Florida leads the country in weather-related disasters, and the insurance you buy for your property and valuables is important. The State of Florida doesn’t require home owners or renter’s insurance unless you have a mortgage or live in certain areas. In those cases, you may be required to buy a minimum of liability coverage.
As you shop for home insurance, get familiar with coverage options so you can make the best choice for your home. You should also keep in mind you cannot buy a new policy in Florida when an active tropical storm or hurricane threatens the state.
Comparing Florida Home Insurance Rates
The cost of homeowners insurance in Florida can vary significantly. If you live near the water, your premium will likely be higher than if you live inland.
In addition to location, you should also consider these factors:
- Type of construction
- Dwelling value
- Mitigation features, such as protective devices
- Deductible amount
- The number of claims in the past 3 years.
A standard home or renter’s insurance does not cover flood damage. For best coverage, you should purchase a separate flood insurance policy if your home is in a flood zone. You can find out if your property is in a flood zone using FEMA's map service.
Insurance premiums in Florida include a separate hurricane deductible from your regular deductible.
The hurricane deductible is based on a percentage you choose. A lower percentage means you’ll pay less money if your property is damaged by a hurricane. Be sure to review your policy and the deductibles for both regular property coverage and hurricane coverage.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation can tell you the average for home insurance premiums throughout the state. You can use this information when you are shopping for or renewing your policy.
Preparing for Natural Disasters in Florida
There's no shortage of natural disasters in Florida. Hurricanes, tropical storms, tropical depressions, tornadoes, floods and fires can happen in different areas of the state. What’s important is to be prepared. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. Historically, August and September are the most active months of the storm season.
There are several things you can do to prepare for a hurricane:
- Make sure your property is clear of anything that could turn into a projectile. Secure items like patio furniture, pots, and children's toys.
- Don't wait until the last minute to install hurricane shutters or to board your windows.
- Keep a box of hurricane supplies during the season. Your supply kit should include enough bottled water, canned food, batteries, and other non-perishable items to last at least three days.
- Store all of your important paperwork, including your home insurance policy, in a waterproof bag. Keep it in a place where you can easily find it.
- Keep your vehicle's gas tank full in case you need to quickly evacuate the area.
You can get more hurricane safety tips at the National Hurricane Center.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Home Insurance
Here are some of the most common questions about Florida home insurance:
1. What is wind loss mitigation, and how can it help me save money on insurance?
Wind loss mitigation is an inspection to see how well your property holds up against hurricane-force winds. It’s performed by a licensed professional who files a report with your insurance company. Depending on the results, it may help lower the cost of your insurance.
2. What will happen if I don't renew my home insurance?
In Florida, as long as you are not required by law or by contract to have insurance on your property, there are no penalties for not renewing your insurance. Your property simply won't be covered. If a disaster strikes, you’ll be responsible for the cost of repairs. Those costs can be catastrophic after an event like a hurricane.
3. How much should my deductible be?
The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premiums will be. However, remember that you must pay the deductible out of your own pocket when you file a claim.
4. What kinds of discounts can I get for my home insurance policy?
There are many discounts for Florida home insurance policies. Work with your insurance company to find discounts you are eligible for.
How to Get Great Rates on Florida Home Insurance
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Florida Home Insurance Resources
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Laws and consumer information regarding Florida insurance