Part Two - Citizens Property Insurance Hurricane Proofing Inspections

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

This is the second-installment of our two-part blog post addressing questions raised by the wind mitigation inspections conducted by Citizens, Florida’s largest property insurer.  Click here to read Part I. Based on the results so far, the inspections are expected to deprive over 100,000 homeowners of their hurricane preparation discounts.  The average homeowner who has had his or her home inspected has experienced an annual premium increase of over $500 per year.  In this second installment of the two-part blog on Citizens reversal of these premium discounts, we have provided additional information Citizens policyholders’ should know.

What should I expect to happen after the inspection has been conducted?

Policyholders will be mailed a letter that provides instructions on obtaining the inspection report approximately 45-60 days after the inspection.  New discounts, which are predictably rare, become effective immediately.  Any withdrawn discounts will be imposed when the policyholder renews the policy.

Is it worth hiring someone to install storm mitigation upgrades after the inspection has been conducted?

The answer to this question will vary depending on a homeowner’s individual situation.  If you have the improvements installed, it will make your home safer when a severe tropical storm or hurricane occurs.  However, a decision based on the cost of the improvements when compared to the discounts must be closely evaluated.  The renewal notice can only provide an estimate of potential discounts which must be considered in light of the cost of upgrades.  A remediation inspection can be arranged for $50 to $100 according to Citizens.

Why is it important to keep documentation of any wind mitigation upgrades?

It is important to keep in mind that 75 percent of those who have had their homes inspected have had their premiums increased and their discounts denied.  Because some of these denials are unjustified, appropriate documentation might be necessary to prevail during a re-inspection. 

For example, Marc Velletri told the Sun Sentinal about a personal experience that demonstrates the importance of preserving paperwork.  When his home was inspected, the Citizens inspector was skeptical that the installed windows were hurricane-impact resistant.  According to Velletri, the windows were labeled as impact windows.  He also had one of the original removable labels for the window along with the receipts from the home improvement stores where the windows were purchased.  The inspector claimed that some of the printing on the windows was difficult to read.

Diana Latzko provides another example of the importance of carefully preserving documentation.  She built a file filled with permits and supporting documents to confirm her hurricane-resistant upgrades.  Even though she had meticulous documentation, the adjuster still intended to increase her premium by almost ten percent.  However, she successfully fought the increase with the additional documentation.

If you or your loved one has questions about property insurance claims, we may be able to help.  If you think you might need a Miami insurance attorney for your claim or you have questions about your rights, my law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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