Hurricanes aren’t exclusive to Florida. The Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard states get their fair share. But, since we started keeping records in 1851, Florida has led the nation with 114 landfalls, or 40% of all 286 recorded U.S. hurricanes, including the majority of nasty Category 4 and 5 storms. So, Floridians also lay claim to the highest homeowner insurance rates in the nation. And they’re finding it increasingly difficult to get anybody to write a policy at any cost. Last January, over a million Florida homeowners learned that State Farm would be dropping their Florida homeowners insurance coverage altogether beginning this fall. It’s not all doom and gloom, however.
In the wake of a disastrous 2005 hurricane season and attendant dramatic increases in Florida homeowners insurance quotes, Florida’s legislature has enacted several laws to give consumers some relief. These include prohibiting insurance companies from denying renewal until 90 days after a policy-holder’s hurricane-damage home is fully repaired. Florida homeowners insurance providers now have to cover the costs of repairs up front, too. They also have to give you a detailed list of exactly what your Florida homeowners insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t.
The first thing you need to do is read your existing policy. Most Florida homeowner insurance policies have some kind of hurricane coverage included. Does yours cover wind and water damage? If not, you may want supplemental flood insurance, too.
Does your Florida homeowner insurance policy have extended replacement cost coverage to pay for increases in the cost of labor and materials? Hurricanes tend to wipe out many homes at a time, making materials scarce and raising the price of labor as the laws of supply and demand kick in. Extended replacement cost coverage will help cover these increases.
One of the ways you can keep your Florida homeowners insurance premium within reason is to opt for a higher deductible. Here again, Florida lawmakers have stepped in on behalf of consumers. Florida homeowner insurance policies must clearly define exactly how much a hurricane deductible could cost you in the event of a claim. They also have to inform you of all available discounts.
As a Florida homeowner, your insurance choices are a bit more limited but it’s never been easier than now to comparison shop for homeowners insurance quotes. Just be sure you’re comparing apples to apples and getting the coverage you need, not merely cheap Florida homeowners insurance. You get what you pay for, and if disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you got the most comprehensive coverage you could afford.