Flood insurance changes could affect millions of homeowners across the state

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida lawmakers are now two days into a special session aimed at tackling the state’s property insurance crisis.

And as they look at potential solutions, News4Jax viewers have been asking for more specifics about one of the most controversial provisions that all Citizens Property Insurance policy holders obtain flood insurance.

The changes could affect roughly a million homeowners across the state.

Some Florida homeowners with insurance policies written by Citizens would be required to get flood insurance immediately, while others would have until the year 2027 to insure their homes from damage from rising floodwaters or torrential rains.

“If I have Citizen and it cost me $4,000 and I have to get flood insurance, and I’m looking for insurance in the private market does that include flood insurance for Citizens?” Sen. Bobby Powell (D) said.

″That will be an additional cost to the consumer in addition to whatever the Citizens policy is,” Sen. Jim Boyd (R) said.

It’s a likely reality for 1.2 million homeowners currently under the Citizens insurance umbrella. Additional costs, for a separate flood policy as changes are considered following billions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Ian. Homes that traditionally remained high and dry went underwater during the height of the hurricane, putting additional stress on Florida’s insurance industry which was already in crisis.

If the house and senate agree on new insurance legislation, here’s how long Citizens policy holders would have to obtain flood insurance.

  • Citizens policyholders currently living in a flood zone would have until April 1 to obtain flood insurance if the current proposal becomes law
  • If your home is insured for $600,000 or more, you’ll need to get flood insurance by Jan. of 2024, (whether you live in a flood zone or not)
  • If your home is insured for $500,000 or more, you’d be required to have flood insurance by January 2025
  • If your home is insured for $400,000 or more, you’ll need flood insurance by January 2026
  • (And finally, by 2027) All Citizens policyholders will have to have to obtain flood insurance.

“It’s an extra cost,” said Matt Carlucci Jr. with Brightway Insurance. “And typically, flood insurance has always been one of those things that you can buy if you want it. However, if you are in a flood zone and you have a mortgage, you have to have flood insurance.”

Carlucci Jr. says homeowners can either get flood insurance through FEMA or on the private market which he says is typically a cheaper alternative. Carlucci says most policies in Florida run under $1,000 a year. He says homeowners living in a flood zone, will likely be offered the most affordable pricing.

This new legislation also includes provisions that will ultimately move some Citizens policyholders to private insurance companies. The House and the Senate met for various committee meetings today on the two almost identical bills.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.