Saturday, October 20, 2018
Real Estate

Insurers begin to stop writing new homeowners policies ahead of Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael is fast-approaching the Sunshine State, and insurers are beginning to put freezes on new homeowners insurance policies ahead of the storm.

Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run "insurer of last resort," stopped writing new homeowners policies as of Monday.

"Citizens cannot accept new policies or policy changes for additional coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for any part of Florida," the state’s second-largest homeowner’s insurance company wrote on its site Monday.

Follow the latest Hurricane Michael coverage: Tampa Bay under state of emergency as Florida Panhandle on alert

The freezes are only for new policies, and will not affect those currently covered. Citizens currently has about 443,000 policyholders, largely concentrated in South Florida. Those who may run into an issue with the freeze are prospective homeowners, as a policy is often required as a condition of mortgages.

Citizens, like other insurers, will resume writing policies "as soon as there’s no longer a watch or a warning," spokesman Michael Peltier said.

For those currently covered by a policy, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida recommends checking their current coverage ahead of the storm and speaking with their insurance agent to account for any adjustments.

Even for those not in the current path of the storm, such as Tampa Bay, issues could arise once the storm passes if any damage occurred.

"Avoid fly-by-night repair vendors," Samantha Sexton, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for PIFF, said. "If a storm damages your home, call your insurance agent or company first. Do not fall prey to some of the shady vendors who knock on doors promising free roofs or other quick repairs."

MORE: Get more business news here

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

Comments
Tampa’s Oxford Exchange one of nation’s 50 most beautiful independent stores

Tampa’s Oxford Exchange one of nation’s 50 most beautiful independent stores

TAMPA — Architectural Digest has named Tampa’s Oxford Exchange as Florida’s most beautiful independent store — and one of the 50 most beautiful in the nation. Opened in 2012 in a onetime stable, the exchange a at 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. includes a resta...
Published: 10/19/18
Is Tampa Bay finally seeing signs of a buyer’s market? Soaring September sales hint at it

Is Tampa Bay finally seeing signs of a buyer’s market? Soaring September sales hint at it

Bucking a national trend, sales of single-family homes soared by double digits in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Hernando counties in September.That dramatic increase, coupled with minor price increases, suggests that a real estate market that has favore...
Published: 10/19/18
In Tampa, Salvation Army will shrink so it can grow

In Tampa, Salvation Army will shrink so it can grow

TAMPA — The Salvation Army has had a presence in Tampa Heights for more than six decades, offering food and shelter to the needy in buildings along Florida Avenue. Now the charity plans to shrink its footprint in the up-and-coming neighborhood, with ...
Published: 10/18/18
Attorney Mark Stopa’s foreclosure cases are halted but clients’ checks are being cashed

Attorney Mark Stopa’s foreclosure cases are halted but clients’ checks are being cashed

TAMPA — A bankruptcy judge has ordered a temporary halt to all state and appellate court proceedings in which suspended foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa and his former law firm are counsel of record.The emergency order, effective until Nov. 6,...
Published: 10/18/18
They’ve met 475 Tuesdays in a row to help real estate pros rebound from the housing crash

They’ve met 475 Tuesdays in a row to help real estate pros rebound from the housing crash

TAMPA — A decade ago this fall, the U.S. economy was in crisis. The investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed in the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Major banks were about to fail. The stock market plunged. And in Florida, "real estate stopped co...
Published: 10/17/18
Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Buying a house? Rising mortgage rates are pushing monthly payments for the typical U.S. home 15.4 percent higher than they would have been if you had purchased a year ago, Zillow says. Since January, the average mortgage rate has climbed from about ...
Published: 10/16/18
Is Tampa Bay headed for another housing bubble? Not this time around

Is Tampa Bay headed for another housing bubble? Not this time around

Home prices keep climbing. Houses sprout in long dormant parts of Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Condo towers rise in our downtowns. It’s no wonder I’m often asked whether we are creating another housing bubble like the one that plunged the economy...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/15/18

Tampa Bay foreclosure filings soar in third quarter of 2018

Counter to the national trend, the Tampa Bay area saw a sharp spike in new foreclosure filings in the third quarter of this year. Lenders began foreclosing on 1,796 bay area homes, 20 percent more than in the same period last year, according to the ...
Published: 10/11/18
Tampa Bay cracks national Top 10 list for real estate investors

Tampa Bay cracks national Top 10 list for real estate investors

It’s taken 40 years but the Tampa Bay area has finally been named one of the nation’s top 10 markets for real estate investors.And we’re not talking just house flippers but also big-time investors prepared to sink millions into warehouses, office bui...
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/11/18
Habitat for Humanity buys back mortgages it sold to real estate investors

Habitat for Humanity buys back mortgages it sold to real estate investors

TAMPA — Starting Oct. 24, a group of Tampa homeowners will once again make their mortgage payments to Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough instead of to a real estate investment firm. Habitat announced today that it has repurchased 12 mortgages from Sou...
Published: 10/09/18