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Florida Approves Citizens Insurance Rate Hikes for 2016

Recently, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved the proposed 2016 property insurance rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.  The order was signed September 8 by the Florida Commissioner.  The order includes significant rate hikes for South Florida homeowners who rely on Citizens Property Insurance to cover their homes in the event of wind and other damage.

Citizens is the state created insurer of last resort, ensuring those homeowners who are unable to obtain private insurance due to high risk conditions.  Nearly 600,000 customers use Citizens currently, though this figure is down from prior years.  Rates will rise by an average of 1.8 percent for homeowners with comprehensive or multi-peril policies.  For instance, an average premium of $2,339 last year will increase to $2,281 next year.

All new rates will take effect in February of 2016.  Customers who live inland may see their Florida homeowners’ insurance rates go down overall and Citizens estimates that some 60 percent of customers will actually pay less next year.  However, homeowners in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties close to the coast will see experience rate hikes of about 8.3 percent. 

The reason for the rate increases in areas of South Florida is multi-faceted.  The push comes in part due to the shrinking pool of Citizens customers.  More and more customers are leaving Citizens for private insurance companies, leaving just the highest risk of customers with Citizens.  Further, there has been an increase in South Florida claims related to water damage that is not caused by storms.

Explore Your Insurance Options and Understand Your Coverage

If you are currently insured by Citizens Insurance Corp and will experience a significant price increase next year, take the time to explore your homeowners’ insurance options.  You may find that there are a few private companies that will offer you more competitive rates.  Exploring your options is always wise as you could obtain a stronger policy for less cost.

Regardless of what insurer you go with, review your policy carefully so that you understand your coverage.  Be sure that you have the coverage you need in the event a serious storm strikes.  Hurricane insurance policies and flood policies must generally be purchased separately and without this coverage, you may not be protected in the event of a hurricane or other serious storm next year.  Investigate the terms of your policy to be sure it meets all of your needs, including liability coverage for your dog, water damage coverage when not caused by a storm, and hail or windstorm coverage in case of strong storms that do not rise to the level of a hurricane.

You should also examine your deductible and be sure that it is one you can cover in the event of damage to your home.  Talk to your insurance agent about the best deductible for your finances.  As always, if you ever need assistance with your insurance claim or an insurance dispute, contact a homeowners’ insurance attorney as soon as possible.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys with Over 130 Years of Collective Experience!

If you are having trouble with your homeowners’ insurance claim or find yourself involved in a dispute, contact the Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano  We have over 130 collective years of experience representing homeowners in need across South Florida.  Our firm offers the dedication and knowledge you need to successfully resolve your homeowners’ insurance matter.  We have been honored with a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our outstanding attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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