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Is Florida's state insurance fund enough for homeowners?

The State of Florida is tied for the highest coastal property value totals, coming in at about $3 trillion. This means that where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet there is $3 trillion worth of homes and businesses at risk during hurricane season. The state has not had a major storm make landfall in seven years, but with more super-storms forming along the East Coast in general, homeowners and insurers in Florida are bracing for a potentially destructive season in 2013.

Most homeowners in Florida rely on the state-run Citizens Property Insurance when a storm causes flooding and other damage to a home. The fund has been able to build up substantial reserves over the past few years without a major storm, so experts say it is in good shape for this season.

However, recent cuts to the program signed into law by the governor of Florida limit recovery for homeowners with property values over $700,000. For many who own homes on or near the water, this may be a major problem if disaster strikes. The recent cuts also affected funding for the insurance program, so while the funds are present now, officials say that the long-term outlook is not as rosy.

This change along with others means that many Florida homeowners may need to take a closer look at their policies and determine if supplemental coverage would be beneficial. As we discussed in a previous post, many people are not clear on exactly what is included in their basic policies. With the changes to the state program, now is a good time to double-check and purchase more robust coverage if needed.

Source: Reuters, "Analysis: As hurricanes loom, Florirda insurance lives on borrowed time," David Adams, June 1, 2013.

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