Insurance rates are rising for US homeowners in climate risk areas


The First Street Foundation study suggests that insurers could offer discounts to homeowners who take steps to strengthen their homes, which would help disasters cause less damage. Moore said Florida was once a leader on measures like building codes, though that has changed in recent years. The state also lacked a disclosure policy that would require property owners to share a property's flooding history with buyers and tenants.

Another bill would force landlords to inform tenants that they live in a flood zone, and another bill would force home sellers to disclose past floods and insurance claims to potential buyers. The first solution has not progressed. The second was approved by the Florida State House and Senate on March 4 and heads next to DeSantis for his signature.

“We have to prevent as many people as possible from being harmed, especially in Florida where we could see a foot or two and a half feet of sea level rise over the next 30 years over a 30-year mortgage period. Maybe we need to get people home.” That should be explained before we buy. We might not issue permits to build homes there in the first place. It's a radical idea for the state to consider,” Moore said.

He said, “As long as the state of Florida is determined to keep people in the dark about the risks, they are reaping the seeds they have sown.” “You just have to look at the surge in development in some of the most at-risk areas of the state.”

Some homeowners may avoid certain areas due to increased risk. A separate study from the First Street Foundation combines Census Bureau and flood risk data to identify what the study describes as “climate abandonment zones,” where population declines between 2000 and 2020 are linked to increased vulnerability. May go.

These areas are scattered across the country, but most are concentrated in coastal Florida, the Mid-Atlantic region between New Jersey and Washington, DC, and the Gulf Coast of Texas, especially Houston. These areas can also be found in some of the fastest growing metropolitan areas, such as Miami. In Miami-Dade County, properties lost $3.99 per square foot in home value due to flood risk between 2005 and 2017, according to the study.

Such migration will likely not be coherent and will be tied to socio-economic means. Buyout programs are small compared to the broader risk, Porter said.

Moore said providing rehabilitation assistance in various locations across the country has proven challenging. It may take time for help to reach the person, he said, and it may be difficult to help the person get where they want to go.

“Most of our energy is in buying them so they can go somewhere else. But wherever they go, it also presents some challenges, especially in fast-growing areas where property values ​​are rising,” he said. “This may not be enough to help them move to a safe place.”

“There are no easy solutions to this, and the solutions are increasingly difficult in a state that is determined to continue growth in high-risk areas,” Moore said. “There is no solution that will work long term when it is dynamic.”

Added Friedlander: “We don't see [insurance] The market is deteriorating. But unfortunately what does this mean for the average consumer? This does not mean that the bill will be reduced today or tomorrow. We are talking about a stable market. We are expecting that in 2024 we will see more moderate rate increases than before, but we cannot predict.

a rare place of nature

For Infinger, his family's property along the banks of Little Wekiva represents a rare spot of nature hidden within the urban mesh of highways and subdivisions outside Orlando.

He speaks with surprise rather than concern as he remembers a time when he and his wife watched a bear from the window of the family home while the animal was feeding on an acorn. Seeing coyotes coming and going in the yard. He grew up with some of his neighbors. It feels like home.

However, this may change. Infinger, 41, who works in construction, said the family has money to pay rising insurance rates. But as his children get older, he and his wife plan to move out of Orlando to be closer to his parents. She fears that her beloved Little Wekiva will flood the Lower family's house again in the future.

“We already know floods are going to come,” he said. “it's just a matter of time.”