I'm looking for insurers that specialize in FL and Gulf Coast homeowners insurance. Check out the following: Nobody's market: Homeowners insurance, taxes vex would-be buyers By Jeff Ostrowski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Sunday, October 01, 2006 The contract was signed, the mortgage was approved and the buyer was set to close on the $299,000 home in Royal Palm Beach. Then the buyer, on the cusp of becoming a first-time homeowner, learned how much insurance would cost: $4,700 a year. The big premium pushed his monthly payment past the lender's comfort level, and approval for the loan was yanked. The scotched sale is a scenario that's becoming all too common amid Florida's housing hangover, say real estate brokers and affordable-housing experts. Even as some sellers have lowered their asking prices, skyrocketing insurance premiums and property taxes have killed deals and sent buyers to the sidelines. The owner of the Royal Palm Beach house struggled to find a buyer who could stomach the insurance premium and property taxes that accompany what would seem to be an affordable home in Palm Beach County's pricey real estate market. He eventually sold the home to a relative for far below the list price, said Douglas Rill, owner of Century 21 America's Choice Realty in West Palm Beach, which listed the house. Rill calls taxes and insurance, once little more than an afterthought for home buyers, "a double whack on the head" â and countless homeowners are feeling the pain. "It's squeezing buyers," Rill said. "At least it's not a triple whack. Insurance and taxes are going up, but prices are softening." Those softer prices finally came to roost last week, when the Florida Association of Realtors said August prices in once-sizzling Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast had fallen 6 percent from a year earlier. Realtors now hope that area home sellers finally are facing reality after months of denial that plummeting sales and ballooning inventories foretold a weaker market. But is it too little, too late? From all directions After two years of destructive hurricanes, insurers have been sometimes doubling or even tripling premiums. Meanwhile, soaring property values are catching up with home buyers, whose tax bills are based on higher prices. Just hit with an unexpected $5,000-a-year increase in the tax bill on his Royal Palm Beach home, high school teacher Jim Cox is scrounging for after-school and weekend teaching assignments. "It was a shock," Cox said of the increase that kicked in the year after he bought his house. "You've got to work extra hours just to pay the taxes." Tax hikes, at least, are an expense homeowners can plan for. If you buy a home this year, its taxable value will adjust next year to something closer to what you paid for it. But how much the insurance bill will rise is anyone's guess. After her homeowners insurance premium more than doubled to $5,050 a year, Teresa Badillo of suburban Boca Raton plans to cut the modest donations she gives to charities. The costs of caring for her autistic son leave little room in her budget for unexpected increases. "I have enough expenses," Badillo said. "Anything added to our budget just kills us." Jo Nagorka of Tequesta got an even bigger shock from her insurer. Her bill soared to $8,595 a year, and Nagorka is looking for a part-time job. The mother of a 10-year-old boy, she's feeling the squeeze on both ends: As her ownership costs rise, her income as a part-time real estate agent has fallen, thanks to a housing market she calls "dead as a doornail." Now, Nagorka is counting the years until her husband, a teacher, retires so they can move to a cheaper part of the country. "We'll definitely leave Florida when he retires," Nagorka said. Arthur France of Palm Beach Gardens wants out, too, after his insurance bill tripled to $6,034. "I would like to sell my home and leave the area, but the high cost of insurance, not to mention taxes, will make my home very difficult to sell," France said. In another eye-popping increase, Joan Rosenberg of suburban Boca Raton received her renewal notice from State Farm last week. Last year's premium: $7,500. This year's price: $23,500. "It's utterly absurd," Rosenberg says. "I understand it has to be more, but who can afford that?"