Florida is no stranger to natural disasters, with hurricanes and flooding being a common occurrence. In response to these events, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a state-run insurer, is requiring the additional purchase of flood insurance for many of its policyholders.
The move comes after a series of devastating hurricanes, including Hurricane Ian in 2022, which caused billions of dollars in damages.
Flood insurance is a separate policy from homeowners insurance, and it is not typically included in standard homeowners insurance policies. This means that many homeowners may not have flood insurance, even if they have homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is designed to cover damages from rising water, such as flooding caused by heavy rain or storm surges.
Citizens is now requiring policyholders in high-risk flood zones to purchase flood insurance, in addition to their standard homeowners insurance policy. This includes areas that are at risk for storm surges, flooding, and other water-related damage. Next year Citizens will start implementing this requirement for ALL flood zones. See chart below to see how this rolls out.
The move has been met with mixed reactions from homeowners. Some argue that the additional cost of flood insurance is too high, especially for those on fixed incomes or with tight budgets. Others believe that it is a necessary step to protect homeowners from the financial devastation that can occur after a natural disaster.
Despite these concerns, the decision by Citizens to require additional flood insurance is a step in the right direction towards protecting homeowners from the financial risks of natural disasters. With hurricane season approaching, it is more important than ever to ensure that homeowners have the protection they need to weather the storm.
The bill provides that Citizens personal lines residential policyholders must secure and maintain flood insurance that meets certain requirements as a condition of eligibility for Citizens coverage. The bill provides the following timetable for which flood insurance coverage must be implemented for personal lines residential Citizens policyholders:
- For risks located in areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as special flood hazard areas, flood insurance must be secured for new Citizens policies with an effective date on or after April 1, 2023, and at renewal for Citizens policies that renew on or after July 1, 2023.
- For all other risks, the requirement to obtain flood insurance at policy issuance or renewal is effective:
- March 1, 2024, for policies insuring property to a limit of $600,000 or more.
- March 1, 2025, for policies insuring property to a limit of $500,000 or more.
- March 1, 2026, for policies insuring property to a limit of $400,000 or more.
- March 1, 2027, for all other policies.
The bill amends the mandatory flood insurance notice by requiring it to be part of the declarations page and makes revisions to the content of notice to encourage purchase of flood insurance.