'I Cried About It': Elderly Florida Woman Battling Cancer Faces Losing Her Home Due to Soaring Insurance Costs — Seniors Struggle to Keep Up

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Homeowners insurance rates in Florida are currently the highest in the nation and are expected to continue rising. Projections from Insurify indicate rates could reach 

 $11,759 this year.

For seniors on fixed, like Carmen, a 75-year-old Florida West Palm resident battling cancer, the financial burden of rising insurance premiums is becoming increasingly difficult to bear. 

After receiving another rate increase from Citizens, the state-backed insurance provider, the emotional and financial stress overwhelmed her. "I cried about it. I took a whole day of crying about it," Carmen emotionally shared with Fox 29 News, highlighting that her distress stemmed from her financial situation rather than her health battle.

This latest premium increase was around $300. While that may not seem like much, it's one of many steady insurance increases.

Over the past three years, she has experienced a total increase of $3,000. "I am going to need help or else I have to sell," she explained to her family, a situation that resonates with many seniors on fixed incomes throughout Florida.

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Citizens Insurance, often the only option for homeowners like Carmen who face rejection from other insurers due to factors like the age of their roof, the age of the building, or its location, was never intended to be a low-cost option but rather a "last ditch" safety net. Carmen, like many in her situation, finds herself with no other choice.

Insurance agent Robert Norberg, also interviewed by Fox 29, noted, "It's going to happen to everyone: Citizens is going to go up." As Citizens is the insurer of last resort, many homeowners are forced to turn to it despite high costs.

"I work hard to have a home," Carmen said. "Now to maintain a home — it's really getting hard." 

Carmen is far from alone in her financial distress. Dera, a resident of Tampa, has found herself in a similar bind, compelled to turn her macramae hobby into a side hustle to afford her rising insurance rates and mortgage payments.


Dera sells her crafts online and at local farmers markets, stating, "If it’s a couple of bucks here or there, I appreciate it." Despite her efforts, the fear of losing her home looms large. "The fear is not being able to live in my home anymore because I can’t afford it because that’s the absolute fear," she expressed. Her insurance rates have nearly doubled in a year, with her property insurance escalating from $2,460 in 2021 to a quoted $4,550 for the next year, pushing her monthly mortgage payments from $591 to $1,000.

Amid these challenges, there is some hope as the State’s Office of Insurance Regulator announced that two new companies have been approved to operate in Florida, part of an addition of eight new companies over the last year.

Congressman Byron Donalds and Sen. Rick Scott have introduced the ‘Flood Insurance Relief Act. This proposed legislation seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to offer homeowners an "above the line" deduction for insurance premiums, allowing them to deduct these costs from their gross income. This change could lead to substantial savings for many, providing relief from the financial strain experienced by Carmen, Dera and others. 

But for now, the reality remains grim for many seniors across Florida. They continue to grapple with the fear that they won’t be able to keep up as their fixed incomes fail to match the escalating costs of living. 

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