Homeowners across Florida may be finding it harder to deal with living in the state than ever this winter. Not only has this winter seen an unusual level of cold sweep across the state, but almost two dozen new sinkholes have opened up this winter and to top it off 125,000 Florida property insurance policies held by State Farm will not be renewed by the company.
When the temperature drops over the farmland in Florida during the winter, farmers spray strawberry crops with water to help protect them from the cold. The thin layer of ice helps to protect the plants from frost damage which can damage the fruit.
Though this is a standard practice in Florida’s winters, usually it is only necessary a few times over the course of the winter. Normally, the Florida nights with freezing temperatures are few and far between; this year, because the winter has been so frigid, the farmers have been working hard to salvage their crops and spraying them far more often than normal. The resulting rapid 60ft drop in groundwater is causing new sinkholes to form; at least 22 new sinkholes have opened up, mostly in strawberry-growing areas like Dover. Some homes built in farming areas that are sinkhole-prone may be at risk to structural damage because the pressure of a home isn’t enough to help keep a sinkhole plugged the way a large building does.
To further add to homeowner woes in the state, the high cost of covering home owners in hurricane prone areas of coastal Florida is causing State Farm to cut 125,000 home owner policies over the next year and a half. The company quit writing new insurance policies two years ago due to the high cost of liability in Florida.
Most of the policies are not being renewed in the coastal areas, which are at higher risk for hurricane damage. State Farm had previously planned to withdraw from home owner’s insurance coverage in Florida altogether, but clashed with the Insurance Commissioner over the plan. Due to the excessive costs of hurricane damage that can be incurred in the state, the company claimed to require an almost 50% increase in rates.
Luckily for Floridians, both of these problems are occurring in discrete areas of the state; and while the insurance issue is a result of a yearly weather occurrence, there are other insurance providers who can offer these home owners coverage at least. The problems that the state is experiencing due to the cold weather are hopefully something that Florida is not going to see again for a very long time.