Citizens Insurance Seeks 14% Rate Hike on Florida Policies

Citizens Insurance Seeks 14% Rate Hike on Florida Policies

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida’s insurer of last resort, may raise rates for over one million customers next year. The corporation’s board of governors approved a proposed 14% rate increase for its policies on Wednesday. However, this proposal still requires approval from Florida regulators.

Citizens Property Insurance was established by the Legislature to assist homeowners and businesses unable to secure insurance from private companies. State law caps its rate increases, although recent legislative changes have raised these caps. For 2025, the cap is set at 14% for primary residences and 50% for secondary homes, defined as those occupied nine months or less each year.

Most of Citizens’ 1.2 million policies are standard homeowner policies covering fire, theft, and windstorms. While Citizens seeks a 14% increase on these policies, the overall effect would be approximately 13.5%.

In Miami-Dade County, homeowners with these policies would see premiums rise from an average of $5,113 to $5,804. In Broward County, premiums would increase from $5,385 to $6,112. The increases in Tampa Bay would be less significant due to lower existing premiums. In Hillsborough County, the average premium would rise from $2,667 to $3,028, and in Pinellas County, it would go from $2,854 to $3,234.

Homeowners with only wind coverage through Citizens would face an average 14.6% increase, while those with condominium policies would see an average 14.2% increase.

Citizens’ board includes lawyers and business executives appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Republican legislative leaders. During the meeting, board member Scott Thomas, a Jacksonville lawyer appointed by Patronis, acknowledged that headlines would focus on the rate hikes. However, he emphasized that recent legislative reforms have been effective in reducing the number of lawsuits filed against Citizens. These changes include reducing the time homeowners have to file lawsuits from three years to one.

Despite these reforms, the benefits of reduced insurance rates have not yet reached homeowners. Citizens’ rates remain lower than those offered by private insurers, but policyholders face additional significant costs in the coming years. A 2022 legislative requirement mandates that all citizen policyholders obtain flood insurance by March 1, 2027. Homes valued at over $500,000 must have flood insurance by March 1, 2024.