Homeowners Insurance in Florida: Everything You Need to Know
Homeowners insurance covers your home, its contents, and your liability when you’re away from home.
That’s usually what you think of when you hear the term homeowners insurance. But that’s not all it covers.
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This blog post will explain some of the lesser-known ways in which homeowners insurance in Florida can help protect you and your home.
What is homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance protects you financially if your home or property is damaged or destroyed by events covered by your policy.
These include fire, smoke, theft, windstorms, falling objects and hail. Most insurers also offer coverage for vandalism and damage caused by earthquakes.
Your policy will cover your belongings inside your home, everything from TVs and computers to clothing and jewelry if they are stolen or damaged by fire, water or some other covered peril.
Depending on where you live and whether you have a mortgage loan on your home, homeowners insurance may also cover personal liability issues related to accidents that happen at your home or with any structures attached to it.
If someone is injured while visiting your home, say, because of an unsafe staircase or loose railing, you could be held liable for damages.
If a visitor gets hurt because of something you did wrong as a homeowner, for example, leaving a ladder lying around after doing repairs, you could be held liable as well.
Liability coverage pays for expenses related to injuries and damages that aren’t covered by your medical insurance or automobile insurance policies.
It can also help pay legal fees associated with defending yourself against claims made against you.
When you start looking for homeowners insurance quotes, you’ll soon realize there are a lot of types of coverage out there.
If it seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Chances are that your existing car or health insurance provides adequate home coverage. Be sure to check first before buying an additional policy.
If it doesn’t provide everything you need, then ask yourself: How much protection do I really need? Can I add extra coverage with my current provider?
That way, you can stay on top of your budget and not waste money on unnecessary expenses.
After all, if you have multiple policies from different providers, it might be difficult to remember who pays what when something happens.
This could lead to confusion and ultimately mean more headaches for you down the road.
Make sure you understand exactly what is covered by each type of policy so that your homeowner’s insurance isn’t useless when something does happen.
It may seem obvious but many people forget about their most valuable possessions when shopping around for homeowner’s insurance!
Think about expensive items like jewelry and artwork, electronic equipment (like laptops), or even cash kept at home.
Once these items are stolen or damaged in a fire/flood/etc., replacing them could cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars!
Homeowners insurance in florida coverages
Before buying homeowners insurance, it’s important to know what types of coverage options are available.
If you live in a state with hurricane prone areas, or have expensive valuables and items on your property, you might consider adding insurance riders that will help cover losses related to wind and storm damage.
Other common coverages include: liability protection; personal possessions; living expenses (i.e., if your home is damaged so badly that you can’t live there); and medical payments.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what each type of coverage entails. Today’s average premium for homeowner’s insurance was $927 annually.
That number varies by location and insurer, but we’re going to go ahead and say it’s probably higher than you think and certainly higher than necessary.
For example, our analysis found that a 25-year-old male non-smoker could get comprehensive homeowner’s coverage for as little as $195 per year from Esurance.
Of course, rates vary widely depending on your location, how much coverage you need and other factors like age or credit history.
But no matter where you live or how old you are, it pays to shop around for homeowners insurance quotes online before locking into an annual policy through an agent.
Homeowners insurance in florida
Most people think homeowners insurance is a one-size-fits-all kind of product.
And while there are many similarities, there are also plenty of ways that homeowners insurance can differ from company to company.
To start with, unlike car or health insurance, where you pay an annual or monthly premium for coverage, it’s customary for homeowners insurers in Florida to collect their due only after damage has occurred.
(Unless your home is valued at less than $5,000; then some providers won’t even require a down payment.)
In fact, if you go six months without any claims on your policy, you may qualify for a discount when renewing.
But then how will you know the provider that is your best fit? It all comes down to what’s important to you and what isn’t.
For example, some companies offer discounts on pet insurance and offer online claim filing options.
Others offer 24/7 customer service via phone or email and will send an adjuster out within 24 hours of a claim being filed.
Find out which features matter most to you and use them as criteria when comparing policies from different companies.
Once you’ve narrowed things down, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Many providers will work with clients on pricing and premiums based on individual needs and circumstances.
The more time and effort put into shopping around before purchasing homeowners insurance in Florida, the better off consumers will be once they have coverage in place!
Homeowners insurance in florida for mobile homes
Typically, mobile homes are not eligible for standard homeowners insurance; however, there are some companies that specialize in covering these structures.
The cost of coverage will be higher than a traditional home due to added risk factors. It is important that you know what you’re paying for when you purchase a policy so that if a claim is ever made, your money is well spent.
If you have a need for coverage on your mobile home, make sure you ask about these things: Does it cover flood damage? What about hail?
If I need to replace my roof, does it cover theft? If I can’t live in my house because of storm damage, does it provide temporary housing expenses?
In general, all claims must fall under one of three categories: peril loss (damage from wind or hail), fire or lightning damage and theft.
The most common homeowner’s insurance problems: Many people think they’re covered but aren’t.
Others don’t realize that their policy doesn’t cover certain situations or events, such as flood damage or earthquakes.
It is important to know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t so you can make an informed decision about whether you need additional coverage for these situations.
If you have a homeowners policy, make sure you understand how it works by asking yourself these questions: Does my home insurance cover water damage?
What if I need temporary housing? What if I’m not living in my house due to repairs? How much will it cost me out of pocket if I need to file a claim?
Homeowners insurance in florida for older homes
Older homes are more likely to have a greater number of expensive and hard-to-replace items.
Be sure you’re not skimping on protection by opting for a lower limit than your belongings are worth.
Your insurer will ask you what your belongings are worth when they look at calculating your premium.
Reviewing your coverage limits and premiums regularly can help make sure you’re covered should disaster strike, but it’s important that you don’t put yourself at risk for other kinds of insurance fraud by exaggerating how much your things are worth.
Insurers also check inventory before paying out claims; if they think something is fishy, they’ll contest it with documentation from appraisers or checks of their own.
If you’re found to be lying about your possessions’ value, there could be serious consequences.
For example, some insurers may cancel your policy altogether.
Others may refuse to cover anything else until they get reimbursed for any overpayments made on previous claims.
Still others may require an immediate payment of $5,000 or $10,000 as security against further deception which can be enough to bring down even the most carefully planned budget.
A floater policy is a type of homeowners insurance that provides protection for specific, replaceable items in your home.
Floaters are usually purchased when you already have a basic policy and want additional coverage for certain high-ticket items.
If your house burns down, a standard homeowners policy would only pay out what it costs to rebuild or repair it (typically no more than around $250,000).
By comparison, if you own a diamond ring or artwork that’s irreplaceable, you’ll need a separate floater plan to protect those items.
It’s common for insurers to offer lower rates on floaters because they’re typically less risky than standard policies; although they still do require proof of value.
Homeowners association insurance requirements
Many people don’t know that a homeowners association (HOA) can legally require you to buy special insurance for your condo or townhome.
This can be used as an enforcement tool for behavioral issues with your neighbors, or it may simply be a new restriction added on as part of condo-conversion process.
In any case, these extra requirements often aren’t found until after closing and it is not uncommon for an insured homeowner to later find out about them when they try to file a claim only to have their claim denied by their insurance company.
For those HOA owners who already have coverage, check with your agent: Their policies may need updating in order meet HOA requirements.
And if you are thinking about buying a home in an HOA community, make sure to ask if there are any special insurance requirements before signing on the dotted line.
The more information you have going into your purchase, the better off you will be. After all, knowledge is power!
A Condo Association Lawyer’s Guide to Condo Association Insurance Requirements : An overview of what insurance requirements are typically included in condo associations.
Also includes additional resources for further reading.
Homeowners association insurance providers
Before signing a contract with an insurance provider, be sure you know your options. If you need information on what’s available in your area, start by asking around; there are many insurance brokers and agents who focus specifically on HOA coverage.
Once you have a few names, check online reviews and speak with professionals at different companies; let them know what coverages you’re interested in and ask for estimates so that you can compare prices.
The more questions you ask about premiums, deductibles, coverage limits and other details before getting started, the more satisfied (and hopefully cheaper) your policy will end up being.
Plus, if something happens while you’re insured through your HOA association, it’s always nice to have someone on your side. After all, it’s only fair: You pay dues every month just like everyone else!
Protecting your property value
For homeowners, property value means much more than a number in a mortgage.
It’s how much you could sell your home for if you were forced to move tomorrow. And while some of your personal belongings may be insured under your homeowner’s policy, that policy won’t pay out if an entire room is destroyed or wiped out by a fire.
If you don’t have enough coverage, it can make it difficult or even impossible to rebuild what’s been lost after a catastrophic event like a hurricane or earthquake. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly how much insurance you need before disaster strikes.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your needs: What would happen if my house was damaged? What would happen if my house was completely destroyed?
How long would I be without a place to live? Would I need temporary housing during repairs? Will I need help with relocation costs? Would I lose income from being displaced from my business or job site during repairs? Could I afford moving expenses and storage fees until things are repaired/rebuilt? Could I afford temporary living expenses during repairs/rebuilding?
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