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lynn's Blog

By Lynn Cromer & Robin Parker | Broker in Pinecrest, FL

Florida's New Windstorm Insurance Legislation

Effective January 1, 2009, new homeowners seeking insurance for homes with a replacement cost value at $750,000 or more, located in the "wind-borne debris region," will be required to have all openings outfitted with shutters or opening protections to be eligible for coverage from Citizens. If you are a current customer of Citizens, you will  be required to meet these requirements by your policy renewal date, or no later than June 30, 2009 or your policy will not be renewed.

This means that if you don't have shutters on your home and rely on Citizens for your windstorm policy, they WILL NOT renew your policy. In case you've forgotten, Citizens is the State of Florida's homeowners' insurance safety net, created in 2002 by the Legislature to offer property coverage to Floridians who were unable to obtain private insurance options..

This is huge! The entire County of Miami-Dade is located in this "wind-borne debris region! And many of the homes in Pinecrest have a replacement cost value above $750,000. Many of Pinecrest's homes were built before the requirement for storm shutters and consequently many of the long time residents have not put on shutters. There are plenty of Pinecrest residents without shutters.

What this also means is that this new law affects ANY home currently under contract that will be closing after January 1, 2009. Therefore, if you have sold your home or are in the process of buying one, and it is closing AFTER January 1, 2009, you will not be able to obtain wind storm insurance from Citizens if the house does not have hurricane shutters or other approved window covering.  If the home has shutters, there is no issue. It it doesn't, we all know that it takes months to get shutters, so if your home is closing in early 2009, it will be almost impossible to install shutters in time. Hopefully you will be able to obtain insurance from a private company.

Although the legislation applies only to Citizens, we can only assume that any private insurance company offering wind storm insurance in Florida will shortly follow suit. And although the Citizens coverage is for insurable dwellings over $750,000, what's to keep them from lowering the rate for insurable dwellings over $500,000? Or $350,000?

If you click the link here, FAQ Wind-Borne Debris, you will be directed to Citizens website for more information.

I would be interested in your comments. If you have any real estate needs in the Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Coconut Grove or Coral Gables area, don't hesitate to email me at Lynn@LynnCromer.com.

Note on Dec. 14, 2008: I have mentioned this new legislation to a couple of other top producers in the Pinecrest market, and none of them had heard of it. I was astounded! Most Realtors aren't even aware of the new legislation. So sellers, take note and protect your investment!

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