Deadline nearing for some Citizens policyholders to add flood insurance in Florida

FILE - Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Oct. 1, 2022, after Hurricane Ian passed by the area. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 announced an executive order expanding voting access for the midterm elections in three counties where Hurricane Ian destroyed polling places and displaced thousands of people. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Rules for new Citizens Property Insurance policyholders is part of legislation that was passed during a special session.

Flood insurance is being required for Citizens policyholders to help solving Florida’s property insurance crisis. 

Attorney Robert Davis is concerned that an active 2023 hurricane season and more catastrophic damage could result in more insurance companies pulling out of Florida, and yet another increase in Floridian’s home insurance premium. Davis says he hasn’t had a home insurance claim in more than 10 years, but his home insurance bills recently doubled.

″All of them more than doubled from January to March, and I’m not just talking just homeowners, I’m talking rental insurance, business, home,” Davis said.

One of the resolutions that passed in the special session to help stabilize the insurance industry is the requirement that all Citizens policyholders obtain flood insurance by the year 2027.

April 1, however, is a significant date because it’s the first of several deadlines requiring customers of the state backed insurance company citizens to take an extra step to protect their homes. New customers in an area designated by FEMA as special flood hazard area will need flood insurance.

Existing policyholders in those areas must obtain flood insurance at renewal for policies on or after July 1.

“It’s an extra cost. And typically, flood insurance has always been one of those things that you can buy if you want it,” explained Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci, who’s also an insurance agent.

The new policy amounts will be phased in for new and existing customers over five years — and eventually all customers will need it based on property value, not just location.

  • Homes insured for $600,000 or more will need to get flood insurance by January 2024
  • Homes insured for $500,000 or more will need to get flood insurance by January 2025
  • Homes insured for $400,000 or more will need to get flood insurance by January 2026
  • All homes insured by Citizens will need it by January 2027

Carlucci says the mandate will affect more than 1.1. million homeowners over the next several years, saying the average flood insurance policy runs approximately $1,000 a year.

Homeowners like Davis hope the move helps to stabilize Florida’s insurance market, and curb property insurance fraud.

Insurance agents say homeowners can either get flood insurance through FEMA or on the private market, which they say is typically a cheaper alternative and suggest you contact your insurance agent to confirm if you need flood insurance by April 1.

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