Floridians who are reading this article know that homeowners insurance in the Sunshine State has become extremely expensive, with the average homeowner paying around $6,000 per year, according to Local10.com.
Because of this expense, some Florida homeowners have chosen to "self-insure," which means the homeowner takes the money they would have paid to a homeowner insurer and saves the money to go toward future repairs or damage, as necessary.
According to Click Orlando, insurance analysts estimate that 15% of Floridians are self-insured.
However, some experts say that self-insuring is a risky proposition. Tasha Carter, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, told Florida's WESH in September of 2023, in part:
“It's very hard to adequately predict or prepare for an unforeseen circumstance, so you don't really even know how much money you should even be putting aside in the event that there is a catastrophic loss that occurs.”
And there is one retired Floridian who experienced an unforeseen circumstance that is putting her home at risk. Here is her story:
A Catastrophic Fire in St. Petersburg: In July of 2023, retiree Gloria Maxwell awoke to a fire in the back of her St. Pete home. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Maxwell, who is 75, has spent around 50 years in the home but was uninsured due to being dropped by her insurer over an aging roof.
Her main source of income is social security, which isn't enough to facilitate extensive repairs. According to a headline published in The Tampa Bay Times in late October of 2023, Maxwell "could lose her home" after the devastating fire.
Complaints by Neighbors and Code Violations: According to Fox 13, some of Maxwell's neighbors complained to the city, and code enforcement got involved. Therefore, fines began to accumulate on top of the money needed to make repairs. However, code enforcement did offer some resources to Maxwell such as the usage of a dumpster and connecting her with home assistance programs.
At a recent hearing, code enforcement gave Maxwell a 180-day extension to address violations, although she is accumulating $100 each day until violations are properly addressed.
And while Maxwell says that the extension restores her faith that "somebody does care," she is still struggling to afford repairs because she didn't qualify for any home assistance programs.
Maxwell told The Tampa Bay Times:
“I’m stretched so thin right now. I feel like a senior should not have to struggle this hard to get help.”
According to ABC Action News reporting in October of 2023, Maxwell was able to stay with friends until she procured a temporary apartment.