Florida Senate approves $176 million in house-hardening funding

by | Nov 8, 2023

  • The Florida Senate passed a bill on Wednesday to address the backlog in the My Safe Florida Home Program, which offers funding for home inspections and matching grants for enhancements to protect homes against storms and reduce insurance premiums.
  • The program was paused due to the more than 17,000 pending applications and insufficient funds. 
  • Since its reinstatement in 2022, the program has completed more than 16,000 inspections and approved nearly 3,000 grant applications.

The Florida Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that addresses the existing backlog in the My Safe Florida Home Program, aimed at fortifying homes and lowering insurance premiums.

My Safe Florida Home, administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services, provides funding for free home inspections and matches funding for home enhancements to harden homes against storms to reduce insurance premiums. The program is presently paused due to a growing backlog of applications exceeding 17,000 and a lack of funds. According to the state website, applicants whose grant status indicates “Submitted” were unable to be attended to until additional funding was appropriated by the Florida Legislature.

The legislation, having been ratified by the Senate today and passed unanimously by the House on Tuesday, now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature to be enacted.

“This is a big deal. The average policyholder discount has totaled over $1,000 and policyholders have received thousands of dollars for enhancements to their homes,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “That’s making homes safer from storms and making premiums more affordable for policyholders.”

Reinstated in 2022 amid the ongoing rise in property insurance costs, My Safe Florida Home Program provides free evaluations to eligible homeowners in Florida, aimed at identifying wind mitigation strategies to strengthen homes against storms. These assessments also cover aspects like roof materials and storm protection installations.

Initially, the program had certain eligibility criteria for grants, such as a homestead exemption and a maximum insured value of $300,000. However, in 2022, the Legislature renewed the funding for the program and expanded the criteria to allow homeowners with homes valued up to $500,000 to apply for grants.

Between May 2022 and February 2023, a total of 16,724 mitigation inspections were completed and 2,979 grant applications were approved.

The program additionally offers financial assistance where the state contributes two dollars for every dollar spent by the homeowner on approved renovations, with a maximum of $10,000 in state contributions.

“The My Safe Florida Home program has been a huge success, helping thousands of Floridians harden their home against storms while saving an average of $1,000 annually on insurance premiums,” said Patronis in a prepared statement following the Senate’s final approval. “The program has also assisted more than 87,000 homeowners in conducting free home inspections to further understand how to protect their homes during disasters.”


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