What Florida Residents Are Facing In Ian’s Aftermath

After Hurricane Ian, Florida residents now have to deal with a lack of insurance and little to no recourse if there’s an issue that can’t be solved.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

Hurricane Ian hit landfall in Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 storm with 150-mile-per-hour winds and a life-threatening storm surge. Florida residents and homeowners have their fill of sunshine for sure, but after Hurricane Ian, they now have to deal with a lack of insurance and little to no recourse if there’s an issue that can’t be solved.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian was mass destruction, especially in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island areas—both popular tourist destinations marked with gorgeous oceanfront views and historic architecture and lore. But, Ian—at least for now—has changed that. 

Florida residents now have enormous clean-up to face after the Sanibel Island Causeway collapsed, piers with restaurants and homes have been flattened, and the death toll up to 100. On top of the enormous lift of recovery, comes financial struggle. Especially because Florida’s home insurers are at the very least—problematic

According to CNN, the state of Florida and Florida residents have suffered for almost 20 years because nationwide insurers like State Farm and Nationwide stay away when it comes to insuring homes. This is simply because of the high risk of hurricanes, which has only increased as climate change takes its toll. 

Florida residents enjoy a low tax rate with no state income tax–which is one among the many reasons people choose to retire there. What’s more is that the state tax on intangible assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds was repealed in 2007. Another magnet for those in the age of retirement looking to sell off, and enjoy their life-long savings.   

However, in one area where Florida residents are not so lucky is in homeownership insurance. In fact, even prior to Hurricane Ian, Florida homeowners were paying triple the national average for insurance. 

Ballpark examples show that homeowners in the sunshine state typically pay out around $4,231 a year per policy, compared to a US average of $1,544. This comparison makes paying taxes seem like not a terrible idea after all. 

Florida also has tort laws that do nothing to deter lawsuits. So, the big insurers stay away leaving smaller, state-based insurers (also known as “last resort” insurers) to be the best choice. Florida residents know that the choice they have to make definitely is not the best. 

From early estimates, these state-based agencies say they do have the resources to pay for Hurricane Ian’s destruction. But, even if that is the case, Florida residents will see yet another increase in their homeowner’s premiums. 

Another interesting fact is that insurance in Florida does not cover flooding. Those claims must go through FEMA to the National Flood Insurance Program. And, FEMA could see more claims due to Florida residents experiencing heaving rains and flooding even if they do not live in a flood zone. 

Many Florida residents enjoy living in condos and mobile home parks filled with prefabricated homes. This is a good alternative to traditional homes which are rising in price and may soon experience after-effects of the recession. First-time homebuyers may see a decrease in cost, but experts aren’t sure how long it will last. And, interest rates are at an all-time high.