When disaster strikes your home, it can take quite a toll on you. The real effect, however, is the one your wallet feels when your insurance doesn’t cover the disaster. Read on to learn everything you need to know about homeowners insurance in Florida.
What It Does & Doesn’t Cover
While home insurance is immensely helpful in some situations, there are some cases in which it’s no help at all. It’s important to be aware of what is and isn’t covered under typical home insurance policies. Of course, policies vary widely, so you should also contact your insurer directly with any specific questions about your policy.
Generally, insurance policies cover (1) the structure of your home, (2) your personal belongings, (3) you as a liability, and (4) additional living expenses should you be unable to live in your home temporarily. However, there are specific instances in which these coverages may or may not apply.
- Fire damage
- Theft and vandalism
What isn’t covered:
- Flood damage
- Wear and tear
Since most policies do not cover flood damage, you may want to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy separately. In some parts of the country, flooding is not nearly as common an issue as others, so the price you pay for flood insurance may not be worth the potential savings.
If you live in a high-risk area and currently have a mortgage out on your home, your lender has to require that you carry flood insurance. At their discretion, a lender can also decide they want to require flood insurance to all borrowers.
According to FloodSmart.gov, the average flood insurance policy costs around $700 annually, and a single flood costs an average of $10,760 in a 1,000 sq. ft. home.
Wind Mitigation Report
A wind mitigation report, typically conducted in coastal states where high-speed winds are an issue, is a way of determining how well equipped your home is (structurally) in the event of a windstorm. If the report shows your home has structural features that are known to fare well in windstorms, you’re able to submit those results in exchange for a discount on your insurance premium.
If your home doesn’t have proper wind mitigation features, they can be added on at a later point. Regardless of when you improve your home’s wind mitigation, you can request another inspection to save on your Florida homeowners insurance premium.
4-point inspections help insurance providers assess the risk of covering older homes. As homes age, they begin to form deeply rooted and expensive problems — a burden your insurance provider doesn’t want to shoulder. To determine the condition of your home and its components, four aspects of your home are inspected:
- HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
- Wiring and panels
- Plumbing and fixtures
Even if you had your home inspected before purchasing it, insurers may still want to conduct a 4-point inspection. That’s because the buyer’s inspection focuses on the entire house while 4-point inspections are designed to pinpoint problems in one of four main areas.
Important Home Ages when obtaining Homeowners Insurance in Florida
- 30 to 40 years – In most cases, a 4 point inspection will be required with any needed updates on Roof, A/C systems, Electrical, and Plumbing
- 25 years – Maximum age for metal roofs
- 20 years – Maximum age for Architectural Shingle Roof
- 15 years – Maximum age of Standard Shingle Roof
- 3 years – If there have been any claims in the last 3 years, insurance may become difficult to place, and may limit the number of companies willing to insure
Insurance when buying a foreclosed Home
When purchasing a foreclosed home, the insurer will need a 4-point inspection every time. In addition, all the household systems must be in place (A/C, water systems, etc). The property must have been maintained in good and livable condition prior to issuance of policy
Favorable conditions for Homeowners Insurance in Florida
- Gated or Single Entry community
- Hip Roof
- Hurricane Protection
- 2002 or newer construction
Learning about home insurance is an important part of being a responsible homeowner. Disaster can strike at any time, and you want to be prepared both physically and financially for anything it may throw at you.
You may also like: 6 Helpful Steps to Buying a home