Starting Sept. 1, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. requires that new customers
obtain four-point inspections for single-family homes older than 30 years to
ensure that the electrical, heating, plumbing and roofing are in acceptable
condition. Previously, Citizens required the inspections on homes older than 50
To be eligible for coverage, the homes must have roofs with at least three years
of life left. What's more, homes with polybutylene plumbing and electrical
service of fewer than 100 amps no longer qualify for coverage. Making the
appropriate upgrades could cost thousands of dollars.
The change doesn't apply to condominiums. Existing Citizens customers aren't
required to get the inspections to renew their policies.
More than 202,000 of Broward County's 374,968 single-family homes are older than
30 years, according to an analysis of Florida Department of Revenue tax records.
In Palm Beach County, nearly 127,000 of the 351,022 homes are older than 30.
The new rule could hurt home sales just as the market is stabilizing, real
estate agents say.
"I think this is going to create another bottleneck for us," Fort Lauderdale
agent David Thomas said.
DiLenge said the new policy could affect many bank-owned homes, which typically
are in poor condition. "And the banks don't fix things," she said.
"Homes that are more than 30 years old are especially vulnerable to loss if
systems and roofing are not kept updated," Citizens said in a statement. "It is
the responsibility of every homeowner to properly maintain their property."
"It's inconsistent with being the insurer of last resort," Westcott said.