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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Jonathan Sheldon's St. Petersburg has sat empty after an electrical fire left it unlivable three years ago.

When the insurance company refused to pay the full appraised value of the damage, he filled a lawsuit seeking the full amount for repairs.

"We just finally got the Citizens to finally make good on the payments for the claim for the fire we had," said Sheldon. "The insurance company dragged this thing out for three and a half freaking years," he said in frustration.

MORE: Citizens racks up $100 million in legal fees in two years

With a check in hand, his next step is to contact contractors to begin repairs on his home.

Bay area families finally get some help from Citizens Insurance.

10 News has reported how lawsuits like the one that Sheldon filed doubled from 6,000 in 2010 to more than 12,000 in 2012.

The state-run insurer paid $64 million in defense legal fees, money paid for with taxpayer dollars.

"The furthest thing from my mind is you know something like that would occur and they would drag their feet," said Alfonso Gonzalez.

His Tampa home caught fire last September and he told 10 News the estimated cost of the damage was $260,000, but Citizens paid $70,000 less than the appraised cost of repairs.

Since it took so long to get Citizens to start paying for the repair, he paid for some of it out of his own pocket.

The company has reimbursed him for that, but does not want to pay other problems like like a garage door that was damaged by water from the fire hoses.

RELATED: 400,000 policyholders may move from Citizens Insurance

"They don't want to fix it. They've told me they don't want to fix it," he said.

"The Legislature needs to look into this and make some corrections," said Rick Tutwiler, a licensed public adjuster for Tutwiler & Associates.

He says it's time for state lawmakers to take another look at the insurer of last resort to make sure it is looking out for consumers.

OTHER CASE: Lawsuit filed against Citizens Property Insurance

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