TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay area homeowner is at risk of losing his property insurance coverage for something that’s completely out of his control.
William Calise turned to 8 On Your Side after his insurance asked him to fix something: the location of the county’s fire hydrant.
With just days left to fix the issue and no solution in sight, he called investigator Mahsa Saeidi.
8 On Your Side has been covering property insurance issues for years. We’ve seen them drop homeowners in high-risk areas or those with older roofs. They’ve also dropped homeowners who file a claim or use the insurance that they paid for. But we’ve never seen this reason before.
Just off a long, winding road, in Citrus County, you’ll find Calise’s family home.
Last August, Calise says he spent thousands of dollars on a new roof to ensure he could keep his coverage. But unfortunately, he just found out he could still lose it for a reason he never expected—the location of a fire hydrant, installed by the county and controlled by the county, not him.
“We’re forced to have to contact these company’s and give them our money, and put up with their nonsense,” said William. “How is a fire hydrant, installed by the local government, my problem?”
Calise’s insurance company, Southern Oak inspected his property.
Last month, they sent him this letter, stating there’s “no fire hydrant present within 1,000 feet.”
The insurer states that this may “increase the potential for future losses.”
William was given a deadline to resolve the issue: Oct. 29, 2023.
If he doesn’t, the letter states that that his coverage won’t be renewed.
So, what did the Citrus County Fire Rescue have to say about the hydrant issue?
In a letter to William, the Chief writes in part “engines and tankers…carry water” and that “it is important to note that our engines…could pump.. from alternate water sources.”
“I don’t think it’s just this insurance company, I think it’s all insurance companies,” said William. “I don’t think they want to do business here.”
“I called you specifically because, obviously, this needs addressing.”
Our first call was to the Office of Michael Yaworsky, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner who is in charge of regulating the insurance industry.
We asked if a homeowner could be dropped for being too far from a hydrant. Yaworsky’s office said they’re looking into that specific question.
They want consumers to know that insurance companies are required to do one thing: give you “120 days’ notice” before they drop you.
On Sunday, 8 On Your Side reached out to multiple people at Southern Oak to ask if anything could be done for William. We are waiting to hear back.
Industry experts said being close to a fire hydrant lowers the potential for fire damage, and it can possibly lower your premium.