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Gov. Signs 3 Property Insurance Bills into Law

HB 881 expands the My Safe Florida Home program to most areas and increases minimum home values. SB 7052 boosts consumer protections and insurer accountability. HB 799 changes Citizens' price increase “glide path” mainly for non-homesteaded properties.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills on Wednesday that impact property insurance in Florida. Together, they push property insurance discounts for homeowners who strengthen their home to minimize storm damage, help some Floridians pay for upgrades based on the recommendations of a free inspection, limit policy cancellations and make a number of other changes.

My Safe Florida Home program

House Bill 881 expands the eligibility requirements of Florida’s home hardening grant program, known as My Safe Florida Home. It now covers homes with an insured value up to $700,000 – an increase from $500,000 – and it includes townhomes.

While the My Safe Florida Home existed before the governor signed HB 881, the program now offers grants – $2 for every $1 spent up to $10,000 – to almost every Floridian, even if they’re outside a windborne debris region.

The Florida Legislature also appropriated another $100 million to extend the program. It’s effective July 1, 2023.

Citizens Property Insurance and more

HB 799 includes a number of provisions, such as requiring property insurers to allow for mitigation discounts if a homeowner reduced their potential for losses in a windstorm.

However, the major change affects policies on second and vacation homes insured by Citizens Property Insurance, Florida’s state-owned “insurer of last resort.” HB 799 treats Florida residents – owners with a homestead exemption on their property – differently than investment properties.

While homesteaded owners will still have a “glide path” to higher payments as Citizens raises rates, vacation and second-home owners will not. Investment homeowners, both new and existing, will likely see a higher bill sometime over the next year as policies renew or non-homesteaded owners with another insurer switch their coverage to Citizens.

Homesteaded owners who switch to Citizens because their current insurer became insolvent are similarly impacted. Effective July 1, 2023.

Insurer accountability

Senate Bill 7052 contains a number of consumer-protection provisions, such as new restrictions on insurers canceling a policy with an open claim, increased fines against insurers, limits on insurer executive compensation under certain circumstances, and guardrails for insurers who amend insurance adjuster reports. It’s also effective July 1, 2023.

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