A higher cap on coverage under Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance is possible

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©2024 The News Service of Florida

The Florida Senate Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that raises the possibility of some homes valued at more than $700,000 becoming eligible for coverage from the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The bill (SB 1716), sponsored by Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, addresses a series of issues related to Citizens.

Under current law, Citizens is barred from selling policies for homes with a “dwelling replacement cost” of $700,000 or more, except in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, where the limit is $1 million.

But a change approved Tuesday to Boyd’s bill would allow homes with values up to $1 million to get coverage from Citizens if the state Office of Insurance Regulation determines they are in ZIP codes that lack a “reasonable degree” of insurance competition.

Dwelling replacement costs reflect the amount of money that would be required to rebuild homes.

They can differ from market values of homes, at least in part because they do not include land values.

The House is scheduled Thursday to take up its version of a Citizens bill (HB 1503), but that measure does not include the possibility of raising the cap.

The Senate proposal, which is positioned to go to the full Senate, comes as many homeowners continue to have problems finding private coverage.

Citizens, which was created as an insurer of last resort, has become the state’s largest insurer during the past few years amid financial problems in the private market. It had about 1.164 million policies as of Friday.

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