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Citizens insurance review 2024

Updated Feb 16, 2024

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BANKRATE'S TAKE 

Policyholders who live in Florida and cannot find standard home insurance coverage might consider Citizens as a last resort.

Who Citizens may be good for: Citizens may be the only option for Florida homeowners who can't find affordable home insurance with Florida-authorized insurance companies. 

 

Who Citizens may not be good for: Florida homeowners who can secure a standard homeowners policy at a rate within 20 percent of a similar Citizens policy are not eligible for Citizens coverage.

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New

What’s new with Citizens?
  • On January 1, 2024: Citizens opened a catastrophe response center in Panama City to aid customers affected by winter storm Finn and to process claims.
  • Effective July 1, 2023: The discovery period in which Citizens can cancel a new business policy if the homeowner has not met the underwriting requirements is shortened from 90 to 60 days. This change does not alter the discovery period for policies obtained through receivership or insolvency. 
  • Effective July 1, 2023: Citizens can not issue nonrenewals or cancel policies until damage from covered claims is repaired or until one year after the last claim payment, whichever is sooner. Damage caused by wind or hurricanes following a declaration of emergency holds a different provision. 
  • Effective May 31, 2023: Policyholders can remove personal property coverage from their policy at any time during the policy term. 
  • 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.
  • Financial strength rating company Demotech lowered the financial strength ratings of three Florida insurers, which could cause problems for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages. Citizens agreed to reinsure those policies so that the homeowners can continue their coverage with no interruption. The next Demotech report is due in September 2023.

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 can not find private home insurance or if the one you find is prohibitively expensive. The company is often referred to as a “last resort carrier” and has become an increasingly important part of the struggling Florida home insurance market

In the last few years, many private carriers have stopped writing home insurance policies in the state. This led the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to create a reinsurance fund through Citizens in August 2022. OIR then granted Citizens a 6.4 percent rate increase for new and renewal home insurance businesses, effective September 1, 2022. Citizens had originally requested a 10.7 percent increase. 

Citizens began 2022 with 776,790 policies and ballooned to 1,111,283 by October 2022, a 43 percent increase. Having so many of Florida’s high-risk homes insured by Citizens may create problems in the aftermath of a catastrophic loss.

Bankrate’s extensive Citizens Insurance review may help you better understand the importance of this company within the tumultuous Florida insurance market. Among other forms, Citizens sells HO-3 home insurance policies, which are the most common type of policy sold by most home insurance companies in the Sunshine State. 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. 

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.

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Insurance Disclosure

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Quick Facts
Moneybag
$382/year
average savings through Bankrate
Two Thirds
2 out of 3 homes
are underinsured
Insurance Home
1 out of every 20
insured homes makes a claim each year
Circle Check
100% of homes
need insurance before getting a mortgage
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Pros and cons of Citizens homeowners insurance

Citizens fills a critical void in the Florida insurance market. However, since some homeowners have so few choices, they may not have the luxury of selecting the best policy. If you are considering a Citizens policy, you may not have much choice in the matter, but understanding the pros and cons of Citizens Insurance may help you navigate coverage. Here are some of the perks and drawbacks of Citizens home insurance.

Pros
  • Available for most homes in areas of Florida with limited or no other insurance option

  • Offers stand-alone wind coverage

  • 24/7 claim reporting

Cons
  • Must go through an agent for quotes

  • Premiums are likely to be high

  • Home must meet eligibility criteria

Citizens home insurance cost

While the average cost of home insurance in Florida is $1,884 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:

  • Florida building code compliance discount: If your home was built on or after January 1, 2002, you may qualify for this discount based on the building codes your home was constructed under. If your home was built prior to 2002 but you have an updated roof that meets the 2002 Florida Building Code, you may also qualify.
  • Monitored alarm system discounts: If your home has a centrally-monitored fire or burglar alarm, or both, you may get a discount. Centrally-monitored alarms automatically alert emergency services to dangerous situations.
  • Roof construction discount: You may save on your Citizens policy if your roof has certain construction features, although you might need to provide the results of a roof or wind mitigation inspection to qualify. If you’re already getting the building code compliance discount, you likely won’t qualify for a separate roof discount.
  • Wind mitigation discount: If your home has documented wind-damage mitigation features, you could qualify for a lower rate. Examples include storm shutters and doors that are designed to withstand projectiles.

Compare Citizens with other insurers

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.

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Overview
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Overview
Overview
Citizens is a key player in the Florida home insurance market, but some homeowners may have other options. 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. 
Kin operates in some of the more high-risk states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia. 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. However it does have an A (Exceptional) rating from Demotech, a company that rates insurance providers on financial stability.
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.
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.
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Is Citizens a good insurance company?

Citizens insures Florida 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.

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. Citizens Insurance reviews are scarce, with neither AM Best nor Demotech rating  the company for financial strength, but Fitch Ratings gave the company a “stable” outlook with a AA rating for the second year in a row. This rating takes into account Citizens $3.5 billion in outstanding revenue bonds. It is projected to have more than 1.7 million policyholders and to have written $5.1 billion dollars in premium by the end of 2023.

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 claims satisfaction.

Citizens homeowners customer complaints

The National Association of Insurance Commissions (NAIC) does track complaints against Citizens. For home insurance, the company has an NAIC Complaint Index over four 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 the carrier despite its high complaint index.

Frequently asked questions about Citizens

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Written by
Shannon Martin
Writer, Insurance

Shannon Martin is a licensed insurance agent and Bankrate analyst with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She enjoys helping others navigate the insurance world by cutting through complex jargon and empowering readers to make strong financial decisions independently.

Edited by Editor, Insurance