Florida Readies Bill That Could Impact Home Insurers

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  • Florida lawmakers have been paying attention to a few types of home insurance coverage in the past few months, but of late, the ways in which flood coverage might end up spiking seem to have captured their attentions the most. However, with the U.S. Congress now moving forward on legislation to alleviate the potential flood insurance problems, Florida’s has now turned back toward a different type of coverage, and agents there will have to keep a close eye on the progress.

    Committees in both the state’s House of Representatives and Senate recently approved a bill that would prevent home insurance companies from charging consumers more for coverage if they have guns in their homes, even while acknowledging that doing so does indeed increase the risk of a potential accident, according to a report from the Associated Press. Interestingly, the Florida Senate appropriations committee passed the bill through with far greater ease than their counterparts in the House.

    This bill has, perhaps understandably, drawn the ire of many insurance companies, because of the increased risk of a serious and costly incident taking place under a gun owner’s roof, the report said. On the other hand, the proponents of the law say that by charging these people more, insurers are effectively discriminating against these Americans who are “exercising their constitutional right to own firearms.” For instance, Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association said that this bill is in line with other laws designed to reduce discrimination, and might further give gun owners who have suffered as a result of the way in which insurers have charged them more for coverage in the past. 

    What comes next?
    Having now passed committees in both houses of the state Congress, the bills can now be considered for approval by the larger legislatures, the report said. If passed, it could lead to standard home insurance costs in the state rising somewhat, as insurers try to cover the potentially increased costs associated with the change.

    Higher home insurance rates for non-gun owners may lead to some amount of disgruntlement among current policyholders, which might prompt them to begin shopping around for new coverage that still fits their needs but might come with a lower price tag. This may provide both difficulties and opportunity for insurance agents, depending on their clients’ situations, and is therefore something that will have to be monitored closely.