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Part of the necessity of Citizens Insurance is to offset the problems faced by insurers in both Louisiana and Florida due to natural disasters in the area. The threat of hurricanes is simply too high for some companies to offer home insurance products in certain geographic locations.
Since major disasters like Hurricane Katrina can wipe out large areas and end up costing insurance companies billions of dollars, many insurers chose to stop offering coverage in those areas. This makes it nearly impossible for people in some geographical locations to buy insurance.
Citizens Insurance only offers property coverage. Drivers in Florida and Louisiana will need to look elsewhere for car insurance.
Policies are available for wind-only damage as well as multi-peril coverage. A wind-only policy could be used in conjunction with another insurance company to fill the gaps. Additionally, Citizens offers policies for personal and commercial properties, including non-residential structures like office buildings.
Far and away the most common policy sold by the company is the personal residential multi-peril policy, which offers basic homeowners coverage to individuals. This accounts for about half of all policies sold through the program.
Policy types are further subdivided by the property being insured. Homeowners, condo dwellers, and mobile home owners all have their own policies to match their unique needs. These policies will all cover the building itself as well as its contents and surrounding related structures.
You can also get contents-only policies for your personal belongings if you rent rather than own your home.
Citizens Insurance does not offer online quoting. To get a quote or purchase insurance, you’ll want to call the Customer Care Center at 888-685-1555 between 8am and 5:30pm EST.
To file the claim, you’ll need to call 866-411-2742. The number is available 24/7. When calling, you’ll need to describe the damage and make it clear whether or not your home is unlivable, as claims are prioritized according to severity. After the initial claim is filed, an adjuster will be in contact to complete an inspection of the property and move the claim towards closure.
Although Citizens Property Insurance is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, the site gives them an A rating. There have been only two complaints listed in the last three years, one of which has been closed in the past 12 months.
Consumer Affairs lists 42 one-star ratings, of the 59 ratings that were left on the site. Complaints vary, but the common thread running through most is limited coverage and claims either being denied due to that coverage limitation, or the pay-out being lower than needed due to the way the property is valued. Complaints about prices are a common thread as well.
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In general, Citizens Insurance should be looked at as a last resort rather than a first choice. Like the “public defender” of insurance, Citizens will do a serviceable job but will be neither as affordable nor as high-quality as many other options. If your options are limited, however, it’s better to be insured with Citizens than to be without insurance completely.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.