Irene’s effects are felt in Boca Raton. But since he owns his home outright, Sims decided to not renew his homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance three years ago.

Sims explains, “It was just one more item. You keep having additional expenses until finally something’s gotta give.”

He says the policy increased from about one thousand dollars to three thousand dollars while the number of items covered decreased.

Sims talks about the items the insurance company dropped.  He says, “They don’t include the screen enclosure.”

John Sena, the president of the insurance company, The Sena Group, says years ago, it was unheard of that people went without homeowner’s or flood insurance. These days, with the economic downturn, more people are taking their chances. And now that Irene may possibly strike the area, some homeowners are re-thinking that decision.

Sena says, “Not more than 15 minutes ago, we had a customer come in the door and he wanted to purchase some insurance that he had let drop.”

The trouble is, the windstorm coverage the customer tried to re-purchase has a 30 day waiting period. That’s too late to cover any possible damage from Hurricane Irene, if it hits the area. Then, there are those people who have mortgages. Those loans require homeowner’s insurance, but there’s a growing number of those people who haven’t been able to afford it.

Still, Sena says, “If everybody thinks homeowner’s insurance is expensive, wait till they have the mortgage company force the insurance. It comes out to be 10 to 20 times more expensive than the normal expense.”

Sims figures, he survived the Korean war and World War II. He’ll roll the dice with Hurricane Irene.

Sims says, “I’ve gone through category twos and threes without hurricane shutters. So luck, I guess. Luck of the draw.”

That’s even though his home is his biggest asset.