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New Year Marks End Of Florida Hurricane Tax Assessment

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As Floridians ring out the old and ring in the new for 2015, there’s one thing they can say “farewell” to: a tax on their insurance bills that goes toward paying hurricane damage claims.

Insurance policies issued or renewed after Jan. 1, 2015, will no longer include the hurricane tax for the Florida Catastrophe Fund. The charge shows up on most insurance bills including homeowner and auto insurance policies.

But watchdog groups are urging policyholders to check their insurance bills, anyway. 

“Make sure than any policies that you’re renewing after Jan. 1 -- or that are brand-new policies after Jan. 1 – do not have that Cat Fund assessment on them," says Morgan McCord of Florida TaxWatch. "We’re ending this tax a full year ahead of schedule. And that may mean that some insurance companies have not made the correct adjustments to take that assessment off.”

The 1.3 percent assessment began after the back-to-back hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, which caused $70 billion dollars in damage. But with no direct hits from storms since 2005’s Hurricane Wilma – and at least $10 billion on hand in the Cat Fund – Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet decided last June to eliminate the tax.