Nearly a quarter of respondents to a www.cayCompass.com poll said they did not have home insurance because they could not afford it.
The poll question posed was “Which statement best describes your situation regarding Cayman Islands’ homeowners insurance?”. It gave the following optional answers: “I can afford it and I have it,” “I can’t really afford it, but I have it,” “I don’t have it because I can’t afford it”, “I don’t have it because I don’t want it”, “I don’t own a home in Cayman so I don’t have it”.
Of the 568 people who responded, 23.6 per cent said they could not afford home insurance. Another 37.3 per cent of respondents, or 212 people, said they couldn’t really afford it, but had it; while 6.5 per cent said they did not have insurance because they did not want it. Nearly a fifth of respondents said they did not have home insurance because they did not own their homes.
A respondent from Cayman Brac who said he did not have home insurance because he couldn’t afford it, wrote: “A 1,600-square-foot home on the Bluff with metallic shutters, metallic roofing material and the likes, are all set at $4,200 per year. I can’t afford it.”
Another who found the insurance too costly said: “My health insurance is more important, even though it costs more … and I can barely afford it.”
“I had a bad experience where after paying insurance for 18 years, my claim after Hurricane Ivan was not fully met, which left me with unfinished repairs to my home which I had to fix gradually out of pocket. I paid them way more than my claim in the 18 years I was insured, so what’s the sense in that!,” said another reader.
One reader, whose home is insured, responded: “It [home insurance] is quite high, but if a homeowner practises proper budget control, it can be afforded by accruing a portion each month.”
Another reader pointed out the sense of having insurance, saying: “Foolish not to have … we will all pay for those who don’t.”
Several of the respondents took aim at the insurance companies and the high premiums customers are forced to pay to insure their homes.
A reader who said he could not really afford home insurance, but nonetheless had it, said: “It’s been eight years since Ivan and pre-Ivan I paid $6,000 a year and post-Ivan, $17,500 with barely a $200 reduction. These insurance companies need to be accounted for. It is a disgrace they get away with this as the [cost of living] is already high enough!”
A respondent who said he would ill-afford home insurance but still had it, said: “The insurance companies are having a laugh. It’s like a second mortgage. They are stealing from us legally.”
“It’s a sacrifice, but I take out a personal loan each year to pay my house insurance,” said another. “God forbid if anything happens and I don’t have cover.”
One reader called for insurance companies to allow customers to pay their home insurance monthly, rather than in a lump sum.
Another said: “This is an absolute rip off by these insurance companies. My small mortgage payments per annum is $8,000 and my house insurance per annum is $3,500. Outrageous!”
“Insurance cost is terribly expensive, but I don’t have a choice in the matter, do I? Except considering moving back to where I originate and it’s free! One of the growing reasons to back to snow,” one reader wrote.
One respondent said: “Rates should be better regulated to make homeowners premiums more affordable. My family and I are considering self-insuring unless the rates are reduced considerably.”
A reader who said he could ill afford home insurance, responded: “I have it again, but really cannot afford it, so I just go without other things I need. Dropped it one year, but that was the year Hurricane Paloma hit Cayman Brac, destroyed my home. Still not 100 per cent fixed. Also one more thing – wish I had health insurance but cannot afford that either. Things have gotten out of hand, cost-wise, for the people of the Caymans.”
One respondent who said he did not have home insurance because he did not want it, wrote: “House insurance is legalised fraud and should be much more strictly controlled by law.”
Another who is self-insured said he had saved $48,000 since Hurricane Ivan.
A reader who has opted not to insure his home said: “We have an emergency house fund that will cover repairs if needed. If not needed, the money is at least still ours and we don’t give it away to an insurance company!”
Renters also responded to the poll. “I rent a condo and my landlord tells me insurance rates are resulting in my rental increases,” said one respondent, “I am in the process of buying a house and I will be shopping for the best value for the best coverage I can find but like all things here in Cayman, prices are not in alignment with the rest of the world and you pay far more than for the value received. It would, however be foolish for me to take my largest asset and not insure it.” Another renter said: “I don’t own a home in Cayman, but rent. What is so difficult is to find insurance on personal possessions if you don’t own a home. Think of the many expats renting but wanting to insure personal possessions.”
Next week’s poll question.
How should the sale and serving of alcohol be regulated on election or referendum days?
Every licensed premises should be operating as normal.
I agree with the law, there should be no alcohol sold while polls are open.
We should be like Mexico, no alcohol should be sold 24 hours before an election and during election day.
Drinking of alcohol should be totally banned on election days.
Party on! Bars should be open longer than usual to celebrate democracy in action.