What You Need to Know if You’ve Received a Notice from Citizens Property Insurance
Bottom Line: It happened to me in 2014. A “depopulation” notice from Citizens Property Insurance. After first having been kicked onto Citizens due to the numerous private insurance failures during the Great Recession, I was notified that my policy was set to be "depopulated" from Citizens due to companies reentering Florida’s property insurance market following the recession. My first reaction was excitement to have an option outside of Citizens. My next reaction was far less enthusiastic after learning that the company I was set to be moved to was preparing to charge over $2,500 more than Citizens had previously charged upon renewal. It was at that point that I looked into what my options were. It dawned on me that if one private insurer was willing to take my policy on others might be interested as well. After contacting a few companies and an insurance broker I found that multiple options had become available and found a policy with a South Florida insurer, that was effectively on par with the cost of the Citizens policy. A lot’s changed over the decade since, including my decision to self-insure, but what Florida’s property insurance market is starting to experience is a different version of a similar thing and it’s mostly a good news situation.
Here’s the good news. Not only is Citizen’s, as Florida’s insurer of last resort, in a position to begin to shed insurance policies due to new property insurers entering Florida’s market, but it’s happening faster than expected. As recently as a month ago it had been announced that 130,000 Citizen’s policies would be transferred to private insurance companies by the end of November. There was enough demand and capacity from private insurers that the number grew to a maximum of 311,250 policies. And that’s the total number of Floridians who’ve been sent “depopulation” notices from Citizens. Should you receive one of these notices here’s what you need to know.
- The current term and cost of your Citizens policy remains in place
- The figure quoted for renewal is an estimate of what your insurance policy may cost with the private insurer – not a final number
- If the renewal estimate is greater than 20% higher than the current cost of your existing policy, you may opt to stay with Citizens
- If you want to stay with Citizens, you must notify them by October 10th
- If you don’t act your policy will be transferred to a private insurance company on October 17th
What’s important to note is that no one being transferred from Citizens to a private insurance company will see an increase in cost once the policy is assumed. Potential cost increases may only occur upon renewal whenever that may be for an existing policy. And with the rate at which Florida’s property insurance market appears to be recovering, it’s possible there may be numerous options to shop from and consider prior to renewal that you can look into. If one private insurance company is interested in your policy, it’s possible if not likely that there are others. And that’s my advice to you. Regardless of whether you’re with Citizens or not, after October 17th shop around prior to your next policy renewal to see what the options are. The potential for significant savings may be available for you just as it was for me nearly a decade ago.