Thanks to those serious Sunshine State-loving hurricanes, Florida homeowners insurance premium numbers tend to be higher in comparison with the rest of America. Add state-specific legislation regarding property insurance and insurance fraud to the equation to bump the numbers ever higher, and it’s no wonder that Floridians are so eager to learn about coverages and policy discounts. For homeowners who see themselves paying nearly double (sometimes more) than their neighbors in nearby states, it makes sense to learn everything possible about the subject.
That’s why we’ve put together a Florida homeowners insurance primer to help you make the right decisions for you and your family. We realize there are challenges in selecting a policy and assessing risk. That’s why it’s so important to also talk with a Florida-specific insurance advisor who understands where you definitely need coverage, where it’s not supremely necessary, and how to edge those payments lower and lower through strategic methods.
A knowledgeable Florida insurance advisor will reveal the ins-and-outs of homeowners insurance.
Simply put, Florida homeowners insurance is designed to cover sudden and accidental direct physical damage or destruction of the interior or exterior of a private home subject to the insurance policy provisions. But there’s more: it’s not just those walls that are protected by a policy of this sort. The possessions inside are as well – and some third-party liability protection is tucked nicely in there as well. This is a quick answer to the question Why do I need homeowners insurance? A more detailed description of why is shared below.
Did you know Florida homeowners insurance is not required by law?
This purchase is a preventative measure that homeowners take in order to secure what is likely their most costly asset: the home sweet home. But no, it is not required. And that means if disaster occurs, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to have planned for any possible loss – whether partial or total.
Hurricanes aren’t the end-all.
In fact, most homeowners insurance claims don’t stem from mammoth storms. It doesn’t take a natural disaster in order for loss to occur. It goes without saying that a hurricane can completely decimate a property and its contents, but the dramatic scenario of a house being torn from its foundation is much less likely than other issues that can arise on a normal occasion due to what’s known as unforeseen perils. Even without worst-case scenarios, plenty of risk exists. Common events such as water losses can do major damage, for example. Opt to go without Florida homeowners insurance, and those repairs will come straight out of your wallet.
Floridians can’t put their homes in a protective bubble; homeowners insurance is the closest thing to it.
Wind, water, theft, fallen trees that crush the roof and more can prove disastrous to a homeowner. Those losses can be covered under homeowners insurance.
Let’s talk canines. The liability portion of a homeowners insurance policy might include dog bites, as those that do happen commonly occur at the owner’s residence.
Before adopting a dog, check with the insurance carrier to see if they will deny coverage because of the breed. Many insurance companies have an Animal Liability Exclusion, or they limit the amount of liability you can purchase for this type of coverage. This is another solid reason to review your policy with an insurance advisor.
Costs of Florida homeowners insurance policies vary.
Florida homeowners face a common challenge when deciding what type of homeowners insurance to actually select.
A trio of options exist; knowing the aspects of each will help in the decision. Before you head into that appointment to talk with an insurance advisor, know your ACV, replacement cost and extended replacement cost verbiage. That way, you’ll be able to have an in-depth discussion and decide together which is right for you and your family.
- Actual cash value – A homeowners policy that is ACV will take depreciation into account. Let’s say an ACV policyholder experiences a loss that is covered under their Florida homeowners insurance policy. Since they’ve opted for ACV, which was likely less expensive in premium than the replacement cost option, they will likely not receive the same amount they originally paid for the insured item. Instead, the actual value at the time of the loss will factor into the claim. As anyone who has ever sold a car can tell you, depreciation is not a positive element. But then again, at least with this coverage the insured is protected up to a certain point.
- Replacement Cost on Contents – You paid that certain amount for that property that was damaged or stolen. In your mind, it was worth that sum and perhaps more, due to sentimental value. The policyholder who opts for replacement cost insurance will be talking to their insurance adjustor about the replacement of covered items with ‘like kind and quality’ without depreciation; unfortunately, sentimental value is not a consideration when adjusting a claim.
- Ordinance or Law Coverage – Looking for even more coverage? This endorsement will extend the coverage amount 25%-50% above the dwelling coverage limit. Someone who wishes to opt for this likely is looking ahead at possible scenarios: perhaps they live in an especially storm-prone area and know they’d have to incur more expense due to updated ordinances, or they are anticipating laws regulating the construction and repair of damaged homes. Cost varies for this extra assurance, but should a covered claim strike you’ll have peace of mind.
How can you lower your Florida homeowners insurance premiums?
Time for some good news! Opportunities do exist to lower your premium and still enjoy the benefits of comprehensive coverage. Some of these elements include:
- Water shutoff devices – How sturdy is your water heater? Has that hose connected to the washer ever been serviced? These questions are important to answer affirmatively because water damage can really be a drain on your finances. The right water shutoff device will not only protect you from that damaging H20, but it can also elicit a premium discount. Inquire as to whether that water shutoff device is approved by your carrier for savings.
- Multipolicy discounts – Have you opted to keep your insurance coverage through one company? Perhaps it’s time to start. An insurance company may offer you multipolicy discounts, and with that one-stop-shop mentality comes the ease of dealing with one company. Imagine it: One comprehensive renewal, and one advisor who understands customized protection for what matters to you. It’s a win-win scenario. W3 is an independent insurance agency, we shop for insurance solutions tailored for you!
- Of course, there’s always the tried-and-true higher deductible choice. If you are looking to reduce your premium, consider a higher deductible. An advisor who understands your unique situation can give insight as to whether that’s likely a good fiduciary move.
- Improve home security – It makes total sense that an insurance carrier might give you a discount for installing a solid security system. If a thief has difficulty making their way into and out of your home, those possessions that you’ve insured are much safer.
- Wind mitigation credit – How wind-prone is your residence? Consider having an expert inspect your home. If it’s wind-resistant, you’ll get credits – and that means discounts.
- Straddle that line between overinsured and underinsured. Again, that’s where the knowledgeable insurance advisor is worth his or her weight in gold.
Consider adding umbrella insurance to your homeowners portfolio.
- While you’re talking with your Florida homeowners insurance advisor, be sure to ask about the mighty umbrella. There are so many true-life stories of people who purchased Florida homeowners insurance with total confidence, only to find out later that they were in fact underinsured. The umbrella covers you like a shield, one more layer of liability protection. It’s so possible to imagine any of the following scenarios occurring. That’s why it’s so important to acquire the right amount of insurance.
- Falls on your property – Who knows to what extent the medical bills will be for someone who trips over that loose paver in the driveway? You could be paying for hospital stays in perpetuity.
- Calamitous events – No one can see into the future. That’s why accidents occur, and that’s why it’s important to consider umbrella insurance to fully cover you if they do.
Add your own here: __________. It only takes a small amount of creativity to imagine the Halloween trick or treater who stumbles on the step and needs medical attention or the teenager who goes to take the car out of the garage for a joyride and forgets the gear is in reverse.
No one wants to go through the claims process, so take measures where you can to improve the hardiness of your home and keep more money in your pocket. As a Florida homeowners insurance shopper, you’re on the right track; you’re definitely ready to search for the right policy now that you’ve read this blog.
Good luck as your protect that which you hold most dear, and contact W3 Insurance when you’re ready to talk about coverage options. Please note that this article provides a general description of coverages. For complete policy information, including exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please refer to your insurance policy contract.
We’re here to help you protect and save. As an all-lines agency, we offer advice regarding coverage, discounts and more. Contact W3 Insurance at 727-522-7777 for more in-depth advice regarding Florida homeowners insurance.