Hurricane Ian taught many Floridians a painful lesson when it slammed ashore in September 2022. Just because you do not live in a designated flood zone doesn’t mean your home is safe from damage caused by rising water or storm surge, which is not covered by Citizens policies. This is one reason why flood insurance is so important. Citizens does not offer flood insurance and is not authorized to do so.
Determining what caused storm damage can lead to delays, incomplete repairs and litigation at a time when you are trying to get back on your feet. To help alleviate coverage gaps, the Florida Legislature in December 2022 enacted new flood requirements aimed at ensuring that Citizens policyholders also obtain flood insurance (from the National Flood Insurance Program or a private carrier authorized to write flood insurance) so that they are able to rebuild following a catastrophe.
The law requires Personal Lines residential policyholders with wind coverage (except for condominium unit owner policies) to obtain flood insurance to remain eligible for a Citizens policy under a phased-in approach that began earlier this year.
Existing Personal Lines residential policyholders (except for condominium unit owner policies) in designated Federal Emergency Management Agency flood hazard areas whose policy includes wind coverage were required to have flood insurance when their policies renewed on or after July 1, 2023.
All other Personal Lines residential policyholders with wind coverage must have flood insurance in place to renew their policy effective on or after:
- January 1, 2024, for a structure with a dwelling replacement cost of $600,000 or more
- January 1, 2025, for a structure with a dwelling replacement cost of $500,000 or more
- January 1, 2026, for a structure with a dwelling replacement cost of $400,000 or more
- January 1, 2027, for all other Personal Lines residential property insured by Citizens that is required to obtain flood insurance
It’s important to note that private insurance companies are not required to request flood insurance for eligibility. That means a private insurance offer that may seem more expensive than a Citizens policy may end up being less expensive when the additional flood policy is factored into the overall cost.
If you are subject to these new requirements and have questions, talk to your agent. They are in the best position to show you all your insurance options. More information on flood insurance requirements are also available on Citizens' website.
Remember, having flood coverage in place can help you recover from a catastrophe regardless of how the damaging water gets into your home. And that means one less thing to worry about.