If you’re a Florida homeowner and just received notice that your homeowners insurance company was dropping you, you aren’t alone. With less than a week before the Atlantic Hurricane season kicks off, thousands of homeowners in the Sunshine State are scrambling to find coverage.
Florida insurance companies dropping customers
Three Florida-based companies were recently approved by the state regulator to drop more than 50,000 policies.
Universal Insurance Company of North America was approved to send cancellation notices to 13,294 personal residential policies.
Southern Fidelity Insurance Company was approved to nonrenew approximately 19,600 personal residential policies.
Gulfstream Property & Casualty was approved to cancel about 20,311 personal residential policies.
Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company operates under the umbrella of Universal Insurance. Started in Florida in 1997, Universal provides coverage in 19 states. The company reports they have approximately 57,000 policies in force as of March 1, 2021.
As stated in the order approving the company’s policy cancellations, the home insurer reported net losses of $4.1 million in 2019 and $22.5 million in 2020.
Of the 13,294 policies approved for early cancellation, approximately 9,341 are homeowners insurance policies (HO-3). The remaining are dwelling fire policies (DP-3). Universal must provide notice of cancellation at least 45 days prior to the effective date of cancellation.
The company notes that dropping these policies is to protect the best interests of their policyholders as well as the public.
Gulfstream Property and Casualty
Gulfstream has about 56,000 policies in Florida, and their request to drop 20,311 personal residential policies is to “provide an immediate positive impact to the Company’s financial position.” The insurer will provide 45 days’ notice of cancellation to policyholders.
Of the policies being dropped, 16,574 are HO-3 homeowners insurance policies, 47 HO-4 tenant policies, and 932 HO-6 condo insurance policies. An additional 2,758 policies are dwelling fire.
Gulfstream’s policy cancellations are also a condition of entering into a letter of intent with a new investor.
What to do if you are dropped by your insurer
If you receive a homeowners insurance non-renewal or cancellation notice, first, take a deep breath and know there are steps to take to remedy the situation. You will, however, want to take action fairly quickly to ensure your home and property remain insured.
1. Take note of the cancellation date of your policy
You will want to note this date and make sure you have secured new coverage before then.
2. Review your current coverages
Now is a great time to familiarize yourself with your current policy and coverage. Have you made any improvements to your home since your last policy was written? If you recently got a new roof or installed impact doors and windows, you can receive discounts on your new policy.
3. Shop around
If you already have an insurance agent, talk to them immediately. If you don’t have an insurance agent, you can easily shop for home insurance online on your own. Be sure to look at the coverage being offered by each company - not just the total premium.
Other reasons your home insurer could drop you
There are several reasons why you could receive a non-renewal or cancellation letter from your home insurance company. In addition to changes with the company itself as in the case of Universal Insurance, Southern Fidelity and Gulfstream, you might be dropped if:
Your home no longer meets underwriting guidelines
Changes in your claims history
Changes in your insurance profile
Some specific examples of these types of changes can include:
You started operating a business out of your home
The home is no longer your primary residence
Your credit score took a nosedive
You missed a payment