Florida homeowners insurance can help you fix or rebuild your home in case of damage. But not all policies are created equally—and finding out what’s covered isn’t always easy. When looking for homeowner’s insurance in Florida, give it a thorough read-through (or two) and make note of what items are covered, what type of damages are covered, and, perhaps most importantly, what’s missing. Partner with a reputable agent and make sure your policy includes the following.
Florida Homeowners Insurance: Property Coverage
Your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover your home (the structure itself) as well as other structures on your property, like detached garages and sheds. It should also cover the items inside your home (your personal property). A good policy will also cover the “loss of use” of your property. This means it will cover additional living expenses (ALE) necessitated by damage to the structure of your home (such as rent or hotel fees). Most policies will provide these types of property coverage, but they’ll likely differ in which situations they’ll cover damage (for example, they may provide coverage for a hail storm but not a flood), how much they’ll cover, and what your deductible will be (i.e. how much you have to pay for repairs before your insurance kicks in).
To ensure you have enough coverage, look for any limits that are written into your policy. For example, if you collect watches, make sure to check if there is a limit for “jewelry” under personal property. If there is, you should consider purchasing additional insurance so that your collection is appropriately protected.
And of course, always check to see what is excluded from your policy. If your policy doesn’t cover something like flooding ask about adding it. Supplemental insurance can help you create a strong insurance package and may be the best way to guarantee that your policy will have everything you need.
Florida Homeowners Insurance: Liability Coverage
You’re likely familiar with liability thanks to your auto insurance. Your home insurance policy should also have liability coverage, including personal liability and medical payments to others. If someone gets hurt on your property, your liability coverage will help cover any medical fees or legal costs associated with the injury (up to your limit). How much liability coverage you need will vary. For example, if you happen to have an at home business or have a lot of guests stopping through your home for some reason, you may want higher liability coverage.
How Much Florida Homeowners Insurance Do You Need?
If you’re looking to get a policy to cover up to the amount you paid for your home or to match your mortgage or appraisal, you will likely be underinsured.
Your Florida homeowner’s insurance policy should be enough to cover replacement of your home. That means the amount of your policy should be able to cover rebuilding a new home at today’s prices. Many Floridians base their insurance needs on the price they paid when they bought their home, however markets change. And in case disaster strikes, that amount may not be enough to rebuild your home.
What About Wind Insurance and Flood Insurance?
Too often, homeowners make the mistake of assuming that their homeowner’s policy covers everything. Unfortunately, not all damage caused by wind or flooding may be covered under a typical homeowner’s policy. It’s important to thoroughly read any policy you’re considering to make sure it provides adequate coverage—and preferably more.
Thinking about skipping the flood insurance because you aren’t in a flood plain? Or opting out of wind coverage because, hey, what damage can wind really do? Don’t! You may be surprised to learn that some types of damage, such as water damage, impact damage, or even hail damage, can be considered wind damage under certain conditions. For example, if you have a leak in your home after a storm, an insurance appraiser may determine that the leak was caused by high winds that damaged your shingles and created enough space for water to seep through. While you may be insured against water damage, in this situation, to be covered under insurance, you would actually need wind insurance since the wind was what initially caused the damage to the roof, which then lead to the water damage.
With the active hurricane seasons of the past few years, the need for flood insurance is pretty clear. Unfortunately, many policies don’t include flood insurance. If you find a policy that you otherwise like, be sure to get supplemental flood insurance to be truly protected. Otherwise, you may find yourself underwater and out of luck.
Do You Need to Have Home Insurance in Florida?
Homeowner’s insurance isn’t required by Florida law—unlike auto insurance—however, that doesn’t mean you should skip it. For one, many mortgage companies require homeowners to carry an insurance policy on their properties. And even if yours doesn’t, having a homeowner’s policy can help protect your home in case of damage. In a state that’s been hit hard by Matthew, Irma, Maria, and Michael, having a homeowner’s insurance policy is important for protecting your investment—and your future. At the same time, just signing up for a policy isn’t enough. Make sure you know what’s covered and what’s not covered so you can get any supplemental insurance to protect your home in case disaster strikes.
Look for Value—Not Price!
Shopping for the cheapest Florida homeowners insurance policy is a mistake. Inexpensive policies are generally barebones policies that won’t cover most catastrophic events or that have high deductibles. Rather than shopping on price alone, make sure to look for value.
A policy that’s a good value will provide you with all the coverage you need at a fair price. While this will likely have a higher premium than a barebones policy, it will actually protect you should something happen to your property.
In addition, you can often save by bundling insurance. That means when you get your different insurance policies through one agency, you not only make your life easier, you save money.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
One last disclaimer—don’t wait to get insurance! Once a hurricane or storm watch or warning is in effect in the state, you will not be able to purchase insurance. Make sure you’re insured as soon as possible, especially if you’re purchasing a new home during hurricane season.
OIG Now Offers Florida Homeowners Insurance & Other Personal Policies!
OIG now offers Florida homeowners insurance! In addition to our existing suite of popular business insurance offerings, OIG now offers a variety of personal insurance products to help you protect what matters most to you.
At OIG Insurance of Tampa, we work with our policyholders to find policies that meet their needs. We know it’s getting harder to find good homeowner’s insurance policies in Florida. Our independent agents are ready to help so that you feel secure in your choice and can rest easy. Ready to learn more? Talk to an agent today!