I called my old office last week to get a quote for insurance for my Dad’s new condo. I knew that State Farm would not let him move his policy from the house to the condo – the condo is right on the beach. I also knew he’d need a policy through Citizens Property Insurance Company, the state entity. What I didn’t know was that if you live in Florida and Citizens Property Insurance Company insures you separately for Homeowners and Wind coverage, you may save a bundle by getting these policies combined – something they didn’t used to do.
This could save some people a great deal of moolah.
First let me explain how we got where we are…
The state of Florida started the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA) to provide Windstorm only coverage for people who could not find it through the regular market, specifically Florida’s coastal properties in Monroe County and the Florida Keys. Over time, the FWUA was expanded to include all or parts of 29 of Florida’s 35 coastal counties as insurers grew wary of insuring those properties closest to the coast.
In the wake of Hurricane Andrew the insurance industry was in trouble. Several went out of business and the ones that remained decided to cancel large chunks of their policies to reduce their potential loss exposure in the event of another major hurricane. As a result there was a need to create another residual market for people that were being canceled, as no insurance company was accepting new policies. The people of Florida needed a policy similar to a standard multi-peril Homeowners policy. The Florida Residential Property Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA) was created in 1992 and was structured similarly to the FWUA. At the same time insurers decided to expand their definition of “coastal” and began excluding windstorm coverage from homeowners policies for millions more. The FWUA was expanded to cover Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties followed a short time later.
That left people with either:
- FRPCJUA policy for multi-peril (Homeowners) and wind
- FRPCJUA policy for multi-peril (Homeowners) and FWUA for wind
- X Company for multi-peril (Homeowners) and wind (no change)
- X Company for multi-peril (Homeowners) and FWUA for wind
Citizens Property Insurance Corp was created when the Florida legislature passed a law combining the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA) and the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA). The organizations may have been combined but wind was still written as a separate policy for the next five plus years, so many people had/have a Citizens Homeowners policy AND a Citizens Wind policy. Two policies, two bills, two sets of paperwork (and some have a separate Flood Insurance policy, too!).
On August 1, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation rolled out a new product: one policy that covers both windstorm damage and traditional multi-peril (Homeowners) coverage. The two-for-one coverage is in response to a change in Florida law designed to make Citizens more profitable and less vulnerable to the risk of a catastrophic event. According to Citizens, policyholders who combine their plans could see annual premium savings of up to 10% (When my Dad’s policy was quoted it was more like 20-30%, but his is right on the ocean). Citizens customers who have windstorm coverage through Citizens and multi-peril coverage from a private insurer may also take advantage of the new single policy.
The Bottom Line:
If you have any Citizens Windstorm policy call your insurance agent to see if you can take advantage of the new policy and see how much you’ll save. They don’t just do a price adjustment so you will need to have a new policy written. That means you’ll have to have money available to pay the new premium and then wait to get pro-rated refunds on the old policy(ies), or wait for renewal.
Either way better in your pocket than the state’s.
The preceding information is not advice, it’s just my thoughts and opinions. I’m just a girl on the web, not currently licensed in insurance or anything else in any state. You should absolutely seek the counsel of an insurance agent licensed in your state before taking any action at all. Coverages and programs discussed may or may not be available in your state.