Florida insurance companies add new requirements
to avoid insuring older homes
Insurance agents say that
companies are changing policy requirements to avoid the
financial risk of older roofs
Article Courtesy of ABC Action News Tampa Bay
By Stassy Olmos
August 1, 2022
TAMPA — It’s almost been one month
since new state legislation went into effect from a special session to
address problems plaguing Florida’s property insurance industry, but
now, insurance agents are seeing some companies change policies to get
around the new regulations.
For example, new laws prohibit companies
from refusing to write or renew policies on homes with roofs
that are less than 15 years old solely because of the roof’s
age. They must allow the homeowner to get an inspection to
prove a roof has five years or more of useful life.
However, Michelle Mosher, agent and owner of Southshore
Insurance Professionals, tells us that she’s seen new
stipulations since July 1.
“Now I have a company who will take your roof if it's over
15 years old, but it has to have a secondary water
resistance layer as part of the wind mitigation, and if it
doesn't, it's not acceptable. So if you didn't do that 15
years ago, when you got your roof, you can't go to them as
an option,” Mosher explained.
In addition to that, Mosher and other agents confirm
that about five companies are now not accepting older homes in general.
We’re told one company is only taking homes less than a year old.
“So they may not be able to not take you because of the age of the roof,
but they can put other stipulations on it, and that's what we're seeing,
or they've changed their guidelines to just not allow a home that's over
15 years old,’ Mosher said.
She’s owned Southshore Insurance Professionals for eight years and has
about 800 policies, but she can no longer accept new business because
they’re too busy re-writing their current clients who’ve either been
dropped or their carriers have gone into receivership.
“Somebody might have a 15-year-old roof, and they're being non-renewed.
It's hard to get them a new policy until they get a new roof, but
they've got 25 days to do that it's darn near impossible for that to be
able to happen," Mosher explained. “Those who are not getting dropped
are seeing rate increases of 80, 90, 112%.”
Suzette Bertini is not a client of Mosher’s, but she is a Tampa resident
experiencing the shocking rate increases. Her property insurance has
gone up by nearly $7,000 since she bought her home in 2015.
“We’re like okay, we just might have to leave. This is hideous. I'm
paying a grand a month for increases to insurance,” Bertini told ABC
Action News in a phone interview.
Olympus is her insurance carrier. In 2015, her premium was $1,897.
In 2020 it went to $2,517; then in 2021 it went to $4,687. This year her
renewal is $9,031.
“I almost thought I was gonna have a heart attack when I open that bill…
Holy crap! $9,000 from $4,500?!” Bertini exclaimed.
She actually considers herself one of the lucky ones because her roof is
20 years old, and her insurance never sent a non-renewal notice.
“No one has told me anything but a new roof,” she said. “I somehow got
through it unscathed as far as a bad roof or denied coverage for an old
But homeowners should know that rate increases aren’t just because of
the number of lawsuits insurance companies are dealing with; they also
have to adjust policies to cover inflation costs.
“Building materials are more expensive. Labor is more expensive, it's
harder to get things done, and if they have a total loss, the coverage
they had last year isn't going to build their home back this year,”
Even if a policy has an inflation guard, she explains that it’s not
“We get emails from carriers all the time, even at just renewal, that
they have 4% inflation writer,” she said.
The good news is that since special session laws went into effect July
1, agents are also seeing companies change replacement cost value on
roofs to actual cost value, which insurance companies say will be a
For now, those who need new insurance should go through an agent who
understands the age of their home and roof.
You may be eligible for a roof certification waiver which means an
inspection could buy you more time with an older roof.
Some carriers are also now allowed to offer separate roof deductibles on
premiums, which may be an option to keep your overall rate lower.
For Floridians, it’s a matter of hanging on. The real effects of the new
legislation will take 18 months to a few years to see.
“We won't be here that long,” Bertini expressed. “We have planned to
retire here. But if this doesn't resolve itself, and… I've already heard
of other people moving, we'll be right behind them all.”
We reached out to Olympus asking for the specific reason behind
Bertini’s rate increase, but we have not heard back.
We also reached out to a company we’re told has added the new roof wind
mitigation requirements but did not receive a response.
On the Olympus Insurance website, an article states that homeowner’s
insurance can be cheaper with home updates that make them “more secure
or structurally sound.”
It advises you to "talk to your agent if any of the following apply:
You installed a new roof, or you have a hip roof
You added wind mitigation upgrades like storm
shutters or reinforced garage doors
You updated your electrical or plumbing systems
You implemented a new security system
You added a pool and pool enclosure to your home"
Olympus Insurance also lists advice for new
homeowners to keep premiums lower.
1. Location of the Home in Florida
If you choose a home in a gated community, your risk for a break-in goes
way down, and your homeowners' insurance premium can benefit as well.
You can get a credit for living in an area with heightened security.
2. The Age of the House
How old your home is can impact your premiums. The newer the home, the
better off you’ll be. Newer homes are built to higher standards than
older ones, and are considered to be more capable of withstanding high
winds and driving rain.
3. Features of the Home & Property
If your roof is at least a certain percentage “hip”, meaning that it
doesn’t overhang the top frame of your house, you can get another
credit. An even partially hip roof can significantly reduce the chance
of it being ripped off in a hurricane or high wind situation.
4. Materials Used To Build the Home
A home that has wind mitigation features, like storm shutters and
shatter resistant glass, can put up a strong defense against Florida
storm season. Ask about these features when looking at new homes, and
take their presence into account when considering a home with a few
years on it.
5. Intelligence: Is it a Smart Home?
A “smart” home can also get you one or more credits on your homeowners
insurance. Look for installations like a security system that gives you
remote access, or water sensors that can send alerts about a potential
leak to your smartphone.