Insurance Tips for Florida Homeowners

Florida homeowners and people owning vacation homes in the Sunshine State may have questions about the types of homeowners insurance available. Since Florida is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, the types of insurance and what is covered under the policies, is different from the rest of the country.

Expect to Pay More

Since houses in Florida are routinely subject to adverse weather conditions that can cause heavy damage, Florida homeowners insurance policies are more expensive than the rest of the country.

The Policies Can be Confusing

In general, all homeowners insurance policies in Florida have to cover wind damage from a named hurricane. However, if the home is in certain areas along the coast in designated “whirlpool” areas, the home may be excluded from wind damage by most private policies.

Homeowners in these areas can get a policy protecting against wind and hurricane damage from Citizens Property Insurance, the state’s nonprofit insurer that offers policies for homeowners who cannot obtain coverage under a private policy.

Get Flood Insurance

Even though flood insurance costs extra, it is worth looking into. Flood insurance protects your home against damage caused by seeping water, rising bodies of water and any type of rising ground water.

Even if your home is not in a flood zone, it can be worth it. Your homeowners policy will likely cover water damage caused by rain. However, coverage for damage to your home caused by the water after it has hit the ground is likely to be excluded under most homeowners policies.

Get a Sufficient Policy Amount

Make sure that the policy amount is high enough to pay for the replacement value, not the cash value, of your home and all your possessions. Also, consider a policy that will pay for your living expenses while your home is being rebuilt.

Check for Mold or Fungi Coverage

With Florida’s wet climate, mold damage can be devastating. Consider purchasing coverage for mold damage caused by water seeping in from a storm.

The vast array of insurance policies and what they cover can be intimidating. Those having questions about what kind of policies are needed would be well advised to consult with a Florida insurance attorney.

Source: “What Sort of Insurance Do I Need?” Wall Street Journal, 7/22/11