FAIR Files Additional Lawsuits Against Florida Home Owners Insurance Carriers

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The 10 News Investigators have learned the group suing Citizens Insurance over its insurance practices will file more lawsuits Monday.

We’ve learned that group — FAIR — will be filing class-action lawsuits against private insurance companies Monday.

Those suits will go along with the cases they’ve already begun against Citizens.

The 10 News Investigators have been leading the way on this. Following reports by 10 News last fall, allegations surfaced.

The claims: insurance companies statewide are setting the replacement costs of some homes extraordinarily high — much higher than they should be.

That means the companies can charge you more to insure your house. The technique lets them make more money and dodge state laws that limit how much they can raise your rates.

That practice is what led the group FAIR — Florida Association for Insurance Reform — to the steps of the state Capitol last week.

FAIR announced it’s suing Citizens Insurance over the issue. Citizens is run by the state and backed up by Florida taxpayers.


What’s Not Covered In Florida Home Owners Insurance?

Do You Know What is NOT Covered in Your Home Owners Insurance Policy?

You Might be Surprised


In recent years, insurance carriers in Florida have added many exclusions to property insurance policies, with little oversight or public debate. These exclusions are drafted into policy leaving consumers with less coverage for the same (if not higher) premium.

Because many policyholders rarely read every word of their large and complex policies, they may not even be aware of what is NOT covered. Since policyholders are unable to negotiate policy language, they are left with a choice of accepting the changes, purchasing new endorsements or seeking a different carrier.

Examples of common policy exclusions include:

Eliminating Your Rights to Appraisal – For 200 years, policies have included the binding appraisal process to settle disputes between insurance companies and the insured over amount of loss or value of damaged property. Many insurers are restricting or eliminating this provision, which provides important consumer protections.


Giving You a Sinking Feeling – Many policies no longer cover damage from sinkholes unless the sinkholes are deemed “catastrophic,” usually meaning large and sudden. But slowly occurring sinkholes can cause catastrophic damage to a home and its value. Damage can run into the hundreds of thousands, often more than the value of the home, leaving many homeowners with no other choice than to walk away from their mortgages.


Requiring You to See Through Walls – Most insurance claims deal with water damage, often stemming from damage behind walls or under slabs that doesn’t become noticeable for weeks or months. Citizens and other insurance companies now deny claims for leakage occurring over more than 14 days, even if it is hidden from sight. In fact, Citizens has just announced plans to further expand its water exclusion.


Eliminating Coverage for Mold – Where there is water damage mold often forms. Though it is recommended that water be removed and damaged areas dried within 48-72 hours, company insurance adjusters often are unable to visit the home within that time. No matter the reason, if mold forms, most companies will no longer cover the cost of its removal.


Leaving Screened Structures Uncovered – Popular in Florida, screened enclosures used to be covered under most homeowner insurance policies. Many carriers have now added exclusions that remove screened structures from coverage.


Re-Defining “Falling Objects” – Typically, damage from falling objects in a home or condo (such as floor damage from a falling light fixture or fan) is covered. Citizens’ new condo policy, however, only covers such damage if the falling objects come down from the sky through your roof or walls. Great coverage for meteorites, but little else.


Repaired SinkHole Properties In Hernando County Florida seeing more demand after Citizens Proposed Rate Hikes

Almost all homeowners in Florida, particularly those that own Real Estate in Hernando and Pasco counties are aware that recently Citizens Insurance has tried to hike the Sinkhole Insurance rates by 447%! Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and groups like FAIR (Florida Association for Insurance Reform) recently led the fight against this Citizens’ proposed increase in sinkhole rates. The efforts of the people were heard and the Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarthy slashed the proposed statewide average 447% increase in Citizens Property Insurance Corp’s sinkhole rates to just 32.8%. So this means we are safe for now but what will lawmakers allow next year? With the unpredictability of sinkhole insurance hikes and with property values being compromised by other factors, what positive factors so buyers have to feel confident? Well here’s one; if you purchase a repaired sinkhole property with the proper Engineering Report and completion paperwork, there is one less headache to worry about with regard to your investment. You are not required to acquire sinkhole insurance on a recently repaired property, in fact it’s probably initially not even an option. Citizens Insurance will only consider re-insuring for sink hole coverage after 3 years and only subject to their review of the Engineering and Completion reports including possibly even inspecting the home. If you happen to have a good warranty from the contractor who performed the repair then you probably are not going to miss that coverage anyway.
With a repaired sink hole property and a good warranty from the contractor many people are deciding to forego the extra sink hole coverage even years later when the property might actually be eligible for that type of coverage again. The fight against Citizens increases is probably only a temporary victory, and you can be sure that they will be coming back for more sometime in the near future. Citizens’ position is that they have had about 235 Million dollars in claims against only about 35 million in actual sink hole policy revenues. With that type of imbalance they say that rate increases are much needed and inevitable, although they fail to ever discuss the overall revenue they may take in which by the way far outweighs the amount of claims. Regardless, we can rest assured additional increase attempts are on the horizon. It’s become clear that Citizens wants out of the sink hole insurance claim business, although they can arbitrarily cancel all the policies they can make the coverage so unappealing and unaffordable that most people simply elect to go without it.
Since further increase are coming in the foreseeable future, the question comes to mind whether or not homes that have had Repaired Sink Holes with all the proper credentials will become more valuable. In recent months, we have noticed that the stigma attached to repaired Sink Hole homes has steadily lifted and more and more people are being attracted to these types of properties due to not having to worry about carry an added coverage in the home owners insurance policy which will inevitably continue to be on the rise. Consumers should be encouraged to make sure all the proper due diligence is completed on these repaired properties and that the repair comes with a good warranty. Assuming that the due diligence passes, and the warranty is solid however, these homes can be quite a hot commodity in a world of rising insurance costs.
A good Real Estate professional in Hernando County who has experience with these types of properties will be a valuable ally in helping buyers determine what does and does not pass the mustard so to speak. It will be interesting to see what the future holds, but so far judging by recent increased demands for repaired sink hole property in Hernando County it may be a fairly good bet to say these types of properties will continue to be in higher demand as further developments and increase by insurers continue to creep forward on the home owners. As it stands at the moment, these types of properties can still typically be purchased for less than current market value, but as we have already started to see that trend may quickly become a thing of the past.
To See a good example of a Home Priced Under Market Value, with a Repaired Sink Hole and All The Correct Documentation and Warranty Click Here And Check Out 1519 Overland Dr in Hernando County Florida.

For more information about the latest Real Estate Trends in Hernando County or aboutReal Estate in Hernando County Fl, contact Tina Fingerman with Agent Trust Realty at 727-946-2348.