Citizens insurance review 2023
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At a glance
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Policyholders who live in Florida and cannot find standard home insurance coverage might consider Citizens as a last resort.
May provide coverage for homes that are difficult to insure
Wind-only coverage is available
24/7 claim reporting
Only available in Florida
No online quotes
Must meet eligibility criteria
- In December 2022, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 2-A, which includes reform to the Citizens insurance program. To qualify for a policy from Citizens, shoppers must prove that the private market quotes they received are more than 20 percent higher than Citizens’ rate. Additionally, all Citizens policyholders will be required to carry flood insurance, although this step will roll out in several phases.
- The struggling Florida home insurance market has caused hundreds of thousands of policyholders to seek coverage from Citizens. The company began 2022 with 776,790 policies and had ballooned to 1,111,283 by October 2022, a 43 percent increase. Having so many of Florida’s high-risk homes insured by Citizens could create problems in the aftermath of widespread damage.
- The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) granted Citizens a 6.4 percent rate increase for new and renewal home insurance business effective September 1, 2022. Citizens had originally requested a 10.7 percent increase.
- The Florida OIR created a reinsurance fund through Citizens in August 2022. Financial strength rating company Demotech warned that it may lower the financial strength ratings of several insurers, which could cause problems for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages. If that happens, Citizens has agreed to reinsure those policies so that the homeowners can continue their coverage with no interruption.
Citizens home insurance
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is a Florida-based, government-created not-for-profit insurer that was established in 2002. Citizens home insurance may be an option if you live in Florida and have not been able to find private home insurance or if the home insurance you do find is prohibitively expensive. The company is often referred to as a “last resort carrier” and has become an increasingly important part of the Florida home insurance market in the last few years, as many private carriers seek to stop writing home insurance policies in the state.
Bankrate’s extensive Citizens Insurance review may help you better understand the importance of this company within the tumultuous Florida insurance market. While Citizens is an important option for many homeowners, those who qualify for standard coverage may want to consider some of the other best home insurance companies in the Sunshine State when insuring their home.
Among other forms, Citizens sells HO-3 home insurance policies, which are the most common type of home insurance. These policies cover the structure of your home, detached structures, your personal property, additional living expenses, medical payments and your liability exposure. You may be able to add a few endorsements, too, like sinkhole coverage and personal property replacement cost, for more robust financial protection.
While Citizens is a last-resort option for many homeowners, not everyone qualifies for coverage. To qualify for Citizens home insurance, you must be able to show that you have not been able to obtain coverage through any Florida insurer or that the cost of a policy from other Florida insurers is more than 20 percent higher than the cost of a Citizens policy. Citizens will also require its policyholders to carry flood insurance, which adds an additional premium. These new regulations were likely put into place to help encourage homeowners to seek private insurance. Relying too much on Citizens puts a strain on the last-resort system and could cause further turmoil in the market.
Citizens home insurance cost
While the average cost of home insurance in Florida is $1,981 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage, Citizens may be a cheaper home insurance option than private insurers. One of the ways to qualify for coverage with Citizens is to show that the rates for a comparable policy with private insurers are more than 20 percent higher than the rates with Citizens. However, average prices for this company are not available from Quadrant Information Services. Due to Citizens’ 6.4 percent rate increase, which took effect on September 1, 2022 for new and renewal business, rates are likely to increase.
Citizens home insurance discounts
Homeowners who want to save money on home insurance may be able to take advantage of discounts through Citizens Property Insurance. There are five discounts available through the carrier. In order to qualify for many of these discounts, you must get a home inspection first. Below are some of the most impactful discounts that Citizens offers:
Citizens home tools and benefits
Citizens specializes in selling homeowners insurance and does not offer additional services. However, the company may be able to help you find an authorized wind-mitigation or roof inspector, and these inspections could save you money on your premium. Citizens also has helpful online resources tailored to Florida homeowners, like storm preparedness checklists and a news section. There’s also an online portal for policyholders to manage their accounts.
Citizens customer satisfaction
When comparing home insurance companies, reviewing financial strength and customer satisfaction may help you determine if you will be satisfied with a carrier's service. Neither AM Best nor Demotech rates the company for financial strength, but Fitch Ratings gave the company a “stable” outlook. However, the affirmation was done in January 2021, and Citizens’ situation has changed drastically since then with an influx of policies and staggering amounts of damage to account for from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Citizens only exists in Florida. Although there are other companies with the same name in other states, they are not affiliated with Citizens in Florida. As a regional company, Citizens wasn’t rated by J.D. Power for customer or claims satisfaction. The National Association of Insurance Commissions (NAIC) does track complaints against the company, though. For home insurance, Citizens has an NAIC Complaint Index of 3.65, over three times higher than the baseline of 1.00. This could indicate that customers are often unsatisfied by the service they get from Citizens. However, with Citizens being a last-resort company, homeowners may have little or no choice but to purchase a policy from Citizens despite its high complaint index.
How to file a claim with Citizens
To file a claim with Citizens, you can:
- Call 1-866-411-2742
- Report online or by mobile with Citizens myPolicy
When filing a claim, you may be asked for information like your policy number, your contact information, a description of the damage (including the date that it happened) and information about your mortgage company (if you have one). Once your claim has been filed, a Citizens adjuster will review your policy and the details of your loss to determine if you have coverage for the damages.
Citizens is only available in Florida. There are other companies with the same or similar names in other states, but they are not the same as the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Florida created Citizens as a state-run insurer, and the carrier is not part of a larger insurance company.
Other Citizens perks worth considering
If you aren’t a homeowner or have a home that needs specialized coverage, Citizens may still be able to help you. In addition to standard HO-3 insurance, Citizens also sells the following types of coverage, among others:
- Renters: Renters insurance includes personal property and liability coverage, but does not provide coverage for the structure of your home or apartment, since you don't own it.
- Modified homeowners: This is an HO-8 policy form that could be a good option for older or historic homes that have unique features.
- Dwelling fire/landlord: If you own homes that you rent to others, this policy type may offer relevant coverage.
- Condo: Condo owners may be interested in this special type of coverage that covers part of the home’s structure, some interior features and liability coverage.
Citizens corporate sustainability
Citizens does not highlight any specific social responsibility actions. However, Citizens is a not-for-profit insurer and lists five core values on its website: public service, integrity, respect, responsiveness and sound judgment.
Not sure if Citizens is right for you?
Citizens is a key player in the Florida home insurance market, but it isn’t the only option. However, it’s important to note that — depending on your circumstances — you may not have any other option but Citizens. The company is there to provide coverage for homeowners who haven’t been able to find a policy elsewhere. If you do qualify for private coverage though, here are some of the best home insurance companies in Florida to consider.
Keep in mind that not all companies are available in all areas of Florida. Eligibility may also be restricted based on your home’s unique features. Talking with an agent from each company is likely the best way to know if you qualify for coverage.
Citizens vs. Kin
Kin only operates in the high-risk states of Florida and Louisiana. Kin could be a good option if you value innovation, as the company takes a tech-forward approach to rates and claims that may appeal to homeowners looking for a non-traditional insurance experience. Kin doesn’t have a mobile app, though, and its small size precludes it from most third-party reviews.
Learn more: Kin Insurance review
Citizens vs. State Farm
State Farm may appeal to homeowners who like working with a local agent. As the country’s largest property and casualty insurer, State Farm is backed by A++ (Superior) AM Best financial strength and high third-party customer and claims satisfaction ratings. However, State Farm’s eligibility requirements in Florida may be strict, so not all homeowners will qualify.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Citizens vs. Tower Hill
This company was founded in Florida and may be more familiar with the needs of Florida homeowners than other insurers. Tower Hill offers some unique optional coverage types, including screened porch coverage and lock replacement coverage. The company doesn’t offer a mobile app or online quotes, though, and its website has limited functionality for policy management.
Learn more: Tower Hill Insurance review
Is Citizens a good insurance company?
Citizens fills an important role in the Florida home insurance market by insuring homes that many other carriers shy away from. For homeowners in coastal areas and other storm-prone parts of the state, Citizens may be the only way to get home insurance coverage. As Florida’s home insurance market continues to fluctuate, Citizens may allow homeowners to obtain some measure of financial protection. However, Citizens does have a high NAIC Complaint Index, its policies are more basic than you could find elsewhere and you will eventually be required to buy flood insurance to get or maintain a Citizens’ home insurance policy. Remember that Citizens isn’t designed to be an insurer of choice, but rather an insurer of last resort.