Tips On Picking A Home Insurance Company
Florida is a great place to live and a great place to retire, which is why I have several investment properties and a winter house in the state. I love the warm weather and the beaches and my grandchildren love the theme parks.
However, Florida also has its own set of natural disasters that make it hard to choose the right homeowners insurance. Hurricanes, flood damage, and sinkholes are all common issues that you have to be aware of when buying a property there.
Unless you plan to throw away your investment, you need to think about buying the right type of homeowner’ insurance so you are protected. On average Floridians pay about $1,172 per year on homeowners’ insurance. That’s a good amount of money, so I want to make sure your homeowner insurance policy is giving you adequate coverage.
While I have only had to deal with minimal flooding, if the day comes that my home is damaged, I expect my insurance to cover all damages. You should too. Here are some tips to make picking the right insurance coverage a bit easier.
What Should Be Included In Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?
State law does not require homeowners to have an insurance plan, but if you have a mortgage on your home most likely your lender will. Common sense should tell you to buy insurance however because in Florida anything can happen. Our beautiful state is home to some pretty wicked weather, so I always make sure my home is protected. You would be smart to do the same.
There are a lot of insurance policies out there, and a lot of tiny print. Reading through all of them can get exhausting. In general, when looking at a policy you should make sure it offers:
- Replacement Cost Coverage– In the event that something happens to your home, attached structures (shed or garage), or belongings you want to make sure you are fully covered to replace them.
- Personal Liability Coverage- This covers you if another person is injured on your property, or if their property is damaged by your land. For example, if a tree falls from your property onto their home or if a person falls in your yard.
- Medical Payments Coverage- Pays for medical bills if someone is injured on your property.
- Loss of Use Coverage- Pays (or reimburses you) for living expenses incurred if you need to live in a hotel while repairs are made on your home.
Read Your Policies Rules About Flood Damage Twice
Take a minute and read that heading twice. If nothing else, when buying home insurance in Florida make sure that your policy includes flood damage. As a rule, a lot of homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. (Neither do renter’s insurance policies if you haven’t purchased your own home yet).
In Florida, a hurricane can hit any time, and even if you live inland you are going to get the gale strength winds. May 15th to October 15th is known as the rainy season in Florida. This is when the state receives almost 70% of its yearly rainfall which coincides with hurricane season. All of that rain has to go somewhere. Flood damage in Florida is a question or when not if. You need flood coverage.
Heavily Consider Hurricane Insurance
Flood damage is not the only threat to Florida homes, hurricanes are as well. Most basic homeowner insurance policies exclude natural disasters, which a hurricane falls under. 98% of Florida’s total population lives in coastal counties that are subject to possible hurricane damage.
You can protect yourself by adding on a hurricane insurance rider to your homeowner’s policy. A standard hurricane insurance plan will cover any wind damage caused by a hurricane outside of the hurricane deductible.
For example, I have insurance from Kin, a company that specializes in providing homeowner’s insurance to Floridians. Hurricane wind damage is covered under my plan with a hurricane deductible. Kin lets me choose between a 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10% deductible.
I live inland so I am not extremely worried about hurricanes, but as the weather patterns continue to change and get more intense, I would rather be safe than sorry. I decided to go with the default deductible of 2%. My house is worth $200,000, so if a hurricane were to destroy it I would owe a deductible of $4,000. While I hope this never happens, I can afford it if the unthinkable occurs.
Reduce The Costs Of Your Homeowner’s Insurance
If you are new to Florida, all of these coverage requirements might feel overwhelming. However, there are ways to help slim down your homeowner’s insurance premium. I started by looking at my deductible and my savings account. I was able to increase my deductible a bit and that helped reduce my monthly payments.
However, you never want to take a deductible that you cannot afford in the case of an emergency. Remember, if your home is the only asset you won’t have any if it’s destroyed. Here are a few more ways to help slash the costs a bit:
- Improve Your Credit- Your credit actually plays a large role in the type of home insurance rates you receive. If you lower your credit card balance and pay your bills on time you can boost your score and get a lower quote when it is time to renew.
- Make Your Home Hurricane Resistant- Florida law requires insurance companies to discount their policies to homeowners that make their homes hurricane resistant. Installing impact-resistant windows or reinforcing your roof are just two ways you can help make your home stronger. Not only will you reduce your insurance premiums, but you will be safer inside of your home. You also may want to think about reinforcing your garage door and keeping your gutters clear.