I recently received the Renewal Declaration for my primary residence from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
Not surprisingly, my Florida homeowner’s insurance premiums jumped over 16.5% since last year, despite the fact I’ve never filed a claim for damages on my home. While I was reviewing my property coverages, I noticed an unusual entry, “Other Structures”.
I found this very peculiar since…
I don’t have “Other Structures” on my property.
My yard is completely free of tool sheds, carports, dog houses, hen houses, outhouses, gazebos, cabanas, tiki huts, canopies or anything else than may be remotely construed as an additional structure.
Granted, I have a large screened patio, but Citizens stopped covering screened enclosures nearly two years ago. According to my own renewal declaration,
Citizens Insurance WILL NOT COVER:
- Any structure enclosed by screens on more than one side
- Any structure constructed to be open to the weather
- Any structure not constructed of and covered by the same or substantially the same materials as that of the primary dwelling
The full version of this information was nearly hidden on the 12th page of my renewal documents. If you have your renewal notice around, look for “Section I – Property Coverages”, to confirm this for yourself. Oddly, this exclusion of coverage is in the section labeled “Property Coverages”, not “Exclusions”. Pretty clever, Citizens!
So how can it be that Citizens Insurance is charging me for coverage that they know I could not possibly utilize? It’s simple. Because they can.
I contacted my insurance agent and after some debate, she emailed me a form that allowed me to remove this unusable coverage from my policy. I signed it and emailed it back immediately. I should see a reduction in my premium reflected on my renewal date. Sure, it would be great if I would receive a refund, but I’m not holding my breath.
I am not an insurance agent, and I am not advising what you should do in terms of your own coverage. However, when you receive your homeowner’s insurance renewal declaration, consider starting a dialogue with your insurance agent. It never hurts to ask about your options with an insurance professional. For me, it made no sense to pay a premium for coverage on property that was automatically excluded.
Next up, I will see if I can reduce my “Debris Removal” coverage, specifically the clause that would cover the removal of a tree felled by the peril of weight of ice, snow or sleet. After living in Tampa for as long as I have, I’m fairly certain trees falling over in my yard from the accumulating weight of ice and snow, is highly unlikely.