Read about other homeowners' insurance horror stories
If you have suffered from dropped coverage, exhorbitant premium increases, or unjust claims settlements,
Tell us your story here

A DIFFERENT STORY BUT SAME TREATMENT
FROM INSURANCE COMPANY - DROPPED COVERAGE!

I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I had all of my insurance with Farm Bureau Insurance. My agent is Michael Baber. I live in Wood Creek Townhomes. I am retired and worked in hospice with my therapy dog. He is a Min Pin/ Pug. He weighs 15 lbs. We had been going to nursing homes,hospitals, and schools where children read to him. We had been doing this for over 3 years. The therapy group pays for our insurance, my little dog is very special. I brought my dog into Mr. Baber's office so that he would see just how non aggressive he was. Mr. Baber floored me at the time when he stuck his fingers into his carrier. He saw that there was absolutely no aggression.

One day I was getting my dog out of his carrier that was in my car and he made a jump and I was chasing him. My dog made it to the sidewalk of my duplex neighbor. Our Home Owners Association secretary and her husband were walking very fast and he gave chase. I was right behind him. I scooped him up at their feet and they didn't turn around, stop or give me a chance to apologize. I didn't think anymore about it. Months later I get a call from my agent's office and they told me they had a phone call from a man who identified himself as a "stockbroker". This man said that his wife was bit by my dog. He didn't leave his name or number. I was really confused.... I am always with my dog.... and how did this person know who my insurance was with and what office.

Shortly after I was contacted by Randy Short. He is an insurance adjustor with Farm Bureau Insurance. I told him what happened, and told him the homeowners association had a detailed copy of my insurance. Since they didn't leave any information, Randy and I decided to wait to see if he would call back. I told Randy to talk to him if he called again and get details as I flat out couldn't believe anything transpired. Well, Randy Short got a call.... This former fireman (no "stockbroker"), had a story to tell. He came up with a witness. Randy Short contacted the "witness" and he was told this person was working that day and didn't see anything. Randy Short settled with the homeowners association secretary without my knowledge. I received a note from Farm Bureau Insurance that there was a claim for $0.  I was told that my insurance would go up. They cancelled my policy. I tried to get further information from Farm Bureau in Des Moines (home office). Oh, what a run around. Everyone was out. I kept asking for the person who was in charge. I kept getting transferred. To this day, I have no information. I got new insurance with another company but would not recommend Farm Bureau Insurance to anyone.

Posted 5/30/2014

ANOTHER POLICY CANCELLED

Allstate is dropping my already insufficient coverage (no wind coverage) as of June19 giving roof replacement needed as the reason. I believe the real reason is that I made a claim last year for a fallen tree that damaged the end of the house. That was my only claim in 15 years of paying my premiums on time. I do not have the money to replace my roof. Last year Gov. Bentley announced that the state had $900,000 for grants to retrofit homes for hurricane season. I have been trying ever since to get an application and can't. It was to be managed by the EMA here and they gave me the run around when I called and asked about it. No one can tell me what happened to the money. Now I see that Fl is offering grants for the same thing but Al residents are not eligible.

Posted 5/30/2014

MAKE THE FACTS KNOWN

The Alabama Department of Insurance believes that homeowners premiums are going down!!!  Please send HHII a brief summary of your story if your premium was increased this year.  Send it, with your name, telephone number, and date, to Michelle at hhiiact2@gmail.com.

Governor Bentley's Affordable Homeowners' Insurance Commission needs to hear from people who retrofitted their house and then their premiums went UP!!  Please send HHII a brief summary of your story if this has happened to you.  Send it, with your name, telephone number, and date, to Michelle at hhiiact2@gmail.com.

Posted 2/14/2012

HOMEOWNER OUTRAGE MOVES UPSTATE

I live in North Alabama, Rogersville approx 40 min west of Huntsville. Today we received our renewal policy from Progressive, homeowners insurance underwritten by Homesite and the annual premium has gone up $485 taking our insurance premium from $1266 to $1751 annually and the new renewal wants to charge a 2% increase in wind and hail deductible which would mean that any object that should damage an insured structure we'd be required to pay min of $6,000 before they cover anything.

Last year during the awful tornadoes, we had numerous trees down on an adjacent property that were not covered by the company due to them not damaging any insured structure. This clean up was at our expense of over $6,000 with no claim to our company for this damage.

We thought we should be able to claim something on our taxes due to catastrophic damage but our tax preparer indicated that if it didn't meet a 2% of AGI than we couldn't claim the loss at all. The insurance companies already do not cover trees or other objects that do damage if they do not hit an insured home or out building and they don't insure patios, decks, etc. in any policy we have owned. Now in addition to giving them $1751 annually they want us to pay out another $6000 should we have a tree fall on our house before they will assit in reparing them damage. What if the homeowner is unable to pay the first deductible amount? What happens to the property? Then further damage can be claimed that it was not caused by wind and hail and that now the homeowner neglected to initiate repair and the company can refuse to pay for damages. At what point to they assume risk?

These deductibles are not necessary in any circumstance, just charge the premium that is without deductible as many homeowners may not have quick access to 2-5% for immediate repairs. There should be no deductible, this is just another way for the insurance companies to reduce their outlay in the event of a claim. They hope that if a homeowner can't pay the deductible they won't file a claim?

Insurance companies have had a rough few years, but for TOO MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY years they have done nothing but rake in the profits. Now that we are all in need of support and help for what we had paid for for so long this is how we are treated. Many homeowners have been cancelled or premiums raised to extraordinary rates and unrealistic deductibles in addition to the increased premiums.

When I complained about my proposed new deductible I was told that it was necessary to pay for all my neighbors damage in the rest of the state. I thought that is what they paid for insurance for? My premiums should have nothing to do with all the neighbors that filed claims. A homeowner is not to be required to pay for their neighbors insurance coverage. The insurance company agreed to sign the policy for that coverage and they have collected many years, now they should pay for the repair not everyone in the state or nation.

SHAME SHAME ON THE INSURANCE COMPANIES, THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE, AND SHAME ON OUR LEGISLATURE FOR ALLOWING THEM TO DO THIS. They have been able to collect what is convienent and beneficial to them. Now that they have to pay out instead of profit, they aren't so sure they want the risk?  HMMM.... I should continue to pay a very large sum of money for coverage that only covers me in the event a fire destroys my property???? ....that is pretty much all it's good for anymore without extra costly riders and deductibles for theft this or that. Too many exclusions so what are we really paying these extraordinary premiums for.

I believe we'd be better off with a cooperative state insurance. Maybe we need to rewrite legislation that requires homeowners only be required to carry fire insurance as we pretty much are on our own for anything else. Between the mortgage lenders and the insurance companies homeowners have no better option. We are required to have to pay what they demand. I think not and we all need to work to develop better solutions. Insurance industry wants to additionally increase premiums based on a persons credit rating. What does this have to do with risk to a person's home and justify a higher or lower rate for insurance? Is this not illegal and discriminating? Additionally, it shouldn't matter if a homeowner has had claims in the past so many years before a company makes determination to cover a home or not. This is discrimination and unless a company can prove that a fraudulent claim was processed it should be absolutely illegal to ask these questions before insuring a home or vehicle. If a claim was determined to be just then the homeowner is entitled to this and should not be penelized every year thereafter when quoting insurance premiums just because they had a previous claim. The amount of insurance premiums collected in this country, not just Alabama, is extraordinary and what has the industry been able to do with those profits all these years?

I pray that each and every homeowner will speak up and demand that something be done to change these unfair practices. We may not have all been affected directly by damage in the past few years, but what the insurance industry has been allowed to do with the cancellations and extraordinary premiums and reduced coverage and increased deductibles affects every homeowner and investor. If an insurance company is to not have to provide coverage for wind and hail which is most likely 85% or more of their risk in having to pay a homeowner for damages then a homeowner should only have to pay premiums amounting to 15% of what they are currently paying. Please let's speak loud and clear that this is not acceptable and voice your opinion.

Posted 6/5/2012

I have always believed that people who ran for elected office were individuals who desired to serve and make a difference in their communities and country.

After seeing the recent debacle concerning the vote on insurance reform, my hopes have once again been dashed. I feel at the mercy of the insurance companies and apparently also my elected officials.

Since building my modest home in 1996, my homeowners insurance has quadrupled. I have never made a claim, and I live 15 miles from the Gulf Coast. With no salary increases in the last four years, how on earth am I (or is anyone) to sustain these astronomical increases? The insurance companies are accountable to no one.

Why must everything be about profits and not because it’s the right thing to do? Their greed will be our undoing.

EILEEN FRAZIER Foley

Posted 5/1/2012

Reviewing my ALFA Homeowners Premium notice, while paying my automobile premium, I am dismayed. Just what is the Alabama Department of Insurance doing to help? I certainly don't see them in our (policy holders) court.

Below is a brief basic rundown on my Replacement Cost Homeowners coverage (H03) with ALFA since 2004. I am leaving out other (standard) included coverage, listing only the dwelling cost for simplification. (I can give you those numbers if wanted, but they all seem proportional to the bigger number – Dwelling.) The 12 month premium does include "discounts". For informational purpose the FMV on my home per the 2011 Mobile County Revenue Commissioner’s office is $117,700. There are homes in my neighborhood for sale and un-sold for up to 3 years. It does not take an appraisal to prove home values have decreased.

2004 - Dwelling $112,400 - Premium $783.00 - $1000 deductible 2% hurricane
2005 - Dwelling $123,000 - Premium $961.00 - $1000 deductible 2% hurricane
2006 - Dwelling $135,000 - Premium $1036.00 - $1000 deductible 2% hurricane
2007 - Dwelling $145,200 - Premium $1267.00 - $1000 deductible 2% hurricane
2008 - Dwelling $152.000 - Premium $1187.00 - $1000 deductible 5% hurricane
2009 - Dwelling $159,200 - Premium $1243.00 - $1000 deductible 5% hurricane
2010 - Dwelling $163,600 - Premium $1436.00 - $1000 deductible 5% hurricane
2011 - Dwelling $169,400 - Premium $1989.00 - $1000 deductible 5% hurricane (changed deductible to $2000 making paid premium $1789.00)
2012 - Dwelling $171,000 - Premium $2213.00 - $2000 deductible 5% hurricane (changed deductible to $5000 making paid premium $1864.00)

These percentages of increase on insurance are mind boggling. This trend must be halted.

I have voiced my displeasure with local ALFA office in person and corporate office by telephone, but I do not expect any change other than their suggesting changing policy coverage. I plan to forward this to them, the Alabama Dept of Insurance as well as to some elected public officials.

ONE item I see as a MUST for change is the constant increase insurance companies impose citing the "Dwelling Construction Cost Index" for replacement coverage. I believe this should be a negotiated number with the policy holder and the insurance company. (Ex: $140,000 as a replacement number for a catastrophic incidence.)

You know, it has been deemed illegal for gouging to take place after the storm; so why is it legal for gouging to occur before . . .

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Posted 3/6/2012

We live in Lillian in the Spanish Cove area. Our bill went from less than $250 to over $1,000 on a $30,000 cost replacement basis. The reason: we checked your home and you have updated it and it looks nice...see we have the photos of it. Ridiculous! We have dropped our policy on principal ..if it blows over in a tornado we probably won't survive it. If it blows over in a hurricane ,well we will not replace it! Maybe we could afford to pay this premium but on fixed income it would be difficult. Baldwin Mutual used to be our insurer.

Posted 3/1/2012

I live in Lillian and I do NOT reside on a waterfront lot.  I am about 1/2 mile from the nearest body of water and about 40ft. above sea level.  The home went through Ivan with very little damage. No claim was submitted.

I purchased the house in 2007. The insurance company that I started with charged us about $2200.00 a year for coverage. The second year they raised the rate to over $4k.  I made many calls and found a company to cover us for $3400.00.  I am still with that company and paying the same amount, even though the value of my home has dropped from $225k in 2008 to $155k now.  I am currently shopping around for a better rate but the pickings are thin.  If a company does write policies in Baldwin Co. their rates are no better that what I currently have.

I can't sell my home because I owe more that what its worth.  I am on a fixed income due to a disability from 2001 and it's getting harder to make ends meet.  I am contemplating letting my home go and renting but I am afraid that my credit would be destroyed and no one would even rent to us. I really don't know what my next move will be but I know nothing will be done about our rates.

I think that because the area of concern is such a small percentage of the entire state that nobody cares that we are being abused here on the coast. Florida has a better chance of getting something done because the percentage of homeowners involved in this "abuse" is such a greater percentage of the entire state. Why would someone living in Huntsville paying very low rates care about our insurance problems? Why would a Governor that has a handfull of votes at stake care about us either? We don't have the votes to make us a threat to him and he simply doesn't care.

Someone last night said (at 12/6/2011 Lillian HHII Educational Meeting) that the insurance companes are not at fault. I can't believe this at all. I know from the past that insurance companies will not pay out or lower rates unless they are forced to.  I had to take my LTD insurance company to court to make them pay what they were supposed to pay. As long as the insurance companies can get away with overcharging us and making more profits and no one in office is concerned, they will not lower our rates.

I see homes everyday being walked away from and left empty because people can not continue being overcharged. I am afraid that soon my family and I will be another one of those. Thank you anyway but I don't see anything changing in the future.

 Posted 12/7/2011

We live in Orange Beach, We got canceled 2 years ago.  We are Seniors, One is 82 & One is 75

We are paying about $3800. with flood, we just can't keep paying these cost, We are down in money and now they are going to take more out of S S checks. So what can we do? Why do we pay so much, when people over 10 are charged so little. They have Tornado's every year some where, & look about this year. We have maybe a Hurricane in 10 to 15 years. We have not been hurt only once with just the roof. So we supply the northern people the money for all there disaster.  Please do something now!!!!!.  Another year & and our home will have to go in forclosure and we have it just about paid for.  So Help us Please.

Posted 9/24/2011

Read stories sent to AHIC following Listening meeting in Mobile 8/29/2011

Posted 9/9/2011

I, Mary B. Walker who have lived here in south Alabama south of interstate 10. Before Katrina we were insured by Alfa insurance. My premium was about $4,000.00 per year. The deductable was $250.00. After the Storm Katrina Alfa insurance wrote a letter and canceled our wind coverage. They stated that we could remain with them but the company will no longer cover wind damange. The coverage for the policy would be $12,000.00. The deductible was $1,500.00. with no wind coverage. They stated that we lived in a hurricane prone area. Also we were a high risk area coustomer. I did not sustain any damage in hurricane Katrina. I did not file a claim. Why would they consider me a risk and I didn't even file a claim?  I need help!  How can you fix the problem. Please pass the Clarity Bill. I want a lower Insurance.

Posted 8/22/2011

My wife and I (72 and 74 yrs. old respectively) have been living on East Fowl River for over 10 yrs. Early part of that period I had homeowners insurance without high deductible. Currently my home is insured for $400,000 with a premium of $4,800 annually. Premiums have been higher, but I’m taking a chance on a non-listed out of state insurer.

My retirement dream home has turned into a nightmare. We live on Social Security and supplement income by drawing down on small retirement fund we saved up in a 401 and IRA accounts. Our house is for sale at a reduced price and we’ve had NO inquiries because of high insurance cost. We are stuck with our situation and the option of a reverse mortgage if things don’t change for the better soon.

In the 10 yrs. living here we have spent approx. $40,000 in premiums and collected $6,000 when a few shingles were blown off and we have water damage in a few places on our ceiling.

Here’s what the next 10 years could represent in revenue to the insurance companies.

No claims 10 yrs: Out of pocket for us $50,000 in premiums. Add this to the $40,000 previously spent and you out of pocket $90,000.

With a claim 10 yrs: Add the above cost to 5% deductible and we’re out $110,000 before we see a dime of insurance money.

Additionally: All of the clean up expenses of debris, fallen trees and boat dock repairs have fallen on us. We’re okay with this because we choose to live on the water.

Our home is 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 1 ½ miles inland from Mobile Bay. My elevation is 13 feet about flood plane. Anything South of I-10, please give us a break. Everyone is in harms way, but we thought that’s what insurance is for.

Joe and Lois
Theodore AL

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Posted 8/17/2011

I OFTEN HAVE NIGHTMARES AS I LAID IN MY BED AND LISTEN TO THE WIND AND RAIN REMEBERING KATHRINA. WE HAD INSURANCE BUT THEY PAID VERY LITTLE. WHEN WE SUBMITTED OUR CLAIM WE HAD SUFFER OVER $10,000 IN DAMAGES WE RECEIVE A PAYMENT AFTER OUR DED. WHICH WAS A $1,000 A CHECK FOR $400.00. THEY DROP OUR COVERAGE. WE ARE NOW WITHOUT INS. PREMIUM IS NOT AFFORDABLE. WE FEEL AS IF NO ONE CARES. BEING ON DISABILITY MY HUSBAND AND I DON'T HELP. OUR INCOME IS LIMIT. OUR HOME IS WORTH EVERYTHING TO US. IT HAS BEEN APPR. AROUND 90,000. IF WE LOSE IT BECAUSE OF WIND, HAIL. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WHO WILL HELP AND GIVE US INSURANCE AT A AFFORDABLE PRICE? WHO CARES?

Posted 8/8/2011

First, my Farmer's agents' secretary called me and told me they were going to drop my wind and hail coverage last year. Then later she called me back and said they were not going to drop it. Then I received a notice in the mail where they were going to drop me. I am a single woman living alone and my sole support. I lost my job in June 2009 and was out of work for seven months. I only have a part time temporary job for the past year and am struggling just to pay my house note and cannot afford the premiums which have doubled. I was not going to carry and wind & hail since I could not afford it, but my mortgage company let me know if I didn't get it they would get it for me and at a much higher premium. So, I have no choice. I think this is very unfair for people who are struggling to keep their home after job losses, etc. that now they have this additional tremendous increase. I am glad to hear about this organization and am glad that they are trying to do something about this and I would like to join in the effort.

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Posted 6/8/2011

My home was built in 1989, It was insured for $123,000.00 for $600. They have increased that to $1,800.00 over the years without a penny's more coverage.  I still only have the same $123K in insurance. I went from a $50 deductible to $1,500 in an attempt to keep the rates lower. Last year they dropped my wind coverage.  Now I pay $1,200 wind pool and $550 for fire. Now the stinking wind pool wants me to prove my house is not in a flood plain or get some kind of certificate.  My house is 45ft above sea level If my house floods the entire city will be under water.  I am really mad at getting ripped off like this. My insurance agent told me if we the public knew how much cash the insurance companies were sitting on we would be really upset. Seems they are making money hand over fist with these huge increases.  I say let's create an insurance commission again that has teeth.  And if the insurance companies don't like it, they can lump it.  We could form a citizens' insurance company as a cooperative and insure ourselves.  We need a few thousand people to get on board with the idea and kick in some cash and we can become self insured. That is the premise of insurance anyway sharing the risk.

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Posted 4/14/2011

Yesterday I received a "new" quote on an insurance policy on two buildings we have in Daphne. Currently ,with wind coverage, we pay $5,000+- annually. With the new policy we will only pay $3,597.00. That's great , right? But that's with out wind which I can not get through a standard company but wait the State WIND POOL will save the day.....wind coverage $6,100.00 !!!!!!!!! Wow what a relief...my new coverage will only cost me, $9,697.00. That's only $4,500 more than what I was paying and the best of all is my rents remain the same where my net cash return is less than the increase! That sounds like a really good deal ....I wonder why no one wants to buy property at an established value???

Posted 3/2/2011

I have been unemployed for the last year (construction management job) and we have been fortunate to keep our home and our bills paid, so far...

We are currently insured through Farmers after having moved to them when Alfa was going to increase our rate from a little over $600 a year to $3200 after we completed our repairs post hurricane Ivan.  They had paid us a claim of around $21,000 for damages caused by a tree falling on our house.  Part of the reason they used for such an outrageous increase was that they claimed that our home was now worth $196,000 instead of the approximately $105,000 at that time.  So, we shopped and found Farmers.  They were at a little under $700 a year, but required that we move out automobile coverage to them before they would consider us.  Their auto rates were about 20% higher than our carrier at the time, but we were in that same pinch that so many on this site have found themselves in, that is fewer and fewer carriers from which to select.

That first year we were fine, no substantial increase, then last year hit.  We were increased to $1319 per year.  What could we do, we sucked it up and had to pay.  Now, this year we have been notified that to keep our current level of coverage we will have to pay another $500!!!  It doesn't take a super intelligent person to do the math and see that in only two policy years our coverage has almost tripled!  Not only that, the only option we have is to continue replacement cost coverage.  We do not even have the option of electing coverage on a per unit (per $1000 in value) basis.  Last year part of the reasoning used for our increase was that they said our home would take $176,000 to rebuild for a structure that can be rebuilt for a max of about $112,000 at the most extreme (remember my profession is residential construction).  I have not yet seen the figures that they are basing this current year rate increase on.  I will not be surprised for them to be claiming that my home will now cost almost $200,000 for full replacement cost. This is for a 1213 sq home that can easily be rebuilt for $70 - $75 a square foot and more realistically for under $65.

It is impossible that we have become a risk to Farmers that requires a 300% rate hike but we are stuck with it until we can get our legislature to take reasonable action to protect us.  The biggest problem I see in that thought is that we have representation for Mobile and Baldwin Counties that IS motivated to protect us from predatory insurance practices that is being offset my every other representative and senator for every other area of the state that is not affected by this issue.  Therefore, there is little to no incentive for the rest of the state to support something that has no direct affect on their constituency.  It is high time for our state and other coastal states to form a STRONG coalition that CAN fight the big money in the insurance industry and begin protecting the citizens while allowing REASONABLE profits in by insurance carriers while doing what insurance was originally designed to do and that is spread the risk of few to the shoulders of many.

Ken Morgan

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Our story is similar to so many others.  Brick built house, 2-1/2 miles from Bay, 25 miles from Gulf, survived Ivan, Denis & Katrina, no claims.  Original premium when built in 1999, $847.  Increased steadily through 2006 to $1266.5 which, considering Ivan, Denis & Katrina, did not seem unreasonable.  Then increases took off.  59% in 2007 to $2012 (reduced to $1473 by upping deductable from 2% to $5000), followed by 35.9% in 2008 & 36.8% last year.  We now pay $2740 a year, well over 3 times what we paid when we bought our house.  We are with Farmer's who have promised to drop 10,000 more homeowners in the coming year.  We carry a note on the house, so insurance is mandatory.  Fortunately, we can still afford to pay this amount but, as retirees with limited income, our financial cushion is rapidly being devoured.

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When our homeowners' insurance notice came around, it was doubled.  When we asked why, they said that it was because we made two claims on our house.  We had not and asked that they give us specifics.  Little did we know that a cell phone was considered a house.  We bought a personal properties policy for only 35$ a year because the ATT salesperson said that our own personal properties policy would be cheaper than the policy that ATT supplied.  Within six months two of our family cell phones had to be replaced.  We thought we had been smart. Now this will be on our record for two years.  I would like to know how all this information is connected!!  It may be legal, but it is not moral!!  The insurance companies are getting away with lame reasons to raise our premiums because the Department of Insurance lets them get away with it.  

Michelle Kurtz

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My cancellation notice from Allstate regarding windstorm and hailstorm coverage arrived in August.  My 100 year old farmhouse was built in 1908 from timber that fell on family property in the 1906 hurricane.  It has been continuously occupied by family members since that time.  My husband and I have lived there for the past 26 years.  No insurance claim has ever been filed on this property.   We are four miles east of the bay behind the high bluffs of Daphne.  My insurance agent told me that if we lived in Rosinton, a community 91/2 miles due east of here, that my rates would be lower.  Rosinton is exactly the same distance north from the gulf that we are, now, for 2/1/2 times as much as last year, we are part of the pool, and Allstate still covers us, but only for fire.

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My cancellation notice from Allstate regarding windstorm and hailstorm coverage arrived in August.  My 100 year old farmhouse was built in 1908 from timber that fell on family property in the 1906 hurricane.  It has been continuously occupied by family members since that time.  My husband and I have lived there for the past 26 years.  No insurance claim has ever been filed on this property.   We are four miles east of the bay behind the high bluffs of Daphne.  My insurance agent told me that if we lived in Rosinton, a community 91/2 miles due east of here, that my rates would be lower.  Rosinton is exactly the same distance north from the gulf that we are, now, for 2/1/2 times as much as last year, we are part of the pool, and Allstate still covers us, but only for fire.

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I would like to speak to the insurance issues in Baldwin County as the both the Chairman of the Family Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County and as a twelve year veteran of the mortgage business. Lest anyone have the mistaken impression that the current insurance plight only affects “rich people on the coast”,  I would like to explain how it has impacted Habitat for Humanity. Very simply because of the simultaneous and disproportionate increase in taxes and insurance, we can no longer extend our housing program to those at the lowest end of the income scale. Yet these are the very people who need our help the most. Previously, a typical Habitat mortgage payment would be approximately $250. Now, the payments range between $350-500.

Therefore, those people who make minimum wage or who are living on disability, can no longer afford our payments. Yet, they are the very ones living in poverty housing.

In the mortgage field, I have met a vast spectrum of people from  senior citizens who used their life savings to purchase their retirement homes here to first time homeowner’s who are having to give up their home because they can no longer afford their payments. This is not because they had bad mortgages but because their insurance doubled and tripled.

Affordable housing cannot be obtained without affordable insurance.

Sherry S. Weaver
Chairman Family Selection Committee
Habitat for Humanity of Baldwin County

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My name is Judy Goodman and I live at 22353 Peed Place, Gulf Shores, Alabama. I am 69 years old and have been a resident at this address for the past 13 years.

When I decided to retire here, I purposely bought a small, brick home located north of the canal bridge a couple of miles from highway 59 (east on county road 4). I got a mortgage that was within my very limited budget, since I am on a low fixed income plus interest from my savings. My home insurance at the time of purchase was just under $600 a year. Well, we all know what has happened. Like others, I have watched my insurance double, then triple, then double that again until the few quotes I have received are up to $6,000.

I was informed by Allstate about six months ago that they would no longer write wind and hail on my home. I called many places and most would not insure me at all due to the fact that my home was built before 2000 and because of location. My little house is miles from the beach and has stood the test of time since it was built in 1970 and is still standing. I did have damage from Hurricane Ivan, but it was actually from a tornado that spun off resulting in three trees falling and damaging my roof.

Of course, you may imagine the anguish this has caused me. Here I felt sure that, by being frugal and saving, I would be able to take care of myself and not have to worry about necessities. In actuality my safe little “nest” and “nest-egg” both came crashing down because of excessive insurance costs.

I have solved the problem the only way I was able to and at great cost to me resulting in a constant worry about the future. Since I could not get any insurance that I could begin to afford, it was necessary to pay off my mortgage because they insisted on total insurance for my home. (Allstate was quite happy to insure for fire, at approximately the same cost that included wind 10 years or less ago.)

In order to pay off my mortgage, I was forced to cash in my retirement investments early (hefty penalty); this also necessitated selling stock in this extremely low market for less than the purchase price years ago. I also had to significantly deplete my savings account depriving me of the extra interest dollars that I so desperately needed per month. I simply do not feel this is fair and do not understand why some regulations and/or controls are not enforced for these insurance companies.

Not only am I unable to have (or afford) insurance now, I live in a constant state of unrest, worrying about not only a storm damaging my home but mainly worrying about what my future days may hold. What if I need that extra money for “care” as I further age? – that extra money I was forced to forfeit by cashing in my “nest-egg” which provided me the security I should have at this time in my life. People with homes need help!

One more final thing: we are ALL facing the economic problems in our country resulting in home values declining. Add to that the inability to sell because most buyers cannot get or cannot afford the outrageously high cost of insurance, and the poor sellers may just as well give away or abandon their homes. Our homes are usually our most valuable dollar assets. What a shame that the greed of powerful insurance companies can destroy so much. All we can do is rely on our elected and appointed officials (and prayer) to help us
.
Sincerely,
Judy B. Goodman

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We have a homeowner who had a total payment of $177.86 a month which included insurance.  Well, early last year she changed insurance companies because the one she had put up their rates.  In the meantime the mortgage co. (Regions) only had a figure of $919 for insurance which was paid by them.  The new figure of $2134 was never figured into the escrow which made a large shortfall.  This year the rate has gone up to $2744 further adding to the escrow deficit.  In order for the homeowner to catch up she would need to pay $599.21 a month this year.  Her monthly S. Sec check is just over $500 and she has no other income.  Regions has offered to spread the deficit over two years at $466.77 a month or over three years at $417.29.  Obviously this homeowner cannot pay any of these and in another year the insurance will probably go up again.  We really don't know what to advise her and she feels that we should sort it out for her.  She has had the home since 02.  I have been trying to get new estimates for insurance but so far have not received any quotes.  Any suggestions?

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Per our conversation on Wednesday March 4 we are submitting our insurance history for you to present to the State Legislators.  We hope that they will see that there is indeed an insurance crisis in South Alabama.

YEAR

INSURER

COVERAGE

COST

HUR. DEDUCT.

02-03

Alfa

$118,200

$1035.00

2%

03-04

Alfa

$118,200

$1077.00

2%

04-05

Alfa

$127,000

$1167.00

2%


July 05             Alfa no longer will cover wind and hailstorm.

We did have a claim with Alfa of $5500.00 for tree damage due to Hurricane Ivan.

At this time we shopped around and found that Allstate had the best price, but also required that we had to have our auto coverage with them for six months before we could get homeowners with them.  We did that and got a new policy with them.

05-06 Allstate $160,000 $1216.00 2%
06-07 Allstate $172,000 $1338.00 2%
07-08 Allstate $184,000 $2460.00 5%

On March 31, 2008 we received a letter from Allstate saying they would not cover any loss or damage caused by windstorm or hail upon renewal of our policy.  

Again we shopped around and found the best that we could do was to go with Alabama Insurance Underwriters Associations for our windstorm and hail coverage for the cost of $3403.00

This policy is not for replacement value but for actual cash value only.  Besides the fact that this insurance is very expensive, its lack of replacement value makes it almost useless but our mortgage company requires that we have this coverage.

Our total insurance cost for 08-09 is $4220.00

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From: "larry livingston" <lliving36@mchsi.com>
To: blindog@bellsouth.net
Subject: March 11 Testimony at Montgomey, Al.
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2009 14:54:14 +0000

I read the news article in the Sat. 7 March edition of the Islander,page 7A.  "HOMEOWNERS HURRICANE INSURANCE GROUP TO GIVE TESTIMONY"
I am writing to applaud your efforts to make the Legislative Insurance committee aware of the exorbitant insurance premiums homeowners are being charged in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. I understand most owners South of Interstate 10 pay higher premiums and South of US Highway 98 pay extremely high rates "IF" they can locate an insurance company that will offer insurance coverage for their home.

Here is my personal testimony for the record: Only one company would offer coverage- Lloyd's of London underwritten by Southern Cross Underwriters in Moorehead City, NC. [Whitehaven Ins. Gulf Shores]

I am Retired US Army-My wife and I put forth most of our life savings into a large down-payment on a nice retirement home in March of 2005 near the Bon Secour River on Plash Island, Gulf Shores,Al. I knew the HO premiums would be higher than inland homes not near or on the water. I accept that fact and had planned on that in our budget.  What I did not know was what was going to happen with the annual rates. My HO 2005 premium with a $25,000.00 Wind/Hail Deduction was $1700.00 for $200,000.
In 2006 the premium was increased to $2756.00
In 2007 the premium was increased to $3286.00
In 2008 the premium was increased to $4240.00
For 2009 the premium will be $5138.00- I did increase the home coverage to $261,000 which would in fairness account for part of the last increase. 
Overall that is an increase of about 300% in four years! Our monthly HO plus my Flood Ins. Premium [which is reasonable] is nearly $500.00 per month. That is a third of my mortgage payment. On a fixed income it makes it very difficult to cope with. If I had known insurance would cost that much I may not have purchased a home here in this area.

I do not expect to pay the same rate [lower] as an owner not in a hazardous area.  However, to pay three to five times more is just not acceptable or fair to the residents who have invested their hard earned money in property near or along the Gulf Coast and now face annual property tax increases plus insurance increases than double every year!  And these increases may force many to sell their homes at prices less than they paid for them a few years ago or default on their loans! Insurance companies must share the pain in these uncertain economic times just like EVEYONE ELSE!!

Any relief in the order of adjustments or pooling of owners to bring down the rates will be welcome. Thank you for your efforts!  I hope you have some success with your meeting!

Sincerely,
Larry D. Livingston CW4 [US Army Retired]
16163A Bon Bay Drive
Gulf Shores, Al. 36542

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I have been with USAA since 1956 and, until 2005, always had my homeowners' insurance with them. That year, I built a new home in Live Oak Village (off CR 24) and moved back to Foley from Lillian. When I tried to insure my new home with USAA, I was informed the wind coverage would be through the Alabama Insurance Underwriting Assoc. This made the homeowners insurance prohibitively expensive and I switched my homeowners to State Farm. Currently, I pay around $2400/year with State Farm. USAA is still using the Alabama Insurance for wind coverage which results in annual premiums of close to $4000. I recently spoke with USAA and asked why, after 10 years with no hurricanes, plus no major hurricane damage in Foley for as long as I can remember, are they continuing with the Alabama Insurance? I also cited your (HHII) analysis that coastal loses from hurricanes are $622/policy versus $722/policy for the rest of Alabama. Their response was, essentially, that their policy criteria is driven by computer models of what might happen. Based upon your analysis, coastal Alabama is subsidizing the rest of the state. Hopefully, through your organization, this inequity can be rectified.

Posted 7/13/2015

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
A Baldwin County Homeowner expresses his feelings

As a part of Alabama coastal county homeowners I am trying to cope with our insanely high homeowner’s insurance premiums and deductible rates. October 21st I learned from the newly released facts of the Clarity Law that requires homeowner insurance companies to report by zip code the amount of money they received in premiums and the amount they paid in claims. For 2013 Baldwin County homeowner’s paid $89 million in premiums and received $9.3 million in claims paid – pretty large difference! In Mobile County homeowner’s paid $145 million in premiums and received only $35 million in claims paid– Wow an even larger difference. (For an unknown reason ADOI pulled these numbers off line soon after they were released). To make matters worse instead of the typical $1,000 deductible that all Alabama homeowners have, the folks in the two coastal counties now pay a 2% to 10% deductible based on the value of their home that they must pay BEFORE insurance policy payment. This amounts is many thousands dollars that typical families do not have in their cash reserves. Of course this makes them UNINSURED in the real world.

Looks absurdly excessive to me but the official stand of the Alabama Department of insurance top management is that the coastal counties are not paying enough! The ADOI assumes worst case multiple major hurricanes for the Alabama coast every year for losses, clearly this will never happen. Since 2007 with the blessing of the Alabama Insurance Commission, coastal homeowner’s have been ripped-off, gouged, incredibly over charged by 300% to 600%.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Governor Bentley appoints the top management of the ADOI and has “studied” the outrageous problem with various panels made up of mainly insurance folks. Not surprising little relief has resulted other than to build or up-grade to stronger homes. Again, of course it is quite hard to upgrade when you are forced to spend extremely high amounts for insurance, especially for deductibles. Please contact Governor Bentley and request he appoint consumer oriented top management immediately to the ADOI. Alabama Law statutes states that rates must not be: * Excessive to consumer, *Inadequate to the Industry, *UNFAIRLY DISCRIMINATORY. Governor Bentley himself stated on 710 AM in Mobile on September 30, 2014 Uncle Henry radio morning show concerning this subject that “IT IS UNFAIR THE WAY IT IS DONE.” I feel Governor Bentley should therefore replace the present ADOI top management who are obviously and negligently not following the existing laws of the state and certainly are not fairly representing Coastal Alabama. Governor Bentley should also validate HHII’s data.

The 800 pound gorilla in the corner presently being ignored is the crisis that will occur in the mortgage and real estate markets when thousands of home owners walk away from their storm damaged homes because they cannot fund repairs! Governor Bentley – phone 334-242-7100 fax 334-353-0004 email fill out form on his website. http://governor.alabama.gov/contact.

Posted 10/31/2014

Location: Daphne, AL In Bay Branch Estates subdivision. (US 90 1 mile east of route 181 and 2 miles SOUTH OF i10). Premiums have amost tripled since we bought the home in August, 2008. 2006 built 3000 sq.ft. Home with value about $250,000. No claims ever filed.

2008 premiums: $1551

2010 premiums: $1900

2014 premiums: over $4160/ year.

Posted 6/13/2014

I just want to say that I know that most of the hurricane damage was north of us here in Gulf Shores. But yet we pay higher insurance rates. I myself can cancel my insurance because I own my home.  And probably will.  I am not going to pay for somebody else.  I am tired of paying for those who don't pay their fair share. 

I've lived here for 10 years with no damage at all from 4 major hurricanes. My neighbors lost their home to forclosure as did about 20 or thirty more not because of housing market but because they couldn't afford the $200.00 increase in their mortgage payments. The insurance companies caused the problem but nobody even said anything about this.

Posted 6/13/2014

I have 5 rental homes in Baldwin county -3 in Lake Forest, another in Daphne and 1 in Fairhope. Due to wind coverage over the past several years, my insurance costs have more than tripled. I have never had a claim in my history owning these properties for over 10 years. I just received notice of across the board increases again this year. Thank you for your efforts to reduce these premiums and eliminate the injustice with regard to these insurance rates.

Posted 2/4/2013

I live in Gulf Shores Alabama. My wife and I have regular jobs and medium incomes, have done our best to try and sustain this debacle with wind and hail.  We bought our home thirteen years ago and had a fixed rate, knew what our payments were going to be and were able to afford the home so we purchased it. Today I might as well have a variable rate with insurance rates continuing to rise. Today I am paying in access of $550.00 a month for wind and hail insurance, which I understand really doesn't pay for anything in the case of a hurricane. The documents tell you what the AIUA doesn't pay but never tells you what it pays. Go figure, ha! We both drive vehicles in access of ten years old. we can't afford a new vehicle. What are we suppose to do? We have waited and waited for someone or something to come along and help us. To date that hasn't happened. We are now having to make a decision on whether to sell or home or not. We are scared if we wait to long we will loose it to foreclosure. Is there any solution to this madness. The Governor ran on this issue, 'elect me and I'll fix it', well ha! Have a great day and we hope you can afford your insurance.

P.S. We haven't been able to make or house payment on time in two years. So now our credit is ruined. Thank you, Governor, you're doing a fantastic job. Oh and they saying if you live in Gulf Shores you must be rich. Well come to my house, Governor, and you will see that's not even close to true. Why can't you help us.

Posted 10/8/2013

A neighbor e-mailed me the U-Tube video. Please help us. I had my insurance cancelled and am 80 yrs. old only have SS income and am paying a huge amount to have coverage. Thank you.

Posted 9/25/2012

My homeowners insurance with ALFA has almost doubled since 2010. In 2010, it was $974.00, in 2011 it went up to $1360, and for 2012 it went up to $1683.

My home is 1150 square foot, and I live in the loop area of Mobile, not on water front.

This has made my mortgage note go up $116 a MONTH since 2010! My social security hasn't gone up to cover this either.

Is there anything they are ACTUALLY doing to lower this? I've heard for several years insurance was going down. How come mine is now close to double what it was 2 years ago?

Posted 7/25/2012

We built our home in South Baldwin County in 2005 and it was completed in Spring of 2006, after Hurricane Ivan. Katrina happened during construction.

When we started looking for a mortgage to replace the construction loan we started looking for insurance as well. I had a difficult time finding insurers who would write a policy, they had demarcations such as "No new policies south of I-10". Finally I found one that would write the house provided we had our cars insured with them for 90 days first and the premium was $1100.00. Then it started going up every year and was at $2300.00 by 2010. Last year they simply dropped wind and hail, and our premium was still over $1000. I never replaced it and so am under-insured right now. The best quote I have gotten for full coverage is $2950.00 and with the huge deductibles, and reduced income due to the economy (self employed) we still feel better taking our chances. A 250% increase in 6 years is outrageous.

I wrote to the State back when it almost doubled overnight and told them there was a looming insurance crisis. They did nothing and once the tornadoes hit it was too late. I am 8 miles from the beach and we've never made any kind of claim..

Posted 7/25/2012

I have been insured since my home was built in 2001 by Baldwin Mutual Insurance. I have never made a claim. After Ivan, we cleaned up 12 trees, spent around 3000. out of our own pocket. I am undersured because I cannot afford to insure my home for its real value. I have 150.000 on the house and 50,000 on contents. My latest premium soared to $2,456.00. I am 5 miles from the Gulf. I am unable to pay this premium annually. I make four quarterly payments of 614.00. Baldwin Mutual has the Audasity to charge me $10.00 a payment or ($40.00) extra a year as if I had borrowed money from them. What happened to Usuary Laws. Can people just do anything they want? We had planned to be in this house untill we passed but we may have to leave the County and Let the Wealthy Northern and Midwestern people have it.

Posted 6/29/2012

I just received a notice of cancellation from ALFA insurance Company concerning my rental property @ 2203 Pratt Dr. Mobile, Al. 36605. This property has been insured for a year and they also have my primary home and my automobiles covered. Both homes are located south of I-10.

This is what the letter said:

You are hereby notified in accordance with the terms of the policy identified above that the policy is terminated effective on the DATE AND TIME shown above. No further protection will be provided under this policy after the stated date and time.
This decision was made due to the following reasons:
*this risk does not meet our mininmum underwriting requirements
*the substantial change in the risk due to a liability exposure
Our check for the premium refund will be sent to your mortgage company.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHY DID THEY INSURE IT IN THE 1ST PLACE IF IT DID NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS? WHAT SUBSTANTANTIAL CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE?

The property is under lease with Prudential Real Estate.

I need insurance NOW, can you refer me to someone?

Wanda Platt

Posted 5/16/2012

My Husband and I own a modest home in Fairhope. $150,000.00 home with a mortgage of $115,000.00. We are on SSD as our only means of income. Every year since Ivan our homeowner's Insurance has increased 25 to 30%. We have never had a claim. Now our insurance is about $6000.00 a year and our monthly insurance bill is about the same as our mortgage. I have complained to the insurance company and the Ala. INs. commission and nothing helps. I have tried to find insurance elsewhere and cannot. It looks like we will lose our home of 16 years because of the insurance

Posted 4/30/2012

I just received notice that my homeowners is doubling. $830 to over $1600!  All premiums paid for the last year from escrow on time.  No claims.  My rate jumped because of a credit scoring.  No, my credit isn't bad.  Taking out a mortgage loan will drop your score. Older good standings dropped off, decreasing my credit history length and I refuse to take out a high interest credit card that could tax my budget.  No collections, negatives.  Excellent payment history.  This will likely send my monthly payments out of comfortable reach.  Will likely lose my home.  I can't change insurance companies.  If I shop around, the credit pulls will hurt my score even further. The American dream?

Posted 3/18/2012

I was at the meeting in Spanish Cove and was told to call the DOI which I did when I got back home. The person I spoke to didn’t seem too concerned that my premium is going up almost 300%.

I am insured currently with Baldwin Mutual and my new insurance cost will be almost $1,500 for $25,000 insurance, what is happening here.

When I questioned Frank Woerner? he said that they probably caught up with me. What kind of an answer is that?

I am in the process of trying to find other insurance but they all seem to be at or over $1,000 a year that includes $1,000 ded, $20,000 insurance and that is not counting theft and liability.

I can not seem to get the right answers. And being a widow my funds are not unlimited, I do need to watch my pennies. I get $180,000 insurance on my home in North Carolina right now for less than $700.

Posted 3/7/2012

I've lived in Daphne nine years.  My home owners started at about $2600 annually with a $500 deductible on a house appraised around $200K.  Post Katrina I've had to pay over $7,000 at one point and currently pay $4,200 for AIUA plus fire plus a 5% deductible.  In case you're not aware the AIUA policy is absolutely worthless.  Anything lost due to a hurricane is reimbursed at a depreciated value.  However, if my house was totaled due to a tornado I would get 100% reimbursed.

Getting quotes previously I've been told I must get reinforced storm shutters or hurricane windows on my house and a reinforced hurricane garage door for my detached garage and then they (Met Life) would send someone out to do a thorough inspection!  That's a $10,000 investment just to be considered!  After I was dropped by Met Life and attempted to get insurance through them again I told that they would not write a policy unless we had flood insurance.  I live at the top of a hill 100 feet above the Mobile Bay.  I told them if my house floods then they've got bigger concerns than my claim.

It is truly remarkable that we cannot reasonable coverage for our largest investment. Given the options we have most of us feel like we're  self insured.

Posted 3/1/2012

I have been a Realtor in South Mobile County for over 15 years. I opened Port City Realty in the Tillman's Corner/Theodore area in 2001. In 2001 we did not have the insurance issues that we have now. Since 2005 insurance has been an issue daily. Since 2005 I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "not south of I-10 from buyers." In the past year we have seen a trend towards higher premiums even when we are selling properties in town and in West Mobile. It's not just south of I-10 anymore.

Did you know?
 • Insurance companies use NATIONAL construction cost numbers to determine how     much replacement cost coverage is needed.
 • Local construction costs are less than the national average in our area.
 • Even if you have a low mortgage or no mortgage, in order to have replacement cost     coverage on your home, insurance companies use numbers that are too high for our     area.
 • MOST homeowners are paying for more insurance than they need.
 • They use national numbers for how much insurance you need and then they charge     you more because you live in Mobile or Baldwin County.
 • By claiming it would be too difficult to compute local numbers the insurance     companies are getting away with highway robbery.
 • The excuse that the insurance companies don’t have a better way to determine     replacement cost coverage is absolutely no excuse for over-insuring everyone and     therefore over-charging everyone. And the excuse that the insurance company is just     trying to protect the consumer from being under-insured is simply protection the     average person does not need. They are protecting people straight into foreclosure!
 • There is no system in place to dispute what the insurance company claims is the     replacement cost coverage.
 • We need a system to dispute the cost to replace.

Here's one example: I recently sold a small, wood framed 1950's cottage for $84,000, the appraisal for the mortgage company confirmed the sale amount. The buyer after shopping several companies, was required to purchase coverage for $150,000 because that was the replacement cost based on the NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION NUMBERS.

If your insurance company says it is going to cost $150,000 to replace your house, but you can get a written estimate from a licensed home contractor or appraiser that says the cost the replace your house would be $100,000 and you owe $100,000 or less, you should be able to buy less insurance.

One Proposed Solution:
Appraisers are required to determine the sales value of homes and also THE REPLACEMENT COST based on local standards. The system they use is the Marshall Swift book. It contains National costs as well as local costs for every region of the country.

Homeowners should be able to dispute the coverage required just as we can dispute the value assessments for our property taxes.

  Posted 9/4/2011

This is not so much an insurance horror story (although it could be!), but is my experience with having to find affordable homeowners insurance in the wake of the recent homeowner policy cancellations for wind/hail coverage.

I live in the Hollowbrook subdivision just south of highway 181 and 104 (about 5 1/2 miles from the bay) and have had homeowners/auto insurance with the same company for the last 5 years. To save about $700 for this coming year, I chose an all-peril policy with a $5000 deductible, which would have been effective June 29, 2011, at a cost of $1884.08 for these coverages (based on their "formula"): dwelling-$185,000; other structures-18,500; personal property-$138,750; loss of use-$92,500; personal liability-$300,000; medical payments-$1000.00. This quote included these discounts: 50 plus, new home, auto/home, and non-smoker.

In March of 2011, I was sent a letter informing me that my insurance company would no longer insure my property in Fairhope AL for wind and hail "due to substantial exposure to windstorm losses." In May of 2011 I received a new homeowner policy quote with a $5000 deductible and a windstorm and hail exclusion at a reduced premium of $106.80 for these coverages: dwelling-$185,000; other structures-$18,500; personal property-$138,750; loss of use-$74,000; personal liability-$300,000; medical payments-$1000.00. This would provide $116 per square foot to rebuild my home, but would not provide guaranteed replacement cost coverage. I believe this quote also assumes that I would also continue insuring my automobile.

For reference, my brick veneer house is 1595 square feet; additions/improvements include gas line, fireplace, upgraded appliances, fenced back yard, screened back porch, concrete patio, water feature, and extensive landscaping. Its current estimated value on Zillow is $148,000; the same model in my subdivision in now selling for a base price of about $142,500, which comes out to about $90 per square foot.

Based on the above square footage and estimated price to rebuild at the current building cost per square foot, the best premium quote from a local insurance agency I have received so far ($2,182) includes a wind/hail deductible of 5% and all-other perils deductible of $2,500, and would provide these coverages: dwelling-$150,000; other structures-$0.00; personal property-$50,000; loss of use-$12,000; personal liability-$300,000; medical payments-$1000.00.

If I chose to accept the above quote and had to file a claim due to wind or hail, $7500 would come out of my pocket before the insurance company would pay. In all of the 36 years I have been a homeowner in Mobile or Fairhope, the only claim I ever made, and that an insurance company ever had to pay for was after Frederic, for wind damage to the shingles on my roof. So, unless a tornado directly hits my current property (unlikely), repairing or replacing a damaged roof is most commonly what I would absorb the cost for, out of my deductible. My potential annual cost then, for premiums/deductibles: $2182 + $7500=$9682. Probable cost to the insurance company in this case: $0.00. Probable annual cost to the insurance company over the life of the policy: negligible. Return on my “investment”: also negligible. The odds hardly seem in favor of the homeowner. Maybe if insurance companies were to return the amount paid for premiums or offer vanishing deductibles after so many years if no claims were filed, I might feel as if the risks vs. payouts were more evenly distributed.

From what I understand, homeowners who live south of I-10 are paying higher premiums than those who live in the northern counties of Alabama. If this is the case, and considering all of the claims incurred by insurers for the recent tornado activity in those areas, the cost of homeowners insurance in this state needs to be more fairly assessed. And from what I've learned about the model used by the insurance companies in this state to calculate the premiums it charges for homeowners insurance, and especially for wind/hail coverage, it would make me feel better if I knew their figures were accurate and reflected the true cost of providing coverage to all of its Alabama customers.

 Posted 6/9/2011

I was encouraged when I started to read the May 29 Press-Register editorial ("Insurance has to be a statewide issue now"). My enthusiasm disappeared just as quickly as the focus of the editorial shifted from insurance to the need for a statewide building code.

Everybody should be able to agree on the merits of a common, strengthened building code. But the elephant in the living room that was completely ignored is the continuing and growing burden in insurance costs borne by coastal residents.

In my case, my home suffered minor damage in Hurricane Ivan and none in Katrina. The real damage was to come later. My insurance carrier of 40-plus years abruptly canceled my policy. In its place, I now pay an annual premium that is five times higher, with a wind deductible that is almost 20 times higher.

And, if that weren’t enough, the deductible for all other perils increased tenfold. If this were football, insurers would be penalized for "piling on."

Your editorial offered the hope that north Alabama would not suffer the policy cancellations and premium increases that coastal residents have experienced because they have "suffered enough already." Does that imply that we have not suffered enough?

Let’s have another editorial about the fundamental principle of shared risk that the insurance industry still claims to embody but has conveniently forgotten. That discussion might also include the need to share the premium pain equitably throughout the state.

Damaging winds do not honor arbitrary lines drawn on a map, and insurance companies should not be allowed to draw them.

KURT KEENE Gulf Shores

Posted 6/7/2011

AT RENEWAL IN AUGUST, MY WINDSTORM AND HAIL COVERAGE IS BEING DROPPED BY STATE FARM.  I'M IN GULF SHORES ON WEDGEWOOD DR.  I EXPECT MY PREMIUMS TO GO FROM ABOUT $3670 TO $7000. NOT FUN.  AND I HAVE A MORTGAGE.

 Posted 5/20/2011

I just got my Allstate cancellation today. I'm 89 years old and lived in my house for 40 years. Only filed one claim in 40 years and have had Allstate for many years. This whole thing is out of control, it's a fraud on the public.

As most of us in our elder years we would never have imagined our country would be in the condition it currently is after fighting for it in WWII. That our politician have committed treason on the American people and this nation. Not only am I sickened by this insurance increase I'm sickened by our government (State and Federal). It's pathetic and downright criminal.

Politicians have tried to convince Americans ever since the economic collapse of the housing market and financial market that somehow we were all to blame. Hog Turds, and that's what your politicians are nasty hog turds. The American public has been fooled by our politicians. What appalling is they are trying to convince all of us its our fault that the economy collapsed, this is to save their hide and as long as they could convince you we were all had a part in it when they actually destroyed this economy and country. But as long as ignorant Americans buy that bluff they've got you right where they want you. Behind closed doors they are laughing at the American public, saying "can you believe we practically destroyed the country, collapsed world markets and we didn't get hung in the court house square by a mob of outraged Americans, heck we can do anything now to the American people because they are just plain stupid".

Your politicians are laughing at you because they robbed Social Security, manipulating the financial markets and your not dong anything. . Now they are trying to convince the young people of America they have to work longer to get social security. Are you kidding me! Surely American people aren't falling for this deceptive rhetoric. They are manipulating the younger generation convincing them to work longer for SS when they, the republican and democrats, destroyed Social security. Then they convinced most all! of us to invest in the market as 401k plans and they manipulated and destroyed the faith in that system.  And destroyed the housing market as well. Social Security needs to be saved for the younger generation since there are no more retirements from companies and the financial markets can't be trusted along with home values can't be trusted to be there. Then they have almost convinced the younger kids in their 20s and 30s they won't have SS when they get old. Good God, they have brain washed the young kids. Your career politicians are very sick and have need to be taken out of office.

What scares me the most is Americans old and young are just rolling over like sheep to the slaughter. I'm not sure who scares me more our corrupted government, Republican and Democratic politicians, or naive complacent Americans who are letting your government put you in the streets like some dog. There has been no one running this country for 40 years, and now the ship is sinking and the government politicians past and present need to be held accountable. I pray to God the young people in America will wake-up, organize and string up all these old gray haired corrupt politicians that have perpetrated the biggest fraud on the American public in the history of this nation.

This brings me back to the Insurance increase which is criminal and another fraud passed by your politicians causing economic treason on the American public. Im 89 years old fought in WWII, Korea, worked in the business sector for 50 years and I'll fight these corrupt treasonous Republican and Democratic politicians till I die. They wont smear their nasty feces in my face. And if the rest of you don't get up out of your complacent stooper your ass is going to be on the streets with a tin can in your hand and when your politician drives pass you all he will do is spit in your tin can and laugh at you. Thats what they think of you the American public. God help us and God Bless American as long as it stands or as long as people will stand for it!!!!

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Posted 4/14/2011

Read Jason Horn (the Insurance Guy)'s letter to Senator Shelby

 

Our story is that we have owned our home since November of 2003.  We are insured through Allstate, including cars - - as that got us the better deal when we signed up.  We did not have a claim after Ivan or Katrina.  The home is solid brick, on the back side of the island, 13 ft above sea level.  Two years ago our rates increased about 50% to $1,200.  We expected that.  Then a year ago it doubled to $2,400, increasing our mortgage payment by $400.  We did not expect that.  Now we have been notified that this year, Allstate has cancelled wind coverage.  The only available coverage appears to be through a company in Mississippi.  Through them, we would double our rates again, to $4,600….with an estimate of an additional $500 (minimum) on our mortgage to cover the escrow.  Right now, apparently there’s been some miscommunication and our mortgage company has not realized our new coverage is minus the wind.  They paid Allstate for the coming year at the VERY reduced rate of $700 (no wind) and haven’t realized yet we don’t have the wind.  When they do, they will force us to get it.  When that happens, we will go into foreclosure.  We were struggling to make the additional $400 a month……another $500+ will not happen.  We work hard.  My husband has his own business.  He’s on the Planning & Zoning Board.  I homeschool our daughter.  We participate in this community.  We love Orange Beach.  It’s where my husband spent his childhood, and we have lived here almost 7 years.  We have never been late on a payment, but the economy has devastated our business and  it’s taking all we have to get by.  The insurance issue will be the final blow.  We are, of course, praying the paperwork mistake goes unnoticed by our mortgage company for this year.  We’ll know in the next few weeks I suppose. he next few weeks I suppose. 

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THESE ARE THE CURRENT DEDUCTIBLE OPTIONS WITH AIUA (THE BEACH POOL) OFFER OF COVERAGE:
 
  5% HURRICANE WITH AOP  $ 500=        $ 3680
  5% HURRICANE WITH AOP  $1000=           3424
  "       "                   "        "        2500=          3021
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
10%     "                   "        "          500=       $ 3095
  "        "                   "        "        1000=          2878
  "        "                   "        "        2500           2542
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
THIS INSURANCE COVERAGE IS FOR $131,000   BUILDING....
                                                               $ 90,000  CONTENTS
 
5% HURRICANE DEDUCTIBLE                $   6,500
ALL OTHER PERILS                                 $   2,500
 
UNBELIEVABLE....
 
I HAVEN'T MADE A DECISION YET...
 
JUST THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SEE WHAT 2009 HURRICANE COVERAGE IN GULF SHORES....1 1/2 MILES FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO....ZONE 1...
 
I HAVE NEVER MADE A HURRICANE CLAIM IN 25 YEARS.....IN 2004 AFTER IVAN THE TERRIBLE...I MADE A SMALL CLAIM FOR LODGING WHILE I WAS AWAY FROM MY HOME.....THAT IS IT.....I AM SHOPPING FOR COVERAGE ELSEWHERE...I HAVE UNTIL NOV. 3, 2009......

 
THANKS

 
BARBARA SPARKMAN

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Another Vale of Tears

Bob Morgan reports our Bill Dawkins' story in the Islander

 

Hang on to your hats--- Our bill for W and H coverage is now ( as of Aug.09) $7200.
No, we are not on the water and yes, we are 200 feet above sea level.
We were paying about 2700. a year.  City location is Daphne.
So hang on guys, it is going to get worse.

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We live in Lillian, having moved here in 2004. We had no damage to a house during Ivan, as our house was not yet built. We were living in our RV. The house was finished in 2005. That year we paid $600 to AllState for coverage, including windstorm. The next year, the insurance rose to $1200 for full coverage. This year AllState cancelled our windstorm coverage, forcing us to the "beach pool", and raising our premium to $3200. We are 43 feet off Perdido Bay, across the road and some distance from the water. In our subdivision, there were minor repairs during Ivan to shingles, etc. caused by wind, but nothing major. We would like to self insure, but we can't, since we have a home mortgage. We are retired and on a fixed income. This is a huge financial burden for us both. We are trying to find work at the present time, but know that in a few years, we might not be physically able to work, unable to sell our house due to the insurance premium, and in a word: trapped in the situation.

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My agency, Eastern Shore Affordable Housing, has several houses. People who work in our $6-to-$12-an-hour-paying jobs rent them. They can barely afford what little I charge. Their car breaks down, or they miss a few days work because they’re sick, or their power bill goes extra high one month, or gas prices jump and they fall behind on their rent. The next month some fall further behind. Now Christmas is just around the corner.

If I add just the increased cost of wind insurance to these rental houses, I’ll have to increase the rent I charge these people another $100 or more a month.

I don’t carry homeowner’s insurance on my own house because it’s too expensive.I run a thrift shop in Fairhope. The proceeds helps people with their housing needs. My rent for the shop increased by $300 a month because of the hurricane insurance costs.

This insurance problem is making low-income rental even more expensive, and something needs to be done about the premiums

Sr. Julie Guillot, SJ
Founder and Director

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I’ve been a Realtor in Baldwin County for over 14 years.  The recent housing crisis has affected our market, like almost every other area of the country – but, we now have been given a second “hit” to our local housing market.  I am talking about the negative impact from the increase in rates for Homeowners’ Insurance – with an increase in fees for wind coverage and higher deductibles.
My first question: How can the housing market in Baldwin County recover when the Buyers we, as Real Estate Agents,  work with go into “sticker shock” at the large costs to insure and walk away, not because they want to, but because they simply can’t afford to live here with such a high cost to insure?  Imagine being approved for a mortgage – then you get your final Homeowners’ Insurance quote and your payment jumps up a minimum of $400/monthly?   There also seems to be a misconception that only the “wealthy” live in Baldwin County – “at the beach” – and that the wealthy can afford the increase in Insurance rates.  Not everyone in Baldwin county lives in a $500,000 and up home!  The following facts are provided from the University of Alabama website (Alabama Center for Real Estate):

1. Total homes sold in the City of Birmingham – January 2009 – 564
2. Total homes sold in all of Baldwin County – January 2009 – 134 (Take into account the recent Auctions)
3. Median Selling Price in the City Birmingham – January 2009 - $129,900
4. Median Selling Price in all of Baldwin County – January 2009 - $176,250 (Take into account the recent Auctions)
5. Average Selling Price in the City of Birmingham – January 2009 - $151,584
6. Average Selling Price in all of Baldwin County – January 2009 - $231,077 (Take into account the recent Auctions)
7. A recent Auction of Gulf Front Condominiums in Baldwin County sold $600,000 - $700,000 valued condos for $200,000’s up to $300,000’s.  Penthouses valued at near $1,000,000 sold for in the $300,000 - $400,000’s at the Auction!  To the Buyers who bought – I’m sure they are thrilled. 

To the developers,  condominium owners, homeowners who are losing to foreclosures, auctions, short sales – it is a disaster.  You can shake your head and say, “They were speculating, trying to make a quick buck by investing in these condos and homes they are now losing.”  Not all the owners losing money in these actions were speculators – they were homeowners like me who worked hard, saved their money, bought their primary homes, their vacation homes – and helped pay our government officials salaries, helped add to Alabama coffers, helped pave your roads, repair or build your schools – and more! 

My next question: Have you looked at the Insurance companies maps for “seafront” and seen how far north in Baldwin County they now consider the “beach”.    If you live south of Interstate I-10, you are now or about to be seafront!   

My final question: Who will service the resort areas of Baldwin County?  Who will continue to help earn the over 20+% of the State of Alabama’s revenue coming from Baldwin County, going to help the other counties of Alabama survive? What will happen if the servers, merchants, condo owners, apartment owners, home owners who work and or live here - or rent their properties to vacationers and workers – when they can no longer afford to live or own in Baldwin County?  As the Insurance rates have gone up, the rentals fees will and are following.  Do you expect the workers to live outside the area and drive to Baldwin County to work, day after day?  Do you expect the vacationers – who have saved all year just to come to Baldwin County, to spend their money, that is then sent to add greatly to the State of Alabama’s coffers  – still be able to afford to come here, stay as long, spend as much money – if the increases that are and will come as Insurance rates continue to go up, make their costs to vacation/live here continue to go up?  Will Baldwin County become a “Ghost town”?  Will Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the jewels of the Alabama Gulf Coast, become one big Sandbar?  Will we see an increase in Foreclosures as the Insurance rates increase?  How will our housing market pull out of the continued downturn, finally stop and turn around?  We need help – and quickly!

Deborah Benton, Realtor
President, Timeless, LLC

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My husband, 10 y/o daughter and I live in Point Clear on beautiful Mobile Bay. We live in a 60 y/o home built by my husband's parents which we acquired 23 years ago when we married. We have a wonderful life in a wonderful setting and I'm not writing to solicit sympathy, but simply to reinforce some information about our area.

Our country and our state are in an economic crisis. Most of this crisis stems from problems related to housing. Homeowners insurance in Baldwin County is contributing to this economic crisis throughout the state of Alabama and it is spilling into the national economy, as well. Because of the exorbitant cost of insurance, homes are not being sold. The housing market is already a disaster, but the added burden of costly insurance is making this crisis worse. People have lost their savings and cannot buy a house with an annual insurance premium which they cannot afford. Banks aren't lending money for the additional premiums. For these same reasons, builders aren't building new homes. These builders are now losing their jobs and health benefits, along with members of the real estate industry, the supply industry, the electricians, the plumbers and the thousands of individuals in Mobile and Baldwin County associated with housing. Those thousands of people support other industries throughout the state, so those businesses and employees suffer, as well.

Existing homeowners are having their insurance canceled and new coverage is costing about 10 times more than it did 3 years ago. In addition to having lost our 401Ks, our children's college tuition savings, and the value of our homes, we are now paying thousands of dollars more each year for a service which we may never need. This means that we will be spending even less at the restaurants, malls, salons, and grocery stores. An overnight trip to Montgomery to see a play at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival with a stay at a hotel and dinner at a restaurant will be out of the question. Business in Huntsville will have to be conducted by phone. The vacation at Lake Martin will be canceled. The great shopping in Birmingham foregone. All of theses businesses and employees will lose money, all of whom pay taxes to the state of Alabama. Alabama is losing that tax revenue - yes, those little communities in northern Alabama are losing money because of the cost of insurance in south Alabama.

Businesses are closing everywhere, but they will close quicker here because of the exponential effect of our unique circumstances. Houses which Tuscaloosa residents used to rent in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will either be shuttered or the rental rates will rise significantly to cover the cost of insurance. The same with the condominiums and the hotels and the restaurants and the souvenir shops and the fishing boats and every business which services tourism. I don't have statistics, but I suspect that tourism along the Gulf is a major source of income for the State of Alabama. I also suspect that as this economy continues to shrink, more and more families throughout the country will be changing their vacations from the Caribbean and more exotic locales to the economical and beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast. The Alabama Coast is poised to become a major tourist draw as more of the nation adjusts it's travel interests and abilities. But we can lose out on that opportunity if the area cannot afford to operate as a destination.

My family and my husband's family has lived in this house for 60 years and has faithfully paid annual insurance premiums to Allstate for all of those years. In the 23 years that we have lived here, we have made 2 claims and I believe his parents may have made 2. Without a doubt, the premiums paid in have been much greater than the claims paid out. Allstate has made a very nice profit off our family, but future profit doesn't appear to be as great, so our insurance has been canceled. We were good, loyal customers for many years, but now we look a bit weathered and not so pretty and Allstate and the other insurance companies are dumping us for the more attractive models. I understand that they are businesses but businesses must be accountable (wasn't a lack of accountability a reason for the banks, and subsequently the economy, failing?).

If I have learned anything in recent months, it's that what happens in California or Detroit or China or Gees Bend, also effects me. Like it or not, we are all now financially connected. I would like to think that we were always morally connected and would want to help each other during this very scary time in history. I appreciate any support the state can give us in order that we can continue to support the great state of Alabama.

Thank you,
Jeri Jones Harrison

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Page last updated 7/13/2015