The sheer scale of hurricane damage is best illustrated with a raw figure on how much it costs to make repairs. Take 2022’s Hurricane Ian in Florida, for example. The estimated costs of damages? A staggering $47 billion.
But it’s not only hurricanes you need to consider when insuring your property in the Sunshine State. You must consider many other scenarios to ensure you, your property, and your finances are well protected.
It is vital to understand what Florida property insurance is available, what it covers, and how to get the right coverage for your needs. Here’s a guide to help you learn the facts.
What Is Property Insurance?
Property insurance goes by different names so you might see quotes for home insurance, property insurance, buildings insurance, or renters insurance.
It is the same as any other insurance that gives you financial protection. When discussing a property, that might include protection against theft, loss, or damage.
Florida property insurance is wide-ranging in that it includes protection against more than the building. It will also give you protection against your belongings in the home, and sometimes your vehicle too (and sometimes motorhomes and motorcycles).
The protection you get from property insurance will cover all sorts of scenarios.
For example, you may be able to claim financial losses due to property damage, including medical expenses and lost income. You may even have coverage for lawsuit costs too.
You must always budget for property insurance when moving home. Houses are costly and catastrophic damage or other issues like theft can be a big and expensive problem. So property insurance is a must-have.
Different Types of Property Insurance
We’ve already provided hints on the types of insurance you can get for a property in Florida. Here’s a list to explain this in more detail.
Homeowners insurance covers damage or loss to your home and its contents and any liability for someone injured on your property.
Depending on the type of policy you buy and the coverage, you may find it includes other things in this list, such as flood, fire, and earthquake.
If you rent your home rather than own it outright, you might prefer to opt for renters insurance. That covers the loss of personal items in your rental home and medical and legal expenses if someone gets injured on the property.
Landlord insurance is specific to landlords and owners of rental properties.
It protects landlords from risks associated with the property, including liability from damage claims, legal action, loss of income, theft, and tenant damage. It may also cover tenant-related lawsuits and contract disputes.
You may need additional flood insurance if you live in a flood zone. That protects you from damage to buildings, loss of personal belongings, and loss of your home after flooding.
If you live in an area at high risk of an earthquake, you may need specific earthquake insurance. It covers damage to a building and any damage or lost personal belongings from an earthquake.
Windstorm insurance protects against extreme weather events, including tornados and hurricanes. It covers damage to your property, home contents, and the loss of your home during an evacuation.
Most insurance covers fire damage, but if you live in a high-risk area (for example, a place prone to forest fires), you may need additional coverage. Fire insurance covers losses due to fire, smoke, and other perils.
Boat insurance is also worth mentioning if you live on a boat in Florida for some or all of the year. It covers losses due to theft, weather-related damage, and other marine-related events.
Condo insurance in the USA is a form of property insurance that covers the interior of a condominium unit and its contents.
It typically covers losses to the insured’s content and any structural improvements, as well as liability and legal defense costs arising from negligence claims.
Condominium owners must purchase condo insurance. You’ll find the same insurances offering home insurance also provide policies for condos.
Typical Property Insurance Coverage
It’s helpful to know what’s standard when buying Florida property insurance. Here are the things you’ll typically find in an insurance agreement, and covers four areas: dwelling, contents, loss of use, and liability.
The dwelling covers the physical environment, so your house, garage, and any outbuildings like sheds. It covers structural damage, which you’ll need cover for if you need to repair or rebuild your property.
Contents, also referred to in insurance documentation as personal property, cover what’s inside your home. That will include furniture, appliances, electrical gadgets, and valuables such as jewelry. It covers damage to the items or theft.
Loss of Use
Loss of use provides coverage for additional living expenses if a home is uninhabitable, such as the cost of a hotel room and any lost earnings.
Liability coverage financially protects you if someone gets injured on your property or you damage another person’s property. It provides support for legal and health expenses.
Why You Need Comprehensive Cover
When you begin shopping for insurance, you’ll notice that some things are standard.
However, you’ll also notice more comprehensive coverage in some insurance policies. Here’s what you need to know about comprehensive cover and its importance.
What Comprehensive Insurance Covers
The main difference between standard and comprehensive insurance is the extended and enhanced coverage in the latter. Comprehensive cover will allow you to insure expensive belongings, including vintage cars, rare art, or valuable jewelry.
For your building, comprehensive insurance will cover you for criminal damage and theft, for example, vandalism and malicious mischief.
Comprehensive cover will also include modern crimes like identity theft.
If you run a business from home, a comprehensive policy will cover you for any business interruption, such as having to move out of your home or repair major damage.
And if you are a landlord, comprehensive property insurance will provide additional financial coverage for rent loss due to tenant evictions.
The Benefit of Comprehensive Coverage
The main benefit of comprehensive coverage in Florida is the peace of mind it gives you when faced with a traumatic event like a weather disaster or theft.
It gives you the reassurance that everything you own is covered and the sense of security that you won’t face crippling financial bills such as hotel costs during an evacuation or lost wages.
Interpreting Your Property Insurance Policy
If you already have property insurance, you may wonder if you have the right level of coverage you and your family need. Here are some helpful tips for interpreting the small legal jargon you often find in an insurance policy.
Read Through the Policy
When you get your policy through the mail, you might feel tempted to file it away.
However, the best way to understand your insurance coverage is to read through all the paperwork. Highlight any areas not clearly defined and those you could misinterpret.
Understand Your Coverage
The policy should list what is covered. If something is missing from that list, it’s not covered as part of the policy. You’ll also find specific items that the policy excludes, so make a note of those.
The other information to check in your policy is any specified limit. For example, health costs may include a financial limit. Any amount over that figure you’ll be liable to pay.
You also must ensure you’ve declared all insurable buildings and contents in your policy. For example, if you have a shed and it’s not listed in the policy, you may not be fully covered for damage.
Check for excluded events, too, as a policy should list these in the documentation. Some policies won’t include major disasters such as floods and earthquakes, and you’ll need additional insurance if you live in a high-risk area.
If your coverage isn’t sufficient, talk to your policy provider. They may be able to provide a quote for additional coverage that you want on your policy.
Check for Deductibles
Deductibles are the funds you pay before your insurance covers the cost. Most policies have this, and you’ll typically be able to alter this amount when setting up your insurance.
Consider whether you can afford the costs in the case of a disaster or whether you should get a policy with lower deductibles.
Clarify Legal Language
Policies are legal documents, meaning they’re written in language that’s not always easy to understand. Always ask your insurance provider for clarity if you’re unsure about a phrase or paragraph.
What About Coverage for Florida Properties?
If you live in Florida, you’ll already know that you experience events that may not be typical in other parts of America. So there are a few specifics you must cover in Florida that you might not need elsewhere.
Knowing this is important if you intend to move to Florida from another part of the US and transfer your existing policy to your new home.
You want to look for comprehensive coverage in your policy for any water damage from your home. This is important if your building becomes damaged after flooding, storms, or sewer problems.
Florida isn’t unique in America for crimes. Nevertheless, you should check your coverage for criminal activity, including theft, vandalism, and malicious mischief.
You should also ensure you’re covered for identity theft. Florida is one of the most high-risk locations for this growing problem.
You should consider the risk of evacuating your home during a disaster and ensure you have the proper financial coverage for living expenses and any lost earnings.
That’s also essential if you opt for rental insurance, as you’ll want to ensure your rental costs are fully covered even when the property is uninhabitable due to major damage.
Like elsewhere in the USA, you must have robust coverage to protect yourself from personal liability. Legal expenses can be expensive and difficult for the average person to cover without the right insurance.
Replacement cost is the amount you’ll need to rebuild your home in the case of a disaster without factoring in depreciation.
Replacement for Damaged Trees
During a storm, your property surroundings are at high risk of damage. So in Florida, you must check your coverage to see if it will cover the costs of items, including large trees should they become uprooted, as well as fences and shrubs.
What About Windstorms and Hurricanes?
Windstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes are all natural disasters that hit Florida yearly. It’s paramount your insurance covers these disasters because the impact on your home and personal circumstances can be high.
A comprehensive property insurance policy will generally provide coverage for floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, but you should always check the small print.
Depending on the specific location, coverage may be included in a standard policy or require additional coverage. You must speak to an experienced insurance agent and ask about any other coverage you may need for your particular Florida location.
What Are the Typical Costs of Florida Property Insurance?
Most of us want to find cheap property insurance. However, the cost of a property insurance policy in Florida will vary depending on several factors, including the property size, the location of the property, and the type of coverage the policy provides.
The type of coverage you choose can affect the cost of your property insurance policy. A comprehensive policy that includes flood and hurricane coverage may cost more than a basic policy that only covers basic damages.
Your deductible amount and the limits of your policy may also affect the total cost of your property insurance policy. Additionally, the number of claims you’ve made in the past can also affect the cost of your policy.
It’s Time to Find the Right Insurance Coverage
All property owners in Florida need to be aware of the different Florida property insurance options available. With the proper coverage, Florida’s often harsh weather and disaster risks can be better managed.
Understanding what’s covered, the costs involved, and how to find the best coverage can help protect one of your most valuable investments.
Now that you know the basics of the best property insurance in Florida, contact our experienced insurance team to discuss what policies might be right for you.