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Citizens to expand some forms of coverage

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By Pat Faherty

 

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. plans to offer coverage changes to benefit mobile home owners, policyholders with previous sinkhole claims and properties under construction.

Citizens is the nonprofit government enterprise providing insurance for Florida property owners unable to obtain coverage anywhere else. It currently insures about 4,445 properties in Citrus County valued at $473 million, down from $499 million in 2012.

Citizens made policy changes in 2012 to eliminate coverage for screened enclosures, carports and similar structures, which in some cases prevented mobile home owners from complying with community requirements. As a result, Citizens approved an option to allow mobile home owners to purchase coverage for attached carports, screened enclosures and covered patios.

Homeowners with prior sinkhole claims who have made all sinkhole-related repairs will be eligible for coverage. 

Coverage will be available that includes the more comprehensive open-peril policy, with or without sinkhole coverage. Previously, Citizens was unable to offer coverage on homes in which the policyholder had met or exceeded policy limits due to sinkhole activity.

In response to requests by the governor to reduce exposure, Citizens last year stopped writing builders-risk policies, which provide protection during new home construction or renovations.

Subsequent feedback showed the private market is not providing that coverage. In response, the board approved a reinstatement of Commercial Builders Risk/Renovation wind-only coverage for single family homes located in coastal territories. 

Citizens spokesperson Michael Peltier explained the changes will go into effect once they are filed and approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation, which usually takes a couple of months.

Contact Chronicle reporter Pat Faherty at 352-564-2924 or pfaherty@chronicleonline.com.