High Value Homes
by Marge Meek
Since all the Citizens wind policies had to be rewritten last year, many policy holders had homes just under the $750,000 rule for mandatory opening protection to get wind insurance.
Please note this refers to the value of the "building only", not the total property including the lot.
Many other customers had an additional year to comply. This is the year that everyone must
make the decision on how to meet the opening protection rules. And there are options, not always with Citizens, not always as expensive as people think. Opening protection means all windows, doors, sky lights, etc. must meet the guidelines covered on #8 of the uniform
mitigation form. Citizens will only accept the box marked “basic” or better in providing wind insurance to high value homes. By looking at the form’s explanations of what each category means, the typical customer has no idea which opening protections will satisfy the requirement. Therefore, a contractor or other licensed individual is brought in to fill out
the form. Even then, there is disagreement, as these individuals have been to different classes to get certified and the issue goes on.
Shutters, impact glass and even certain rated films will allow a home to be insured with Citizens. However, there are companies who don’t require those same rules be followed on opening protection to get coverage, thus giving the insured more options. Additionally, homes over $2 million are going to be non-renewed this year as well, unless the agent fills out
documents showing no other coverage is available, and then up to a three-year extension will be given. Once again, there are options. Too often high value homeowners are self insuring when alternatives haven’t been explained to them. Be informed before you discontinue such
important coverage. Take the time to ask your agent to explain the various options available, ask your neighbors what they are doing and ask local suppliers what different types of
opening protection they provide. This is an expensive decision that also affects the
ability to sell your home, if that is your goal.
Marge Meek is a local Sanibel-Captiva insurance agent, who can be reached at mmeek@rosierinsurance.