Is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Legit? A Guide for Homeowners in Florida
If you are a homeowner in Florida, you may have heard of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens), a not-for-profit insurer of last resort that provides windstorm coverage and general property insurance for those who cannot obtain insurance elsewhere.
But is Citizens legit? How does it work? What are the benefits and drawbacks of being insured by Citizens?
In this post, we will answer these questions and more, to help you make an informed decision about your property insurance needs.
What is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation?
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was created in 2002 by the Florida Legislature from the merger of two other entities:
- Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA)
- Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA).
These entities were established in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which caused $26.5 billion in damage and bankrupted 11 insurance companies. Many homeowners in Florida were left without any insurance options, especially in the coastal areas that were prone to hurricanes
Citizens was designed to be the insurer of last resort, meaning that it would only offer coverage to those who could not find it in the private market.
However, Citizens is not a state agency, but a not-for-profit corporation that is governed by a board of directors appointed by the governor, the chief financial officer, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house. Citizens operates under the supervision of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and is subject to the same laws and regulations as other insurers
Additionally, Citizens offers personal and commercial property insurance products, such as homeowners, condominium, mobile home, dwelling fire, and business owners policies.
Citizens also provides wind-only policies for those who only need coverage for wind damage. Citizens has three main programs: the Coastal Account, the Personal Lines Account, and the Commercial Lines Account. Each program has different eligibility criteria, rates, and coverages
How to Get a Policy from Citizens?
To get a policy from Citizens, you must first try to find coverage in the private market. You can use an agent or a broker to help you shop around for the best deal.
If you are unable to find a comparable policy from a private insurer, or if the premium quoted by a private insurer is more than 15% higher than the premium quoted by Citizens, you may be eligible for a policy from Citizens
You can apply for a policy from Citizens online through their website, or through a licensed agent or broker. You will need to provide information about your property, such as its location, construction, age, size, features, and value.
Not only that, but you will also need to provide information about your personal and financial situation, such as your name, address, phone number, email, social security number, and credit history. You may also need to provide proof of your previous insurance history, such as your declarations page, renewal notice, or cancellation notice
Citizens will review your application and determine your eligibility, coverage, and premium. You will receive a quote and a policy contract from Citizens, which you can accept or reject.
If you accept the quote, you will need to pay the premium and sign the contract. You will also need to comply with any inspection or mitigation requirements that Citizens may impose on your property
What are the Pros and Cons of Being Insured by Citizens?
Being insured by Citizens has some advantages and disadvantages, depending on your situation and preferences. Here are some of the pros and cons of being insured by Citizens:
- You can get coverage for your property when you cannot find it in the private market, or when the private market is too expensive.
- You can get coverage for wind damage, which is often excluded or limited by private insurers in Florida.
- You can get access to discounts and credits for making your property more resilient to hurricanes, such as installing storm shutters, roof straps, impact-resistant windows, and wind-resistant doors
- You can get access to online and mobile-friendly tools to manage your policy, such as myPolicy, which allows you to submit a claim, view your policy documents, view your claims and billing information, and make payments.
- You may pay higher premiums than you would in the private market, especially if you are in a high-risk area or have a high-value property.
- You may have less coverage options and flexibility than you would in the private market, such as lower limits, higher deductibles, and fewer endorsements.
- You may have to pay additional assessments or surcharges on your policy, which are levied by Citizens or the state to cover the losses or expenses of Citizens or other insurers. These assessments or surcharges can increase your premium by up to 45%
- You may have to deal with longer wait times and lower customer satisfaction than you would in the private market, especially after a major storm or disaster. Citizens has been criticized for its slow and inefficient claims handling, lack of communication, and poor customer service.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s Contact Information and claim process
To begin with, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) is a not-for-profit insurer of last resort that was created by the Florida Legislature in 2002 to provide windstorm coverage and general property insurance for homeowners who could not obtain insurance elsewhere.
Citizens Contact Information
Citizens has two main offices: one in Tallahassee and one in Jacksonville. The mailing addresses for claim and non-claim correspondence are as follows:
Citizens also has a toll-free claims hotline that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 866.411.2742. You can also report a claim online through myPolicy, Citizens’ online policyholder self-service tool. To use myPolicy, you will need to register for an account on the myPolicy page.
When you report a claim, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your policy number
- Your contact information, including any temporary addresses or phone numbers where you can be reached if you have been displaced
- Damage description (example: tree fell on roof, lightning struck house)
- Mortgage company information (if applicable)
You can also send additional claim information or documentation to Citizens by email, fax, or mail. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The fax number is 888.392.6739. The mailing address is the same as the claim correspondence address mentioned above.
Citizens is committed to providing the best possible customer service to its policyholders and adheres to the Policyholder Declaration of Rights, which applies to any personal residential property insurance claim filed with property and casualty insurance companies operating in Florida.
Conclusion: Is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Legit?
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is like a safety net for homeowners in Florida who have a hard time getting insurance from other places. It’s there to provide coverage for things like windstorms and property issues when regular insurance isn’t easy to find.
But, like everything, there are good and not-so-good things about Citizens. It’s great for those who really need insurance but can’t find it anywhere else. It gives them a way to protect their homes. However, it’s important to think about both the good and not-so-good parts.
Before deciding to get insurance from Citizens, it’s smart to look at all your options. See how Citizens compares to other insurance choices in the private market. This way, you can decide if Citizens is the right fit for you. It’s about finding the best way to protect your home that matches what you need and feel comfortable with.
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