Flood insurance coverage is now required as of April 1, 2023, for new Citizens personal residential policies that include wind coverage for covered property within the special flood hazard area. The requirement to secure and maintain flood coverage for Personal Lines residential policies will be phased in for all such policyholders over the next four years under a plan the Florida Legislature approved in December.
The flood insurance requirements are part of an overarching reform package intended to stabilize a Florida property insurance market rocked by high litigation costs and skyrocketing premiums over the last several years.
The flood insurance requirements apply only to Citizens policyholders who have a Personal Lines residential policy. While your agent will be in the best position to guide you through the process, here is a quick rundown.
New Personal Lines residential policyholders seeking Citizens coverage, including coverage for the peril of wind, in areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a Special Flood Hazard Area are required as of April 1, 2023, to have flood insurance coverage to be eligible for a Citizens policy. Existing Citizens policyholders in designated FEMA flood hazard areas whose policy includes wind coverage will be required to have flood insurance to renew their Citizens policies on or after July 1, 2023.
For all other Citizens Personal Lines residential policies that include wind coverage, the flood insurance requirement will be phased in for new and renewing policyholders over the next four years as follows:
- January 1, 2024, for policies insuring property valued at $600,000 or more
- January 1, 2025, for policies insuring property valued at $500,000 or more
- January 1, 2026, for policies insuring property valued at $400,000 or more
- January 1, 2027, for all other policies
Citizens does not provide flood insurance, and flood coverage is not provided under standard multiperil policies. Requiring flood coverage better protects you from potentially expensive out-of-pocket repairs. Federally backed mortgages typically require flood insurance for properties located within flood zones.
In 2022, approximately 18% of Florida homeowners carried flood insurance. Coastal residents are far more likely to carry it, with well more than 50% of policyholders carrying flood insurance in the hardest-hit coastal counties impacted by Hurricane Ian in September 2022.
If you don’t wish to purchase flood insurance, you will not be eligible for a Personal Lines residential policy with Citizens. Contact your agent to discuss options that may be available within the private insurance market. Private policies that may offer more comprehensive coverage now might be comparably priced. Remember, Citizens’ policyholders are subject to a potential assessment of up to 45% of their premium following a major storm or series of storms.