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Florida homeowners with Citizens insurance to see double-digit rate hike

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida homeowners are bracing for another home insurance price hike.

Citizens Property Insurance, the state-backed insurer of last resort, is moving forward with a double-digit rate increase that will hit just before the end of the year.

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Depending on your policy, you’ll see an increase of between 12 and 24 percent. This comes as Florida homeowners already pay the most in the nation for insurance.

When longtime Floridian Raymond Malave began to shop around for insurance on his new home he knew he was in for steep premiums.

“It just feels like it’s going up by thousands,” he said.

Read: Citizens customers could see costly policy switch if they miss this important letter

Malave decided to try and get ahead of potentially hefty quotes. He made fixes to his roof and other home repairs, but in the process his insurance coverage lapsed.

“When I went to get insurance, thinking that I did good for replacing all these items, it was difficult for me to find insurance,” he said. “My only resort was Citizens insurance.”

Read: Thousands of Citizens Insurance policies could be taken up by private insurers

Its a similar story for homeowner Kris Charles.

“Even though the property had been fully updated, it was still difficult because of the age of the home finding a company that would insure,” Charles said.

Malave and Charles ultimately found coverage through Citizens, but rate increases presented to the Citizens’ governing board on Wednesday mean they’ll soon be paying more for coverage.

Read: Florida’s Citizens Insurance proposes 14-percent rate increase

Insurance expert Diana Giron said Citizens has been working towards an increase for months, but even with the hikes, Citizens rates are still well below what private companies charge and 40 percent below what they would need to be to cover all expenses across the state.

“They’re way, underinsured,” Giron said. “The pricing is way below what they can handle in a catastrophe.”

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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