TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Finally, it looks like there’s some relief for Florida condo owners who’ve been reeling from the high price of insurance.
8 On Your Side has learned lawmakers have repealed an odd requirement that would have cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for people living in high-rise buildings.
Investigator Mahsa Saeidi, who has exposed all sides of the property insurance crisis hitting families, is breaking these new developments.
Back in December, 8 On Your Side told you how a new rule was about to kick in. It required Citizens Property Insurance policyholders who live in high- rise buildings to buy flood insurance as well. This applied even to condo owners on the 20th floor, for example.
State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat from Miami, has been pushing to have this rule reversed.
“My constituents are getting screwed,” Pizzo said during the special legislative session in December, not mincing words.
In December, the lawmaker reacted to the new flood insurance mandate for Floridians with Citizens: The state insurer of last resort.
The new rule required all policyholders to eventually carry flood too, even people in multi-story buildings.
“Why would the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd floors be required to get flood insurance?” said Pizzo.
Now, they likely won’t have to.
8 On Your Side is the first to report that lawmakers have reversed this odd portion of the new mandate. They’ve done it in two separate bills: S.B. 154 and H.B. 799.
“Both repeal the requirement that Citizens policy holders who are in condos have flood insurance,” said Pizzo. “It’s a huge win but it should’ve never happened in the first place. I mean this was, this was nuts.”
The governor is expected to sign the bills.
Once he does, Citizens would no longer require condo unit owners to buy flood insurance.
Some Floridians in places like Sarasota, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties would save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Pizzo says this couldn’t come at a better time. Condo owners, like so many others, are getting hit hard by rising costs of insurance in Florida.
“All these condos in my district right now are having to do special assessments and raise their association fees on a monthly basis,” said Sen. Pizzo. “The two buildings where I have condos have gone up 40% because of rising insurance rates for the whole building.”
This reversal does not apply to people outside of condos.
So take note: If you have Citizens and you’re in a high-risk flood zone and renewing your policy after July 1, you’re still going to have to buy flood insurance.
Everybody else, regardless of zone, must carry flood by 2027.
Sen. Pizzo says when they passed this rule initially, lawmakers were trying to get people to drop Citizens and shrink the company.
Right now, Citizens has nearly 1.3 million policies.
If you have a tip for Mahsa, send an email to MSaeidi@WFLA.com