If you’re like most Floridians, especially those with homes near the coast, you’re probably familiar with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Established in 2002 by the Florida government, Citizens is a state-run insurer that offers coverage for those who can’t get home insurance on the private market.
Citizens is a necessary safety net for many homeowners, but it’s important to remember that the state-run provider is an option of last resort for a reason.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re comparing Kin’s coverage to Citizens.
Because Citizens is a not-for-profit insurer, it puts about 73 percent of every premium dollar toward claims and 17 percent specifically toward paying hurricane claims. Though that leaves a considerable reserve, an intense storm can easily exceed it. When that happens, Citizens is required by Florida law to charge an assessment to cover the remaining damages.
All Florida policyholders are required to pay an assessment when a widespread disaster strikes and leaves the state-run provider at a deficit. However, Citizens policyholders are charged first and pay the brunt of the additional charges. Citizens policyholders pay up to 45 percent of their premium. If the shortfall still exists after that, private policyholders will only pay up to 2 percent in assessment charges.
That’s why, in the words of Citizens, “The true cost of a Citizens policy can increase dramatically following a major disaster.”
So say you’re looking at a $1,000 Citizens policy versus a $1,000 Kin policy.
| — | — | — | | | Citizens Premium | Kin Premium | | Total Yearly Premium | $1,000 | $1,000 | | Potential Assessment Percentage | 45% | 2% | | Potential Assessment Total | $450 | $20 | | Trust Policy Cost | $1,450 | $1,020 |
You’d end up paying a lot more for Citizens coverage if you’re assessed.
It’s also worth noting this assessment doesn’t include an emergency assessment, a separate charge of up to 30 percent of your premium that can be levied over the course of several years. It applies for all Florida policyholders in an emergency, but again, it means Citizens policyholders bear most of the financial burden to help the state recover after a disaster.
Some surcharges apply to every home insurance policy sold in Florida. All policyholders pay the $2 Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund (EMPA) fee. Plus, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Assessment is paid by all insurers to restore the fund if an emergency depletes it.
But Citizens applies these additional surcharges to its home insurance policies:
Whereas a Citizens HO3 policy does offer standard coverages to protect your home, other structures, belongings, loss of use, personal liability, and medical payments, like Kin, it doesn’t allow for as much customization.
For example, Kin offers these optional coverages (Citizens does not):
To learn more about our coverage, give us a call at 855-717-0022.
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