Hurricane Michael is fast-approaching the Sunshine State, and insurers are beginning to put freezes on new homeowners insurance policies ahead of the storm.
Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run "insurer of last resort," stopped writing new homeowners policies as of Monday.
"Citizens cannot accept new policies or policy changes for additional coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for any part of Florida," the state’s second-largest homeowner’s insurance company wrote on its site Monday.
The freezes are only for new policies, and will not affect those currently covered. Citizens currently has about 443,000 policyholders, largely concentrated in South Florida. Those who may run into an issue with the freeze are prospective homeowners, as a policy is often required as a condition of mortgages.
Citizens, like other insurers, will resume writing policies "as soon as there’s no longer a watch or a warning," spokesman Michael Peltier said.
For those currently covered by a policy, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida recommends checking their current coverage ahead of the storm and speaking with their insurance agent to account for any adjustments.
Even for those not in the current path of the storm, such as Tampa Bay, issues could arise once the storm passes if any damage occurred.
"Avoid fly-by-night repair vendors," Samantha Sexton, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for PIFF, said. "If a storm damages your home, call your insurance agent or company first. Do not fall prey to some of the shady vendors who knock on doors promising free roofs or other quick repairs."
Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.