Senators back raising Citizens coverage cap

by | Feb 13, 2024

A Florida Senate panel endorsed a bill to allow homes valued between $700,000 and $1 million to be insured by the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. if private coverage is unavailable, amidst concerns of the bill’s progress in the House.

A Florida Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill that would allow residents with homes valued at more than $700,000 to get coverage from the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. — but the issue has not been heard in the House.

The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Committee unanimously supported the bill (SB 1106), sponsored by Sen. Ed Hooper. 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.

The bill would allow coverage for homes throughout the state with dwelling replacement costs between $700,000 and $1 million if private insurers do not offer comparable coverage for the homes. The proposal 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.

“This is a bill of last resort,” Hooper told the Senate committee. “If you own a home that is more than $700,000, and less than $1 million, this is an opportunity for you to be covered by Citizens if there is no other admitted market opportunity.”

But with the annual legislative session passing its halfway point last week, the proposal appears in jeopardy in the House. A similar House bill (HB 889) has not been taken up. 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.


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